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Published: Sunday, 7/5/2009

Plenty of reasons to be at LPGA final round

The snap, crackle, pop of backyard fireworks were going off all around Highland Meadows Golf Club late Saturday afternoon. The real fireworks were taking place on the course.

How would you like to be Swedish-born Mikaela Parmlid? She shot a 62 Saturday. That's low, really low. You'd think it would be lowest. You would be wrong.

Korean-born Eunjung Yi carded a 61. She burned the left edge of the cup with her five-foot putt at No. 18 for a 60. For an instant, her short, low chip over the bunker fronting the green looked dead on line for a 59.

You know, Annika Sorenstam is the only LPGA golfer who has ever shot 59. But if it happens again, the odds seem pretty good it will happen at Highland Meadows. There has been a 60 on this course. Two 61s. Three 62s. We've stopped keeping track of 63s; they're a dime a dozen.

Yeah, it should happen at the Meadows. Heck, it could happen today.

So, come on down. Today is the final round of the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic. It could be a dandy. How l-o-w-w-w-w can they go?

There's another good reason to be at the Meadows today. Like we said, it's the final round. It is possible it will be the final final round.

All of you who follow golf know that the 25-year-old Farr Classic has no contract after today with the LPGA Tour. You've read where the LPGA is seeking more from tournament sponsors at a time when the economy dictates there is less for sponsors to give. Some tour events have seen this as a no-win proposition and already have waved the white flag. Here, it could go either way.

Everybody seems to know something. Two days ago, a spectator excitedly told me a major sponsor had already pulled out for next year. Oh, really? Who was his source? A parking lot shuttle driver, he said. Hmm.

Yesterday afternoon, a tournament volunteer said the LPGA commissioner had just taped a TV segment on the No. 1 tee and

announced the Farr would be back in 2010. One problem. The commissioner, Carolyn Bivens, wasn't in town yesterday. The woman on the No. 1 tee was Judy Rankin, the ex-LPGA great, who was taping an intro for the ESPN2 telecast.

So that's how it is. There are plenty of rumors but little fact.

The people who are in a position to know, the tournament director, his major sponsors and the Farr's board of directors, aren't talking. Why? Despite insider information that might have them leaning one way or the other, they really don't know either. Serious bare-knuckle negotiations with the LPGA have yet to begin.

Here's what we can tell you for sure: The golfers will be out to torch Highland Meadows today and some will undoubtedly be successful. Just since the start of play on Thursday there has been a 61, a 62, two 63s and three 64s.

The fairways are firm, and tee shots are rolling, short-iron

approach shots are kissing receptive greens and the putting surfaces are perfect. It's the ideal place, said Parmlid, "to be in the zone."

Morgan Pressel is tied for second at 14-under and is four shots behind.

"I'd like to be closer, but I'm in position as long as I make some birdies," she said. "And there are birdies to be had out there. Maybe it will be my turn tomorrow. I'm not the only one who has a chance. Anybody can get hot. We've seen it every day this week. There are not a lot of holes where you have to be overly conservative.

"We've had 61s, 62s. They're out there. I just have to go find one."

Yi is the leader at minus-18 and while this may be only her second time in the Farr, having seven rounds under her belt have taught her the Meadows is no place for the faint of game.

"This is exciting," she said. "I'm nervous. I have to keep my focus. I will be needing more birdies tomorrow."

Like a baseball game at Fenway, no lead is safe at the Meadows. The final round will surely be a shootout must-see golf.

And we can only be hopeful that the final round won't be the Farr's final round.



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