Se Ri Pak leads after 36 holes at the Wegmans LPGA championship at the Locust Hill Country Club. (Kevin Hoffman-US PRESSWIRE)

Wegmans LPGA Champ Shaping Up to be One to Remember

Two rounds are in the books. If the scoring stays as evenly as it has, it will be a case of who posts that low round and who posts that large number. In the case of the low round, you could have your winner. The big number will certainly take her out of contention.

But low rounds haven’t been the norm as they have been over the past couple of years at Locust Hills. When Cristie Kerr won two years ago and Yani Tseng last year, they both posted 19-under-par. I don’t think that record is in any peril here. In fact, it could be the first to hit 10-under, if that low.

After day two, Se Ri Pak is your leader after posting rounds of 70-71. She sits at 3-under-par. That’s a surprise to many considering Pak is coming off injury and the prevailing thought was Pak would not even be healed in time to be at this week tournament.

A quartet of challengers lie one shot back: Paula Creamer, Inbee Park, Sandra Gal and Mika Miyazato.

After the first round, there were only three players that shot under 70: Ryann O’Toole, Giulia Serges and Beatriz Recari all shot 3-undr 69’s. The second day there were, again, only three rounds that were under 70: Eun-Hee Ji had a 68 while Karin Sjodin and M.J. Hur posted 69’s.

Back to the first round trio of O’Toole, Serges and Recari that shared the lead. Day two was not so nice. O’Toole and Serges both posted second rounds of 4-over 76’s. Recari added two shots to that with a 78.

There are 18 players at par or better and 30 players within five shots of Pak.

Perhaps the second biggest news of the day would be Yani Tseng. After an opening round of 76 (you read that right), the Rolex #1 could only muster a 75 today. She barely made the cut at +7, right on the number. But the biggest news of the day…

Park retires

Today was a bit of a bummer.

Grace Park, winner of six LPGA events including the 2004 Kraft Nabisco, will be retiring after this weekend. I say weekend as Park made the cut after posting back-to-back 75’s for a 6-over-par, she made the cut.

“It was hard, very hard. But I made it. I’m proud in that sense, that I’ve recovered from my injuries and was able to get back out here healthy. I thought I was ready to play.”

— Grace Park

Park was twice named Rolex Junior Player of the Year (’94, ’96). She turned pro in 1999 and immediately became a star on the Futures Tour (now known as the Symetra Tour) by winning five of ten tournaments. She was named the tour’s Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year.

From 2000 to 2004, Park was at least one tournament per year. In a battle with back, neck and hip injuries, Park has not returned to that level of play. As she said after finishing her round today, she is “ready for a new phase in my life”.

I always feel down when a player leaves the sport they love due to injuries. You’re always are left with that question on “What if”.

Another MC for Wie

Make that five missed cuts for Michelle Wie this season. Rounds of 74-82=156, +12 will not get you into the field this week, or maybe any other week. Her struggles in 2012 continue and you might be left wondering if we’ve already witnessed the best golf Wie has to offer. I don’t think so, but I’m starting to gravitate to what Annika said about Wie and pursuing a college education and trying to play on the tour at the same time. Sorenstam stated she didn’t think it’s possible.

“I think really her focus, in my opinion, should be more on the golf,” Sorenstam told reporters Wednesday on the eve of the U.S. Women’s Open at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs. “She’s very distracted with school, doesn’t really play as much full time as I thought she would. I think she needs to come out here and compete more regularly.”

— Annika Sorenstam on Michelle Wie and attending Stanford (via Waggle Room).

And add that Annika feels that Lexi Thompson shows more promise that Wie.

“She’s an upcoming star. She’s so young. She’s just starting her career. You look at Michelle Wie, and she’s still very young, but in our eyes, she’s been on tour for a while. She’s been playing as an amateur since the age of 12. She set the bar high so early and, after that, she hasn’t been able to deliver, so I would certainly put Lexi Thompson first.”

— Annika on her choice of Lexi or Wie (via GolfChannel.com)

Kind of hard to argue with Annika, something I did on this subject in the past…and it appears that I’m losing that argument. As long as it’s Annika I’m losing to, I don’t mind one bit.

And what about Tiger’s niece? You know, Cheyenne?

Sad to say, but I don’t think Cheyenne Woods will make the cut either. Rounds of 75-79 will prevent her from playing in the final two rounds. Hey, this is her first tournament! I think she’ll take the overall experience from this week and apply it judiciously. After all, her famous uncle can do it so what can’t she?

Tags: Annika Sorenstam Cheyenne Woods Golf Grace Park LPGA Michelle Wie Se Ri Pak Wegmans LPGA Championship Yani Tseng

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