A good case can be made for any one of the four players at the top of Saturday’s leaderboard to win the Kraft Nabisco Championship on Sunday. We have Michelle Wie (68) and Lexi Thompson (67) tied for the lead at 11-under and Se Ri Pak (71) and England’s, 18-year-old, Charley Hull (66) just three strokes back.
They all had good steady days, even if Se Ri gave back three shots on the back nine. But with her evolved way of thinking that she spoke about in yesterday’s post, you’re going to have good rounds and bad rounds and you have to move on from them either way. Yesterday is not today and today is the only day you can do anything about it. You have to take the good with the bad, the bad with the good and move on to the next shot with confidence and optimism.
They all actually adhere to some form of that philosophical approach in their own ways. Michelle, oddly enough, expects to be nervous and not to be able to sleep very well:
Oh, yeah, I’m nervous. I probably won’t sleep that well tonight. It’s just the chance. You want something so badly. I dreamed about this all my life, so I’m just trying to not think about it so much. I’m just trying to think it’s a normal Sunday. You’re a couple shots behind and just kind of play it that way. Definitely nervous, but I think that’s a good thing. It’s a sign that I’m really excited and I really want this. I think it’s good. Nerves are definitely good.
That being said, she has specific plans to get the job done on Sunday:
I’m just going to — if it was Match Play it would be a completely different story. But I’m just going to go out there and play the same game plan I’ve played the last three days. I’m not going to go out there and do anything stupid and change anything.
If I go out and shoot a good score, that’s all I can do. I can’t control what anyone else does. I’m just going to go out there and keep playing the same game that I’m playing. Make some birdies, make some pars and see where it leads me.
Lexi had a taste of the lead a couple of times on Sunday, but she wasn’t paying too much attention to that:
I actually didn’t really pay attention to it. Every time I passed the leaderboard I looked the other way. I want to go out there and play my own game and not worry about others.
Obviously, tomorrow I have to look a little bit at it because it’s the final round. But just go out there and play my own game, not worry about others. I know I’m playing pretty well, but just go into it with a confident attitude.
LPGA fans are all abuzz about this final pairing on Sunday. Two of the most prominent, long-hitting, young guns on Tour with both of them playing great and very hungry for this major victory:
I know people will be really excited about tomorrow’s pairing, but I’m not really going to worry about it. I’m just going to go out and have fun tomorrow. It’s the final day of a major, and I’m tied for the lead, so I’m very excited that I’ve put myself in this position. I’m just going to go out and have fun and play in front of those fans.
Se Ri, of course, comes in with the wisdom of her five major championships. There are a lot of intangibles and indescribables in that wisdom; it just comes down to how it made you think about yourself:
It should give me a lot of confidence, no doubt, because you’re there before, which is that just helps you with great experience and playing heading into Sunday. If you’re 2‑back or you’re leading, just it’s probably as much as I could handle the pressures and just focus as much as I could. Yeah, that makes it helpful heading into Sunday, no doubt.
And finally we have Miss Hull. The women’s game seems to be blessed with phenomenal, young talent, the latest being Charley Hull. On March 16th, just four days before her 18th birthday, she won the Ladies European Tour’s Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco. Which turned out to be a good thing because after her grand debut in the Solheim Cup, she decided to defer an attempt at the LPGA Q-School:
Yeah, I didn’t want to go to Q‑school last year, because first of all I missed some events on the LET. And second of all, I was really enjoying my friends and stuff at home, just being a kid, going out and going to parties and stuff. I don’t want to miss that living over here full‑time at the moment, because I was still 17. I still wanted my childhood in a way.
I’ve got another 20 or hopefully 30 years of playing golf. So you look at Laura Davies, and she’s had a great career, so there was no rush for me to get over here. That’s it, really.
And winning the Kraft Nabisco would be a major event in her life too. And it would come at a good time:
Yeah, definitely, it would be the best feeling ever. It would be the best moment of my life because I’m going to The Masters next week, and I’m really looking forward to that. You know, it would just make The Masters even better.
So there we have it. So often we sit around talking about dream matchups and now we have one served up on a silver platter. Four very fine players right at the top of their games and we get ringside seats on Sunday to see how it’ll all work out.