Yani Tseng takes a two-stroke lead into the final round at the Nabisco Championship, the first major championship on any tour in 2011. In crazy pyramid style, Stacy Lewis is 2 back, Morgan Pressel, 4 and Michelle Wie, 6 behind. Angela Stanford is the only other athlete within 7 strokes of the dominating force from Taiwan.
The problem for the ladies in pursuit is, Tseng has closed the deal before. She did it in 2010 on the same course, in the same tournament. She has done it three times in 2011. In other words, smart money is on her.
I have not had the luxury of following her in a tournament, but I expect that she is a master of denying access to distractions and of playing her game. In true champion fashion, she may or may not have a final-round number (say, 65) that she knows will win the day.
Of the four riders in pursuit, the one with the most grit and determination might be Stanford, with Lewis a close second. Pressel has the major championship on her resume, on this very course in 2007. Wie, as has been know for years, needs to harness the talent potential forecast nearly a decade ago.
The woman who dethrones an on-game Tseng today will have to open 4-under par over the first five holes. She will then have to ride the wave and ultimately get to 64 or better. We’ve seen many a 3 on the short and dramatic 18th, so a strong finish of birdie-eagle is quite manageable. At 6700 yards, the Dinah Shore course at Mission Hills is one of the longer found on tour, so smash and bash (one of Tseng’s specialties) could dominate the airwaves and fairways today.
For an inside look at the event, click here for the tournament program.
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