As expected, I kept score for Kelly Tan, Kathleen Ekey, and Xiyu Lin. Kelly is from Malaysia, Xiyu from China, and both are LPGA rookies. Kathleen is in her 3rd year on tour.
The group carded three birdies on the first 9, all by Kathleen, after making bogey at the first hole. She made two more birdies on the back, but also two bogeys, before coming to the last hole. It was a sad saga. She pull-hooked her drive into the hazard, a dry wash filled with a mixture of coarse sand and small pebbles. The ball was in a hole, but on the upslope where she could get a club behind it, and far enough away from the tree to make about a half swing. She played an explosion shot back into the fairway, a nice recovery. A spectator told her "That's why you're a pro, you can get out of spots like that". (And I told my standard-bearer "yeah, that and 5 birdies".)
Her approach was 2 yards long and 2 yards left, coming to rest in the back fringe, but on the upper tier of the green, with the pin on the lower tier. She played a delicate chip shot which took a 90-degree right turn and just before taking the 90-degree left turn toward the pin, stopped at the edge of the precipice. She barely touched the ball to get it going down the hill, and it rolled 6 feet past the cup. After that, it was the old story: "How did you make a 7 on that hole!!??" "I missed a 6-footer for my 6."
So, with 5 birdies, Kathleen shot 73, one over par. Kelly had 75 with one birdie, and Xiyu 76 with two birdies. All of Kathleen's over-par holes started with a drive that missed the fairway (or on one par 3, missed the green), and ended with a chip and two (or three, at the last) putts. She had 31 putts, only 1-for-5 scrambling. Like they say, the game is as much about how bad are your bad holes as it is about how good are your good ones.
Mirim Lee, another rookie, led the way with 8-under 64, but the big story was Morgan Pressel shooting 29 on the back nine (her first 9 holes) and making birdies on 1 and 2 to go 9 under par for 11 holes (the same score as her team in the scramble on Wednesday, 29 on the back 9 and birdies on 1 and 2), setting up a "59-watch". She couldn't keep it going, though, and made two bogies to shoot 65.