by Jeff Skinner
The LPGA got want it wanted to start the day. It had many marquee players in the last groupings all poised to take a shot at winning The Sybase Classic. Michelle Wie, Paula Creamer, Suzann Pettersen and Brittany Lincicome were all with in range of the lead, but none of them could make enough birdies to get close to Ji Young Oh. The young South Korean played a strategic game that kept her in the fairway and always within two putt range.
Suzann Pettersen had plenty of spots on the back nine to pull even with the leader, but the she couldn’t seem to sink any of the makeable birdie putts and left frustrated and disappointed. She said she had “makeable birdie putts on 13, 14, 15”…..and “pulled a two and a half footer on 17.” As for feeling good about second place, she wasn’t buying it. “I’m very disappointed. I gave away another win”.
Ji Young Oh played excellent golf. She shot 66, 69, 69 and a 70 on a day with tough conditions. The wind was blowing fairly well throughout the day and most players had difficulty getting around the course. It didn’t bother her. Oh’s tee to green game was great as she was down the middle all day long. She was out driven by Pettersen and Lincicome all day but was not fazed. “They are long drivers, 300 yards…my drive is 240, 250. But it doesn’t matter. That is my style…I have good irons…I stay focused.” She said she was a little nervous to start the round. “It was not easy… Brittany and Suzann are good players.” Two key holes were nine and twelve. Oh thought the pivotal hole was number nine. She made a great par save with a putt from off the green, made par, and saved a stroke. On twelve she hit a 195 yard seven wood to the green and parred while Pettersen landed in the rough and could only salvage bogey.
Oh is one of many South Koreans on the LPGA Tour but she is too humble to say she is the best. This is her second win after winning the State Farm Classic last year. “We have many good players… we have been in competition mode growing up.” She actually says that she is more comfortable living in the U.S.” Living here, I’m more comfortable. Because the game of golf that I lone so much, I can play freely here anytime and anywhere I get a chance.” Young is working very hard on her English and did her best to answer all the questions she could without an interpreter. There were many Korean fans cheering her on and afterward she signed every last autograph and posed for pictures with many fans. It was an exciting match play like atmosphere right up to seventeen when Pettersen lost her chance with a bogey. Oh finished in style with a third shot on eighteen to three feet and sank the birdie. It was a fitting end to a day of precision shot making by the young South Korean.