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2019 ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open


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#1 Raving Shanker

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 02:56 AM



  • Feb 14 - 17
Grange, South Australia

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In 2018, Sunday at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, Jin Young Ko became just the second person to ever win on the LPGA Tour in her debut as a member, and the first since 1951.

So here we go, into the slightly more prestigious and lucrative half of the Australian swing. Some points of note:

- The Grange Course is a composite of the Grange Golf Club East and West Courses. It's probably the course I know least about, of the the three Adelaide courses in the Australian Open rotation. I've only played it once myself, and that was a 100 years ago. It is notable for its bunkers, the wind (like all of Adelaide's sand-belt courses), and hidden tree root runners that can break your hands.
- Jin Young Ko returns as the reigning champion, although Haru Nomura, who is also in the field, won last time this course was played (2016).
- The weather will range from mild (26C, 79F) on Thursday steadily up to hot (35C, 95F) on Sunday. It should start out breezy but the wind is predicted to progressively abate over the four days. Sounds balmy!

I look at the field, and I am genuinely excited by the talent that is turning up. But then I look at who is missing, and I get a bit of a reality check. While a hotter field than the Vic Open, it's still shy of a top-flight LPGA event. The top three Koreans, and top four Americans will all be absent. And so the season will continue to sputter through its early stages!

On a personal note:
I am disappointed there is no Hye Jin Choi and no In Gee Chun, who I have still never seen in the flesh (so to speak). Also, no Danielle Kang, who has added a bit of spice in the past! I'm going all four days if my tendinopathic left ankle holds up. I will post pics and any worthwhile observations. I promised pics last year and then didn't post any, because i was frankly quite embarrassed by my poor photography. But I have decided to post this year regardless, as I am sure someone will find them interesting. Just don't complain about the quality!


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#2 Argonne69

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 10:34 AM

Photos taken with a smartphone are generally poor, primarily because of the wide field lens. I've been disappointed in my pics as well. Maybe when I retire I'll try to get a media pass, and bring a proper camera.

I'm very surprised Hye Jin is not in the field. She finished 2nd last year. 'Same with So Yeon, who finished 7T. Brooke is also slipping this one, even though she played last year.

We get decent coverage this week with 5 hours on Wed/Thurs and Sat/Sun, and four hours on Thurs/Fri and Fri/Sat.

Edited by Argonne69, 11 February 2019 - 10:43 AM.


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#3 ChronicSlicer

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 07:55 PM

Tough choice of possibles considering the course change from the two previous years. I`m gonna roll with Su Oh or Marina Alex. Katherine Kirk and Carlota as my darkhorse picks. It would be nice to see Jin Young continue her high level of play this year and not fall prey to the "sophmore slump".

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#4 Raving Shanker

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 02:48 AM

View PostArgonne69, on 11 February 2019 - 10:34 AM, said:

Photos taken with a smartphone are generally poor, primarily because of the wide field lens. I've been disappointed in my pics as well. Maybe when I retire I'll try to get a media pass, and bring a proper camera.

I'm very surprised Hye Jin is not in the field. She finished 2nd last year. 'Same with So Yeon, who finished 7T. Brooke is also slipping this one, even though she played last year.

We get decent coverage this week with 5 hours on Wed/Thurs and Sat/Sun, and four hours on Thurs/Fri and Fri/Sat.
I don't take them with a smartphone. I've got a handycam that does stills and video, but it's about 8 years old now - so even though expensive in a its day, probably no better than a new phone.

It is disappointing about Brooke. She has figured heavily in the advertising for the tournament here!

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#5 agolf1

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 06:14 AM

View PostRaving Shanker, on 12 February 2019 - 02:48 AM, said:

View PostArgonne69, on 11 February 2019 - 10:34 AM, said:

Photos taken with a smartphone are generally poor, primarily because of the wide field lens. I've been disappointed in my pics as well. Maybe when I retire I'll try to get a media pass, and bring a proper camera.

