My 2 1/2 hour Friday drive into Rancho Mirage from the KFWB studio had me thinking that there was little chance at an opportunity to interview any players on the Kraft Nabisco Championship leaderboard. And on a whim, I walked into the media tent just in time to see the two 2nd round leaders finishing up their newsconferences. So of course I quickly got out my trusty recorder and went to work for our radio listeners and my blog supporters.
Four-time LPGA Tour winner Inbee Park under some tricky windy conditions shot a 5 under 67 today (her best KNC round in the 7th year of playing this event) and she holds a one shot midway lead over native southern Californian Lizette Salas who shot a 68 in her 2nd year playing the Kraft.
Park who’s a native of South Korea currently lives in nearby Murrieta after growing up in Las Vegas where she also attended UNLV. She has one win this year and her first tour win was a major in the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open where she was the youngest at 19 to ever win that event. And Inbee went on to tell me she how she feels being in this position:
Salas (from Azusa) is the daughter of Mexican immigrants who’s father works as a mechanic at Azusa Greens Golf Club and she learned to play golf there and worked her way onto the U.S.C. team and is a proud first in her family to earn a degree and graduate from college. Lizette is in her 2nd year on tour looking for her first win…and how sweet would it be if she did it in her own backyard and in THE major with the most tradition…
The unfortunate part of the day was seeing my friend and former Pro-am partner Louise Friberg’s 2nd round score of 80 causing her to miss the cut after she was a guest on Golf Channel yesterday when she posted a 1 under 71. Louise has been retired from the tour for about 2 years but came back thanks to her caddy’s wishes to take advantage of her 5th and final exemption year to play the Kraft (her tour win was back in 2008). Now Louise can go back to being a proud mother to her puppy along with her full-time golf instructor gig in Arizona and her native Sweden.
Tomorrow starts my 5th year as the 18th green announcer at this tournament and it always makes it more special to introduce some of our locals. Hope to see you near the Dinah Shore statue next to the bridge overlooking Poppy’s Pond this weekend!