Saturday, July 7, 2012

U.S. Women's Open Wrap-Up: Day 3

I did not see any of the golf today. Smart Mom decided that it was time for the Go Heaths to visit Appomattox -- a place we had never seen, despite living in Northern Virginia for decades. So we spent one of the hottest days of the year working our way down through the middle of Virginia to the place where Robert E. Lee finally surrendered.

Virginia is extravagantly proud of its history -- in the course of our trip today we spent time on the "Lee Highway," the "Seminole Trail," the "Zachary Taylor Highway," and the "James Madison Highway" -- but Appomattox was, in many ways, Virginia's low point. It proved, once and for all, that Virginians literally could not defend their own homes against the North. It broke Virginia's long and proud history of national political leadership, and condemned white Virginians to a century of hard-scrabble poverty. (We are spending the night in nearby Lynchburg, where the downtown is filled with the old factories where Virginians were happy to get jobs back in the early part of the 20th Century.) And, most painful of all, Virginia's mighty efforts in the Civil War were designed to preserve a slave system that can only be described as evil.

So how do you process that history? And what are today's Virginians -- especially those from prosperous and post-modern Northern Virginia -- supposed to make of it? The folks at Appomattox have taken what strikes me as a very appropriate tone. Their displays focus on the details of what happened when Lee surrendered, without much effort to judge. Looking over the shredded flags, the broken swords, and the tattered Bibles left behind by soldiers at Appomattox, one's mind focuses on the exhausting years of campaigning that led to the surrender -- as well as the hundreds of thousands of men in blue and gray who didn't live to see it. By simply concentrating on the unadorned facts, the curators have given everyone room to process the events of Lee's surrender as they choose.

For myself, I contrasted the 99-degree heat we experienced today with the much milder weather the armies would have seen back in April 1865. Virginia, like Kentucky, is cursed with grey, dreary winters and oven-like summers. But in between, April and May offer a carnival of colors and pleasant days that almost make the rest of the year worth it. And so I thought of those men who had been fortunate enough to survive a long winter -- or even a series of long years that had killed so many of their contemporaries -- and who had wondered whether this would be the last spring they would ever see. And I could imagine how relieved they must have been when they realized that it was finally over, and that they would live after all.

You will notice that I have little to say about the golf -- not only because I didn't see it, but because the tournament is basically over. On a windy day that destroyed most players -- as Eric has noted, Miss Emma Talley shot an 81 that left her in a tie for 56th place -- Na Yeon Choi ensured that yet another golfer from South Korea will capture the National Open. Choi blew away the field with a 7-under par 65 on a day when only four other women could break par, and no one else shot better than a 69. Given the circumstances, I can't think of any more dominant performance in a USGA event since Tiger Woods won the 2000 U.S. Open by 15 shots. This will be Choi's sixth LPGA win and first major title -- if she keeps playing like this, she will win many more.

Leaderboard after the third round:

1. N.Y. Choi (KOR): -8 (71+72+65=208)

2. A. Yang (KOR): -2 (73+72+69=214)

T3. L. Thompson: -1 (70+73+72=215)
T3. M. Miyazato (JPN): -1 (71+71+73=215)
T3. S. Gal (GER): -1 (71+70+74=215)

6. V. Hurst: Even (71+70+75=216)

T7. P. Creamer: +1 (73+73+71=217)
T7. N. Castrale: +1 (73+70+74=217)
T7. L. Salas: +1 (69+73+75=217)
T7. I. Park (KOR): +1 (71+70+76=217)
T7. C. Kerr: +1 (69+71+77=217)
T7. S. Pettersen (NOR): +1 (71+68+78=217)


  1. Good for Smart Mom! And I'm glad to hear that you're spending the night in Lynchburg. Have fun, and enjoy tomorrow's breakfast buffet!

  2. Emma Talley's final-round start: par, par, par, birdie.

    At 12-over for the tournament, she's now tied with Alison Lee of Valencia, Calif., who has completed three holes so far this morning.

    Amateur-leader Lydia Ko of New Zealand (9-over) was scheduled to tee off about five minutes ago.

  3. So Emma Talley, formerly of Caldwell County High in Princeton and getting ready for her freshman year at the University of Alabama, parred No. 5, doubled No. 6, birdied No. 7 and then parred out for her best round of the four days--even par. That left her at 13-over for the tournament, and that was almost good enough for low amateur in the U.S. Women's Open.

    Alison Lee of Valencia, Ca., shot 6-over today to slip back to 18-over.

    Lydia Ko of New Zealand, who Go Heath said Thursday is ranked as the world's best amateur female golfer, opened the day with a comfortable three-stroke lead for low amateur of this tournament. And she was rolling along at three shots under par today through 15 holes of her final round. Miss Ko, however, finished double bogey, bogey and triple bogey. That brought her tumbling all the way back to 12-over for the tournament, but that was still good enough to finish one stroke ahead of Miss Talley for low am in the U.S. Women's Open.