I'm very surprised Hye Jin is not in the field. She finished 2nd last year. 'Same with So Yeon, who finished 7T. Brooke is also slipping this one, even though she played last year.

We get decent coverage this week with 5 hours on Wed/Thurs and Sat/Sun, and four hours on Thurs/Fri and Fri/Sat.
I don't take them with a smartphone. I've got a handycam that does stills and video, but it's about 8 years old now - so even though expensive in a its day, probably no better than a new phone.

It is disappointing about Brooke. She has figured heavily in the advertising for the tournament here!
Yeah, unfortunately the field isn't great this week either.  Its kind of surprising given the long break between Singapore and Phoenix.

I get not wanting to play 4 in a row, and maybe the journey to Australia / playing a different type of course for 1 week just didn't appeal to many.

Hopefully they can make the schedule more appealing for the players.  Its kind of a bummer to have two tournaments in Australia and no one really shows up.  Maybe losing the NZ tournament had something to do with this.  Almost would have been better to have three playable weeks in AUD/NZD and then a break to Singapore/Thailand or back to the USA.

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#6 Argonne69

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 07:49 AM

I have a feeling the tour is becoming a victim of ts own success. With more non-major tournaments to chose from, players can be selective about the ones they play given that they'll generally play ~25 events a year. Factoring in the travel and purse sizes, I'm not shocked that the top players are skipping the events down under. The tour may have to consider implementing rules that require a player to play in a number of new events every few seasons, similar to the PGA.

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#7 Stooch

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 11:01 AM

View PostArgonne69, on 12 February 2019 - 07:49 AM, said:

I have a feeling the tour is becoming a victim of ts own success. With more non-major tournaments to chose from, players can be selective about the ones they play given that they'll generally play ~25 events a year. Factoring in the travel and purse sizes, I'm not shocked that the top players are skipping the events down under. The tour may have to consider implementing rules that require a player to play in a number of new events every few seasons, similar to the PGA.
I would be in favor of a rule that says a player must play in each event on tour at least once every three or four years.  That way way all tour pro's play all tour events every 4 years or so and that way they don't have to add extra events each year, rather only deal with the schedule and when they play them

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#8 Stooch

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 11:22 AM

View PostArgonne69, on 11 February 2019 - 10:34 AM, said:

Photos taken with a smartphone are generally poor, primarily because of the wide field lens. I've been disappointed in my pics as well. Maybe when I retire I'll try to get a media pass, and bring a proper camera.

I'm very surprised Hye Jin is not in the field. She finished 2nd last year. 'Same with So Yeon, who finished 7T. Brooke is also slipping this one, even though she played last year.

We get decent coverage this week with 5 hours on Wed/Thurs and Sat/Sun, and four hours on Thurs/Fri and Fri/Sat.

It's still a 9 hour flight to Thailand after Australia (well non-stop) or longer if you have lay-overs, that probably has much to do with it.  Players would just rather probably head straight to Thailand if they weren't playing both Aussie events.  Brooke was in the field for both events but she was sick and pulled out of both.  Could be Brooke wanted to make sure that her illness cleared up and pulled out of the Aussie Open out of caution.  Could be she doesn't like the course as she missed the cut last year and didn't wanna fly over 20 hours for one event.  If you weren't spending 2 weeks in Australia but you have status to play in Thailand, in the course of 8 days you're probably gonna be on a plane for 40 hours to play both events.  Not sure that's on my top 10 things to do either lol.  With all that said not a good look with many top players skipping it (or Both)

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#9 Seamus McDuff

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 11:56 AM

This entry list gives a better breakdown than the LPGA site.

https://cms.ga.mpowe...4423-source.pdf

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#10 Argonne69

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 12:06 PM

My picks so far this season have been pretty dismal, so let's see if I can do a little better this week. I'm going to go with Haru. She was a winner of this tournament in 2016, and seems to have found her form with a 5T finish last week. Minjee should bounce back after last week's MC.

