Sunday, May 18, 2008

Ochoa Again! - Imada Nabs 1st P.G.A. Win in AT&T Playoff

Lorena Ochoa didn't let a balky putter prevent her from capturing her 6th L.P.G.A. win in 2008. Her final round 71 netted a one stroke victory over five players and gave her three straight Sybase Classic victories. She wins them in routs. She wins them in playoffs. She wins them like she did today, grinding to the finish. She just wins them. The $300,000 she collected today launched her over the $12,000,000 mark for her career. Gee, wish my Spanish was better. The tie for second was made up of Sophie Gustafson, whose 12 ft. birdie would have forced a playoff, Morgan Pressel, who rocketed up the board with a 66, Catriona Matthew, Brittany Lang, and this year's leading rookie, Na Yeon Choi. Annika began the day five back and a 71 today didn't exactly enhance her position.

Ochoa's showing no signs of being catchable on this tour. Sure, she won't win them all, but she may win half or more, Annika notwithstanding. That kind of domination in a large field event like golf is like a major league baseball player hitting .750. The conundrum is there doesn't seem to be any young players with the ability to challenge her. Perhaps Creamer or Pettersen, but after that any reasonable contender isn't on the tour yet. So, enjoy the history in the making. One woman record smasher is retiring and another is just reaching her stride.

Imada Wins AT&T in Bizarre Playoff.

The stage was set. Ryuji Imada and Kenny Perry stepped up to the 18th tee at TPC Sugarloaf. To say Imada had been there before would be the mother of all understatements. Last year he'd lost in a playoff with Zach Johnson on the very same hole, knocking his 2nd shot into the drink. It's was Kenny Perry's 2nd shot that swam this time though. His 5 wood from 230 yds. was pushed right, but not terribly so. Not terribly so until it nuked a green side pine tree, barreled straight across the green at about 80 mph, blew past the flag stick within 8 feet and deposited itself in the pond. After a drop Perry needed a 12 footer for par to put some pressure back on Imada. Not to be and Imada calmly two putted for his 1st P.G.A. Tour win. On the strength of the win and earlier high finishes Imada now stands 3rd in Fedex Cup point standings. Good for him! He seems like a decent guy.

3rd round leader Charles Howell III spit the bit with a final round 74. Up and comer Parker McLachlin got a taste of P.G.A. Tour pressure. His eagle on 13 gave him a three stroke lead. He then bogeyed three of his last five. Still, good effort, nice pay day, and valuable experience. For a "B" tournament this one had some sizzle at the end and watching was worth the electricity.

*Average Golfer Question ..... Who was the other announcer with Ian Baker Finch for the AT&T? The reason I ask is because I caught another inane "golf-type commentator" quote. While observing Imada line up the winning 4 foot putt he commented he'd noticed how steady Imada is with flat stick. He mentioned that a flat left wrist and "maintaining steady grip pressure" were the keys. Perhaps correct, but how did he measure his grip pressure from the booth?

Til' next,

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