Of Surreal Winds, Cristie Kerr Eagles & Suspended Play

A devilish desert wind became a big part of the story yesterday, during the first round of the J Golf Phoenix LPGA International Presented by Mirassou Winery.

It started out strong... then only got stronger as the day progressed. It buffeted the players as they set up their shots and occasionally stung the eyes of the audience, with biting desert sand. It even got to where the scoreboards had to be put down, having become a hazard in their own right.

The tournament is taking place at Papago the historic, City of Phoenix course, that's just been totally restored.

When I was in Phoenix, just a couple weeks ago, there wasn't even a discernible breeze. Just a hot sun, cool dry air and a cobalt blue sky. Area resident Cristie Kerr, and a several other LPGA players, played a practice round in Scottsdale in those calm conditions before their trip to Mexico. Obviously they're needing to call upon a rather different skill set this week.

Cristie herself summoned those skills yesterday in a gritty up-and-down round that included eagles on both of the back nine par 5s, finishing with a 4-iron shot that landed 5 feet from the 18th hole. An eagle putt then moved her to within one shot of the lead with a 3-under 69. Inbee Park and Jiyai Shin share second with Cristie as does Suzann Petterson, who described the windy conditions as "surreal". In-Kyung Kim finished the turbulent day in the lead with a 3-under 69.

Ultimately, first-round play was suspended when darkness fell on the desert, with several players still on the course. It resumed this morning on a far calmer course.
The forecast is calling for winds to remain at 10-15 mph today which will certainly be a welcome relief to the ladies battling on the newly refurbished fairways of Papago.


  1. Playing golf is gusty wind is a nightmare. Club selection must have been a real puzzle yesterday.

  2. It looks like Suzanne Petterson is off to a good start today. I'd like to see her win this and maybe set the stage for a Kraft Nabisco redemption.

  3. I watched a bit of this after a nine-hole trek in the rain yesterday evening, and it looked like it was absolutely brutal out there. The wind was making many of the ladies look like 16-handicappers, which of course we know is not the least bit true.

    I was surprised to see Lorena Ochoa struggling with her swing and showing a bit of temper (directed at herself) as a result.

    It was also intriguing to me to watch Michelle Wie melt down, as I figured that she would be able to handle wind well - she grew up in Hawai'i and wind there is a part of daily life.

    This looks to be a challenging golf course and I would expect one of the top-ranked golfers to lift the trophy on Sunday.

  4. Cristie worked hard today and held on...But Angela Stanford. It looks like she's not going to give up easily :)

  5. What! You were in Phoenix and did not come to visit the Eye On Golf offices? Bummer! Perhaps next time.

    P.S. As a lure the offices are located near several golf courses.


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