I'm very interested to see how Lucky 6 fairs in her first tournament as a member. Jin Young won it last year as a new member, so....


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#11 18majors

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 12:09 PM

View PostArgonne69, on 12 February 2019 - 07:49 AM, said:

I have a feeling the tour is becoming a victim of ts own success. With more non-major tournaments to chose from, players can be selective about the ones they play given that they'll generally play ~25 events a year. Factoring in the travel and purse sizes, I'm not shocked that the top players are skipping the events down under. The tour may have to consider implementing rules that require a player to play in a number of new events every few seasons, similar to the PGA.

There're nine of the top 20 players in the field; the field strength is better than many LPGA tournaments in the States.
The schedule right before Thailand and Singapore is an asset; it draws in many top players.

Edited by 18majors, 12 February 2019 - 12:23 PM.


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#12 Argonne69

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 12:18 PM

View Post18majors, on 12 February 2019 - 12:09 PM, said:

View PostArgonne69, on 12 February 2019 - 07:49 AM, said:

I have a feeling the tour is becoming a victim of ts own success. With more non-major tournaments to chose from, players can be selective about the ones they play given that they'll generally play ~25 events a year. Factoring in the travel and purse sizes, I'm not shocked that the top players are skipping the events down under. The tour may have to consider implementing rules that require a player to play in a number of new events every few seasons, similar to the PGA.

There're nine of the top 20 players in the field; the field strength is better than many LPGA tournaments in the States.
The schedule right before Thailand and Singapore is an advantage; it draws in many top players.

Technically true, but there are only four of the Top 10 playing.

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#13 Mellow

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 10:42 PM

Those are interesting ideas to get the players to the different tournaments.  Especially to help the new tournaments get off the ground, I think that's a great idea.  Last season we had several new ones and some of them could have used that help.

Sometimes I like the ones with the lower field strength though.  There's always some players that I'm excited or hopeful to see, or at least curious.  There's players I really like all along the priority list, low and high.

Anyway, Jin Young won this by such a good margin last year, it feels like the elusive defense might be more possible than usual.  Only a couple players were even in sight of her.  It's a rare thing, but I'm picking Jin Young for the two-time win!

Still thinking about last week too ... cheering for Su to have another great outing.

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#14 ppl4golf

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Posted 12 February 2019 - 11:41 PM

View PostSeamus McDuff, on 12 February 2019 - 11:56 AM, said:

This entry list gives a better breakdown than the LPGA site.

https://cms.ga.mpowe...4423-source.pdf

That's a pretty great sized field and lots of interesting names that I don't mind seeing on TV....

Hope the Aussie coverage is nothing like the last week, especially during the first 2 rounds :)
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#15 Raving Shanker

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 06:03 AM

The Golf Australia website (that the LPGA site links to) still has a course map from last year (different course - Kooyonga!). Someone might actually want to know where the car parks are, or how to get to the 10th tee.

That's amateur hour.


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#16 postfold

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 05:29 PM

Looking forward to some TV time this weekend, I had a hard time getting into the coverage last week and ended up not watching much at all.

What I really need is to look into booking a trip to Australia next year to get away from this polar vortex business.

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#17 Hawkeye77

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 09:14 PM

DP4 should be excited, just turned it on and you know who currently in the lead.

Edited by Hawkeye77, 13 February 2019 - 09:14 PM.


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#18 Hawkeye77

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 09:46 PM

And this course looks great! Enjoying the layout as presented so far.

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#19 Shilgy

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 10:31 PM

View PostHawkeye77, on 13 February 2019 - 09:14 PM, said:

DP4 should be excited, just turned it on and you know who currently in the lead.
Ms Hyphen in the lead? He must be extolling the virtues of Costco wine on another thread. :)
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#20 amdepp

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 10:31 PM

Is Ariya using local caddie?


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#21 Jagpilotohio

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 11:04 PM

I know it’s been said before, but how does the women’s tour do it?  There are like 100 spectators at This thing.  

