US Women’s Open sidelight: ‘The boss is out’ – likely
Dante Navarro (Philstar.com) – December 11, 2020 – 2:30pm
MANILA, Philippines – So where’s the boss?
Gazing at the leaderboard of the US Women’s Open, one wonders where Maria Fassi stood after 18 holes of the world’s premier golf championship.
A further scroll, however, would show the Mexican is tied for second-to-last of the stellar 156-player field with an atrocious 12-over 83 –– and virtually out of the weekend play of the $5.5 million event.
True to her brag on the eve of the tournament that she would show who’s got the length among the LPGA Tour’s top three driving leaders, Fassi outhit Bianca Pagdanganan (265 yards) and Dutch Anne Van Dam (269 yards) with her 287-yard norm.
“I’m just gonna have to hit a good one on the first three holes to just let them know who the boss is,” Fassi told Goflweek Wednesday.
But in golf, as in other sports, it’s not about how you start but how you finish.
So after a grueling round at the 6533-yard Jackrabbit course of the Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas Thursday, Fassi collected three birdies but limped with three bogeys, three doubles and a couple of triple bogeys.
While she drove past her revered rivals by 15-17 yards, Fassi also paid dearly for her wild shots as she missed seven fairways. Worse, she grappled with her irons, reaching regulation just nine times. She also finished with 32 putts.
Van Dam went birdie-less in sunny condition but finished at joint 55th despite two bogeys in a 73 card.
Pagdanganan actually opted to trade length for accuracy and made quite an impressive start of back-to-back birdies from No. 10 to earn a spot among the Top 6 in the early going. But she fumbled with a bogey on No. 14 and though she regained the stroke on the par-4 No. 1, the ICTSI-backed ace dropped two strokes on the tough par-4 No. 5 and yielded another shot on the next.
She wound up with a 38-34 for joint 37th, five strokes off leader Amy Olson but just within reach of another weekend stint for her nine straight LPGA tournament.
The 2019 SEA Games double gold medalist, who tied for ninth in her first LPGA Major, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship that netted her a spot in this blue-ribbon, season-ending event in pandemic-hit season, missed five fairways and failed to reach regulation six times. But she made up for her struggle by making 29 putts and finishing with a par rescued from the bunker.
Fassi, meanwhile, will still have one round to atone for her disastrous start and perhaps maintain her driving edge over her fellow ball-bashers but Pagdanganan and Van Dam probably won’t care enough and just let her do her thing off the mound as they try to focus on their respective bids to make the money race in the weekend.