A months ago when Sandra Gal had a final round pairing with former world #1 Jiyai Shin at the Kia Classic, I did acknowledge that anything can happen in sports, in golf in specifically. But despite that, I really did not think that Sandra would stare down Shin and go on to win. I thought Sandra would have a nice round, finish second and then slip back to the pack. Not so fast there, BKB! Not only did Gal outduel Shin, she followed up with a great tournament at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Now after two rounds at the 2011 Avnet LPGA Classic, she finds herself in the lead at 7-under, a shot ahead of Amy Yang.
Sandra’s 8 birdie, 3 bogey 5-under round was highlighted by birdies on all three par 5s. She keeps giving herself chances to score, hitting 28 of 36 greens in regulation through 2 rounds. But despite her great success, she is hardly a lock to waltz to victory midway through, as KNC winner Stacy Lewis is only 2 shots back. Defending champion Se Ri Pak is also still lurking at 3 shots back. Speaking of both Sandra and Stacy, the Avnet organizers couldn’t help but get into the Royal Wedding fever spreading these days.
First round co-leader Grace Park slipped back with a 3-over round. Although this dropped her out of the top 10, if you told me before the tournament that after 2 rounds, Grace would be in the top 20 with a round in the 60s, I would take it. That is based on how she has struggled with injuries and rust the last two or three years. She’s safely in the cut, with a chance to still win or go top 5 or 10. That is a success for Grace in my book this week.
NA YEON CHOI
HEE YOUNG PARK