I got to the tee early, watched Cristie Kerr and Laura Davies tee off, and there were some "civilians" waiting by the tee, and I asked the woman if she would be walking with that group, and she said no, she and her husband were there with their son Mike. "He's the commissioner" she confided to me. So I shook hands with Michael Whan, LPGA Commissioner.
My pairing today was defending champion Stacey Lewis and none other than Morgan Pressel. As she walked up to introduce herself I said "We have to keep meeting like this" and she said "This is four times, right?"
Michael overheard, and after she walked away he said "5 times is considered stalking".
He was kidding.
Both were 12 under par, with the lead held by Lydia Ko at 16 under. It started auspiciously for Morgan, as she birdied the first hole while Stacey made bogey. Stacey came back with a birdie at 2, and the next excitement was at the 4th hole, a par 3.
At each green, near the exit, there are a couple of chairs positioned for the walking scorer and standard-bearer to sit in while their group putts. It's restful, of course, but it also gets us down and out of the line of sight of the patrons trying to watch. When we arrived at the 4th green, Laura Davies and her caddy were sitting in our chairs!
She explained that there were already two groups waiting on the tee at the fifth hole, a reachable par 5 with a propensity for generating rulings, and both those characteristics result in delays. When Morgan and Stacey finished putting and walked toward the exit, they saw Laura and stopped dead in astonishment. I said "We recruited her to be a volunteer."
So everyone had a nice chat while the next group, which included PaulaCreamer, played the hole. And she also reacted with surprise at the sight of her fellow-competitors as spectators.
On 5, Stacey hooked her drive into the desert, all the way to the bottom of the wash which was used as a service road, 20 yards left of the ropes, where she had a decent lie and plenty of room to swing, and was able to play straight toward the green into the fairway and make a 2-putt par. Stacey made birdie on 7, and both players were 13 under.
The 8th was Morgan's downfall. She was suffering from her allergies more than usual today, after showing virtually no symptoms on Wednesday. Phoenix is the only tour stop where she has any problem at all. Her drive went into the hazard on the right, in a bush, and after some consideration she played it, moving it only a few feet, out of the hazard but still in the wash. Better than a drop, but from there she couldn't quite reach the green, and made double bogey. She also bogeyed 12, and birdies on 13 and 15 got her back to -12, T22.
Meanwhile, Stacey went on a tear on the back 9, making birdies on 10, 14, 15, 17 and 18 to get to -18. It was one short, though, as 2012 Champion Karrie Webb had tied the course record (63) and nobody in the following 10 groups could match her. Hee-Won Han also shot 63 on Sunday, finishing at -14, T15.