Pure Silk Goes to Korda – On to Australia
Last week, everything was perfect, and that isnâ€™t speaking just for the LPGA golfers who played on Paradise Island on the shores of Nassau – itâ€™s speaking for me.
One week ago, I was sitting on a beach looking at the course for the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic, in 70 degree weather. I was warm for the first time in months. I was sitting under palm trees for the first time in years, and the sun was more than an occasional Oregon UFO report.
This week, Iâ€™m in the great American Northeast. Itâ€™s 3 degrees outside, and snowing. Clearly, I didnâ€™t plan this the right way – but the LPGA did. By the 13th of February, these same sun-drenched players from paradise are flying to Australia for more of the same at the ISPS Handa Womenâ€™s Australian Open, that is if the heat wave that almost did in the tennis starts doesnâ€™t return.
A lot of good players who have labored in the mid-regions of the leader board took their opportunity at the Pure Silk to remind us of their abilities. Michelle Wie and Morgan Pressler, among several others, played very well. Paula Creamer and Lizette Salas contended, and kept up the pressure until the final day. Salas continues to suggest that something big is coming in her favor. Lydia Ko made an excellent start to her professional career, scoring-wise and financial-wise – well enough that she should be feared from here on out.
The star of the week, however, was Jessica Korda, who took over mid-way and never let anyone catch her, except for the tough Stacy Lewis. A birdie on the 18th avoided a playoff with Lewis, and Korda registered her second victory on the tour.
The good news for Jessica Korda is abundant. First, she won another tour event – second, she won $195,000, which doesnâ€™t make anyone feel bad, no matter how much they already have. Third, and important for the immediate future, the tour goes on to the Womenâ€™s Australian, and wonder of wonders, sheâ€™s won this event before, two years ago with a final score of minus 3, the projected temperature for my location tomorrow morning. Fourth – she probably isnâ€™t hurting for confidence, either, and thereâ€™s no reason why she should be.
No one on the LPGA tour would trade winning for anything else, but the â€œdisappointmentâ€ award should probably go to Stacy Lewis. Iâ€™m repeating myself by saying it, but itâ€™s so true – Stacy Lewis is not a second place kind of person, and sheâ€™s been doing a lot more of it lately than sheâ€™d like. Beside the bad news of finishing second, sheâ€™s going to Australia knowing that she finished second, despite playing brilliantly at times, and took home a reduced check that one more dropped putt would have avoided. Added to the burden is that the highly ranked Suzanne Pettersen is probably coming back, and the two are gradually forming a great, natural rivalry.
One more fly in the ointment for everyone heading into the coming weeks. Australiaâ€™s got some native daughters to make life tough on the southern continent, and Thailandâ€™s Pornanong Phatlum is not a novice at this anymore. When the tour stops in Thailand, Pornanong and one or two other native heavy hitters will be there to greet the field.
For me, Iâ€™m just impressed to see the tour staying warm before heading north. Iâ€™ve learned my lesson, and the next time I visit the Bahamas, Iâ€™m going to take a cue from the Whan playbook. Unfortunately, while theyâ€™re all down under, Iâ€™ll be shivering in the snow, here in the up over.