Monday, June 11, 2007

Pettersen wins McDonald's LPGA

After coming heartbreakingly close to winning her first major at the Kraft Nabisco Championship just ten weeks ago, it was natural to expect that the nerves might get the best of Suzann Pettersen (above left) when presented with the lead down the stretch of the McDonald's LPGA Championship yesterday. History would not repeat itself, however. For those that don't remember, Pettersen all but had the previous major won as she stood on the 15th tee, but she managed to lose four strokes to par the next three holes and also the three stroke she had maintained, finishing one stroke behind winner Morgan Pressel.

Yesterday, the Norweigian thrived under the pressure of the final round, carding six birdies and only one bogey in a closing round 67 for a one stroke victory over Karrie Webb (above right) and her first major. For Pettersen, it was her second win of the year and 4th top-2 finish. Third round leader Na Oh Min struggled early, but came back strong to card a two under par 70 to take home third.

The story of the day though was Pettersen, who just two years ago had a slipped disk and a ruptured disk in her back. Doctor's said at the time that there was a good chance that she may never play again. If any of you have ever seen her play though, you know that Suzann Pettersen is definitely a fighter and not one to ever give up on herself. Yesterday was definitely a triumph of mind over matter and with her recent run of success, there's little doubt that Suzann Pettersen is going to be a name you'll be hearing right alongside the names of Webb, Ochoa and Soranstam for a long time to come. Congratulations to Suzann on her latest victory!


In NASCAR, it appears that this just must be Jeff Gordon's year... the four time series champion just seems to keep finding ways to win. Yesterday's Pocono 500 ended 94 laps early as rain wreaked havoc on the course all day and evening. Gordon's crew chief, Steve Letarte took a look at the weather radar and decided to take a calculated gamble - he pulled Gordon and teammate Casey Mears into the pits at lap 81. Letarte figured that the rain would arrive soon after lap 100 (when the 200 lap race would be considered "official") and that the other teams would probably have to stop around lap 95 or so. Consequently, Gordon and Mears were out of sequence with the rest of the field... however, if the rain came in the window of laps 100 through about 112, Letarte would end up looking like a genius. If not, the decision would have been second-guessed for weeks to come. As it turned out, the gamble paid off... Gordon assumed the lead on lap 99, just as rain began to fall... the rain intensified on lap 104, and the race was red flagged two laps later with Gordon in front and a fast charging Ryan Newman second. Martin Truex Jr. finished third while Mears was 4th. For Gordon, it was his fourth win of the season as he increased his point lead to 242 over Matt Kenseth.


In other sports, it was a tough day for the locals as the Dodgers got pounded by the Toronto Blue Jays 11-5. The bigger concern for the Dodgers though has to be the health of Jason Schmidt. Clearly, Schmidt wasn't himself from the beginning as he could not get his fastball out of the upper 80's... for a guy who normally throws his fastball around 93-95 MPH, this is a pretty serious problem. Don't be surprised if he winds back up on the disabled list.

Albert Pujols hit two home runs and drove in five to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a 9-6 win over the Angels... Pujols has six homers in his past seven games. Alex Rodriguez finished off his hot week, hitting his 23rd and 24th homers of the season as the Yankees routed the Pittsburgh Pirates by a 13-6 score. Finally, in the "superstation series," the Atlanta Braves came back to score three runs in the bottom of the 8th inning off of Cubs closer Ryan Dempster for a 5-4 victory. Jarrod Saltalamacchia led the Braves attack with three hits.


In this year's NBA Championship, the San Antonio Spurs are just making a mockery of things... Game one was a rout, and yesterday's game two was an even bigger embarassment for the Cleveland Cavaliers as they trailed at one point in the second half by 29 points!!! The Cavs rallied in the fourth quarter, but it was far too little to late as they lost to the Spurs by a 103-92 tally. Tony Parker scored 30 points, Manu Ginobili had 25 and Tim Duncan added 23 for the Spurs, who take a 2-0 series lead into Cleveland on Tuesday night.

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