Some Holes have literally no one around them. I guess it’s just the sponsors and the TV money. Wow.
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#22 Malvern

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 11:31 PM

View PostJagpilotohio, on 13 February 2019 - 11:04 PM, said:

I know it’s been said before, but how does the women’s tour do it?  There are like 100 spectators at This thing.  

Some Holes have literally no one around them. I guess it’s just the sponsors and the TV money. Wow.

Will be some if not a lot of government money.

The various state governments out here compete with one another to bring sports/events/conferences to their particular patch and then proclaim loudly how much money the event brought in.

Its absolute bollocks but none of them want to blink first.

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#23 Raving Shanker

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 05:16 AM

View PostJagpilotohio, on 13 February 2019 - 11:04 PM, said:

I know it’s been said before, but how does the women’s tour do it?  There are like 100 spectators at This thing.  

Some Holes have literally no one around them. I guess it’s just the sponsors and the TV money. Wow.

I don't think your post is based on any actual data. There were a LOT of spectators. Watching the Hall/Ko(JY)/Webb group it was so crowded I was missing shots, so switched to Yang/Lee(M)/Boutier. In the afternoon there were hundreds following Ko(L)/Jutanugarn(A)/Korda. There were thousands on the course.

I think the reason it looks empty (and this happened in the 2017 Aus Open too) is that they are a little over officious in roping the course off. This gives wide areas that are unoccupied, and actually blocked from the public. It is often difficult to even get to the empty spots behind a green to watch putting. Half the gallery is still 100 m back stuck at a crossover that they refuse to open as the putting is happening. Grange managed galleries very well in 2016, but this year they came over all "Royal Adelaide" on us.

The only point I will agree with you on is that some groups had no spectators at all. With non-Australian, or unknowns, I can understand that - but the group of Hull/Oh/Law had virtually no one. Strange.

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#24 Raving Shanker

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 05:52 AM

Day 1 - great day at the golf!

The morning was cool and dead calm (great scoring conditions), but the wind started coming in around 10 am. Not a gale, but fresh, and making the golf a whole lot more challenging. The wind was fluky too, causing a lot of second guesses on iron shots.

I watched Nomura/Creamer/Smith to begin with. There was some good golf. I got my first good look at Creamer. I can see that she has got talent, but she is looser and little less focused than the currently successful players. And that's golf i think. Haru looked very steady. I think she had some late round trouble that I didn't see, but is pretty well placed. She is now my pick for the tournament. Smith looked really good until hitting 25 m left on a par 3!! It nearly hit me. I ended up being a temporary marshal, as no one seemed to realise just how far from the target she was for some time. Double bogey ensued.

Yang/Lee/Boutier was interesting. I was explaining to a friend I was with, who had only slight knowledge of the women's game, what the games of each of these women was. They then absolutely followed type! In fact that about described the whole day. Yang swings beautiful but comes up out of putts, making far less than her fair share. Minjee was getting the club back barely beyond vertical, but ripping it with a powerful hip rotation. Boutier could barely hit a green, but scrambled really well. Her chip and run game is absolutely ON at the moment. JY Ko hit the ball with imperious beauty. Hull smashed the sh*t out of it. L. Ko struggled with consistency and length off the tee, but holed out of a bunker! Webb was slooooow. They were all playing the roles of  themselves perfectly!

Except Ariya. Ariya had a really bad day I think, and I hope it is just early season rust. She seems way too defensive off the tee, and perhaps in all aspects of her game. i think she hit a 4-iron on two par-4's, giving up about 60 m to Ko and Korda. But get this, she missed the fairway both times, and put one into a fairway bunker! Her iron ball striking into greens was curious. It really looked tentative. It seemed she had really poor distance control, and was drawing the ball way too far. Also, sometimes it would go, other times not. A really difficult day for her!

