COPYCAT SCORING AT THE HSBC
There were any number of copycat scores on the second day of the HSBC Women’s World Championship at Sentosa. Jin Young Ko, the World No 1, and Amy Yang each followed an opening 69 with a 67 to share the top spot on the leaderboard. And in second place, each of Brooke Henderson, Atthaya Thitikul and Meghan Kang mirrored each other’s scores of 69 and 68.
Jin Young Ko (Photo credit: Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)
How Patty Tavatanakit, the first-round leader, would have loved to been able to do the same. Instead, the “inner peace” which had been with her all the way on Thursday went a-missing as she tumbled to a share of 21st place with a 74 in which, to name just one of the mishaps, she was in the water at the 16th on her way to what was the fourth of her five bogeys.
Jin Young Ko continued with her record-in-the-making as her 67 added up to her 13th successive round in the 60s. Today, when Kate Burton from among the commentary team, mentioned how the star had been practising less before her rounds, the player explained that it was all about the wrist injury she had last year. In other words, the traditionally hard-working Koreans are not suddenly taking it easy..
The 32-year-old Amy Yang, Jin Young Ko’s co leader, has never stopped moving from one place to another. As a ten-year-old, she started playing golf in her native Korea. At 15, the family moved to Queensland and, more recently, they have all been living in Orlando. She won on the LET tour before capturing four titles on the LPGA, while probably her greatest feat is to have notched as many as 19 top ten finishes in majors, two of them last year.
Amy Yang (Photo credit: Getty Image)
Yang may be injury free but her head, of late, has been crammed full of unnecessary thoughts. “It’s not easy, but I’m now concentrating on each shot at a time and nothing beyond it. Presumably, though, she would be going to bed thinking of her seven birdies.
Meanwhile, In Gee Chun, who is menacingly-placed two shots off the pace, has a problem with her neck. Today’s top golfers don’t just have to worry about their on-course posture. They must also consider how they lie in bed and Chun could only think that the way she slept on Wednesday night had prompted the injury.
It had made itself felt during the first round and, by today, she had a few spasms so bad that she had to call for a physiotherapist out on the course. It goes without saying that she was hardly about to complain about her bad luck on a day when she had four birdies going out and six in all, but she explained that the pain had been quite dire at times. “It was worse when I checked the distance and then looked up at the hole…. I couldn’t use a full backswing.”
Brooke Henderson is another with a bit of a problem on her hands. On March 21st, she must part company with an old friend, the 48-inch driver — it is four inches longer than standard — which has been banned under the Model Local Rule as from that date. (Seven other LPGA players will be similarly divested of their present drivers.) “I’ve been trying out the 46 inch driver [46 inches is OK] but the ’48 inch one is still my favourite,” says Henderson.
TV shows plenty of shots of the Canadian whipping through the ball on the tee, with the other thing to catch everyone’s attention the way she holds that super-long club down the shaft.
It is something she had done since she first started to play and has stuck with it ever since.
Dame Laura Davies is another who has almost always played with her hands well down the shaft, with Phil Tresidder once saying of it in Golf Digest, “Laura’s grip is startling to the connoisseur, with some six inches or more at the top of the stick clearly visible.
Davies started it in her second year as a professional when she was looking for more control with her irons, and it soon crept into all her other clubs. What is more, the greater the pressure, the further she goes down the shaft.
Presumably, there’s never going to be the equivalent of a Model rule to stop a practice which works as well for Henderson as it always has for Davies.