Jamie Farr Toledo Classic: Breaking free
By Vince Robitaille
GolfWRX Staff Writer
When four players find themselves tied at the ankles – going Dalton on us we could say – heading into Sunday’s action, chances are that, at least, a pair of them will provide some last-second fireworks. Let’s clear things up from the get-go, however: it wasn’t the case this weekend in Toledo; So Yeon Ryu catching her pre-round co-leaders napping and pulling off their planned hit on her own.
After two days of back and forth action that saw the off-her-best-LET-result Swede, Pernilla Lindberg, take the initial lead with an opening 65, and Chella Choi picking up the slack after her Scandinavian foe failed to lace together two-straight rounds in the red figures, the South Korean contingent that perpetually lurks around the top of the leaderboard – minus defending champion Na Yeon Choi – broke free from the mob. In fact, I.K. Kim, Jiyai Shin, Hee Kyung Seo and our eventual 2012 Jamie Farr Toledo Classic medalist all found themselves sitting on 11-under with Chella Choi and Inbee Park a single stroke behind.
The bulk of the excitement, if we refer to the tournament’s outcome, was over by the turn; the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open champion having already secured a two-shot lead on her closest pursuer, Kraft Nabisco-heartbroken I.K. Kim, at that point. Then, the onslaught began. After birdieing the ninth hole, Hee Kyung Seo proceeded to repeat the feat on the upcoming five holes, effectively leaving the whole field in the dust. If this seemingly never-ending string of boats, I mean birds – sorry Worm – wasn’t enough to astonish the lucky few that got to watch Seo’s brilliant performance – the event, sadly, wasn’t televised to the great discontent of those unable to make it to the Highland Meadows Golf Club, especially as we take into account the layoff period following the Evian Masters – the fact that none of them required more than a 6-footer might have taken care of it. Nothing quite like recording the lowest round of your career to secure your first LPGA victory as an official tour member.
Quite surprisingly, the runner-up spot wasn’t grasped by any of the six South Koreans that made up the top seven – nor by the group’s other member, namely Ai Miyazato – but by Forth Worth’s own Angela Stanford who shaved off five strokes on Sunday; enough to pull the rug from under I.K. Kim’s feet. Speaking of Forth Worth, it should be noted that the late Ben Hogan would have celebrated his 100th birthday on the day following the conclusion of the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic.
Next week, the LPGA Tour heads out West to Portland, Ore., for the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola where Suzann Pettersen completed one of the most improbable comebacks in LPGA history last year; the Norwegian taking down the honors despite Na Yeon Choi’s nine-shot lead after moving day. With a field as deep as that of the 40-year-old event, however, the odds are well stacked against the former Rolex World No.2 in regards to an encore.