I think Lydia Ko's game is far from perfect, but she seems to have her mojo back. I really feel she will continue to improve. She always seems one short iron or wedge away from hitting it stiff, and her bunker play was supreme. One holed, and 2 others (I think) hit stiff. So, overall not consistent, but has birdies in her.

At one point I was craning my neck around someone at the water and fruit stand, trying to watch someone tee off. I suddenly noticed the person in my way was Nelly Korda. Up close, man she is just beautiful!

Anyway, it's hotting up now, actually and metaphorically. I can't wait for tomorrow. I'll be there tomorrow morning but have this ugly situation in the afternoon called "work".

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#25 Argonne69

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 09:20 AM

Nice report. Keep them coming.

Yeah, Minjee can really clear her hips. She has an odd "flat foot" iron shot that gets the job done.

Ariya has always struggled with the lefts. 'Probably the biggest reason she doesn't hit driver off the tee. I agree that missing a fairway with less than driver negates much of the strategy. However, she's strong enough to hit greens coming out of the rough.


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#26 Argonne69

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 09:31 AM

What happened to Su? She looked excellent last week, but she's going to struggle just to make the cut here. The afternoon scores looked much higher, no surprise.


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#27 PepsiDuck

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 10:49 AM

View PostArgonne69, on 14 February 2019 - 09:20 AM, said:

Ariya has always struggled with the lefts. 'Probably the biggest reason she doesn't hit driver off the tee. I agree that missing a fairway with less than driver negates much of the strategy. However, she's strong enough to hit greens coming out of the rough.

I noticed this as well...and it's the same struggle I have with my own game.  Just from looking at her right shoulder through impact, I can tell that the ball can go no where other than left.  I don't remember it being so far forward last year...

...but I merely speculate...
TaylorMade M2 (2017) 10.5* - Aldila Synergy Black 70TX
TaylorMade M2 (2017) Tour 15*  - Fujikura Motore Speeder 757 X
Callaway 815 Alpha Hybrid 21* - Mitsubishi Tensei Pro White 90TX
Miura CB57 4-P - KBS C-Taper Lite X
Miura Series 1957 Wedges - 51* (Y), 56* (K) - KBS C-Taper Lite X
Cleveland RTX 3.0 60*
TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

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#28 18majors

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 11:49 AM

View PostArgonne69, on 14 February 2019 - 09:31 AM, said:

What happened to Su? She looked excellent last week, but she's going to struggle just to make the cut here. The afternoon scores looked much higher, no surprise.

Isn't this the life of a tour player; winning title one week and missing the cut the next?
That's why Tiger Woods who made 142 consecutive cuts is so unique.

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#29 DavePelz4

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 01:14 PM

View PostShilgy, on 13 February 2019 - 10:31 PM, said:

View PostHawkeye77, on 13 February 2019 - 09:14 PM, said:

DP4 should be excited, just turned it on and you know who currently in the lead.
Ms Hyphen in the lead? He must be extolling the virtues of Costco wine on another thread. :)

Gentlemen...while accepting the years of restraining orders, a clearly one sided relationship, etc. there was no tolerance for when she was less than nice to a young fan.  It led to becoming de-hyphenated.  It's been very empowering and allowed me to spend more time at Costco while being an observer of the Kuch Lynch Mob.

Historically, Mrs. Ewart-Shadoff has been one of the better ball strikers on tour and if I was still stalking her a fan, I'd know her 2018 stats.  But I'm not and I don't.  Without cheating, I'll guess she didn't miss more than 3 greens in her round and had less than 25 putts.  No doubt she will drop 32 putts in one of the next two rounds to enter the middling of the pack.  As Mrs. Pelz said recently, why can't you keep it up more consistently...obviously a putting reference to Mrs. Ewart-Shadoff.

And if you haven't tried the Kirkland SIgnature Pinot Noir, it was a very pleasant surprise.

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#30 tbowles411

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    So this just happened! We can barely believe it!

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Posted 14 February 2019 - 01:17 PM

I too know of restraining orders...  ;)

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