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Jun 05

Grey Silo Manulife Financial LPGA Classic

And They’re Off! Day 1 at Grey Silo

The first round of any golf tournament has a specific kind of pleasure that is quite different from the other three rounds. Everyone starts with a clean slate, everything is fresh and new. Nobody has quadruple bogeyed anything yet. The course and the regional venue is usually new to the fan, and no matter how smart and analytical you think you are, you don’t know anything about what’s going to happen – nada, which is part of the beauty of competitive golf.

hee 2 Even though the first round doesn’t speak directly to the fourth, there are interesting observations to make, surprises to mark, and non-surprises for us to say “Uh-huh, I thought so.”
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Grey Silo? Yum, but not much of a surprise. A few amateurs on the chat rooms said that the course wasn’t all that difficult, but so far, it’s treating people the way it should. A small group is under par and playing well, and a much larger one is not.

Michelle Wie? She might have been mildly surprising a year or two ago, but to see her shoot in the mid-60s is now in the “uh-huh, I thought so” category. It’s getting hard to even find a photograph of her that makes it look as though she’s working hard. She’s gotten so zen that she’s flowing her rounds with a lyricism you wouldn’t expect from such a big hitter.

hee 1 Shanshan Feng? No surprise. If you have to scroll very far down to find her, there’s your surprise. Hee Young Park? No way. She’s the defending champion, and I would be amazed to see her anywhere other than where she is, tied for the lead.

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Gerina Piller, yes. I’m surprised, but she’s been playing good golf nearly all the time this year, and is always somewhere around that golden group. I guess she can take a week off at +2 if she wants. And, who knows, she might be tired of over-par golf by tomorrow morning and do something incredible. That’s also the beauty of competitive golf.

kim 1 Christina Kim, big surprise. The way she’s been playing, I figured she’d stay on the roll and make a big challenge for one of these, and it still might happen. It just didn’t today, and she’s eight strokes back. It’s not like the game of golf is capricious from one week to the next, you know.

Jennifer Johnson, Megan McCrystal and all the others from the next generation – not really a surprise, although Jennifer has been very impressive. Megan and a few others are getting their feel for the tour, and I expect to see a lot more of them on Sunday than before. This week? Who knows?

Catriona Matthews was a bit of a surprise after pushing Stacy and the others so hard in the last two weeks. Thought she’d be somewhere up there.

And, what about you, Moira Dunn? I see you sneaking up the leaderboard a little farther each week. I see you putting together consecutive good rounds, and I suspect that pretty soon, groups of three or four will be more the norm. You can’t play that well and hide out in the field. Ai Miyazato? I’m always surprised when she isn’t in contention.

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Stacy Lewis is at minus 2, but I think she can be given a pass this week – she won last week. I realize that Stacy doesn’t think that way, but I comment at a distance, and can get away with it.

There’s a lot of magic in the upper three of Wie, Feng and Park. If they keep going the way they have, our winner might already be in plain sight. Hey, where’s Lydia?

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About the author

G.F. Skipworth

has spent every available moment playing golf or studying the greats since the 60s, in between world tours as a classical musician, Harvard studies in Government or as the author of a dozen novels. Nicklaus and Snead may be the statistical greats, but Skipworth is a life-long devotee of Gary Player, and considers meeting the South African at the Jeld-Wen to be an unforgettable milestone. His driving passion in golf these days is to raise viewer interest in the LPGA.