Tuesday, March 3, 2015

HSBC Women's Champions Preview & Pairings

Congratulations go out to Amy Yang for winning the Honda LPGA Thailand tournament this past weekend. Amy finished 2 strokes better than Stacy Lewis, Yani Tseng, and Mirim Lee. How close have the LPGA tournaments been so far this year? No player has won by more than 2 strokes. It was the second win of Yang's LPGA career.

Amy Yang holds the trophy she received for winning her 2nd LPGA tournament of her career.


The LPGA moves to Singapore this week for the playing of the HSBC Women's Champions. Who could forget last year's finish when Paula Creamer sank a 75 foot put on the second playoff hole to defeat Azahara Munoz.

Paula Creamer reacts after what many people called "The Miracle Putt".


This will tournament #5 of 33 on the this year's LPGA schedule.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Sentosa Golf Club, the Serapong Course
Location:  Singapore
Defending Champion:  Paula Creamer
Winning Score:  67-73-69-69 = 278 (-10)

Final Field:  63 players (no cut)
Par:  36/36 = 72
Yardage:  6,600
Purse:  $1,400,000

My strength of field rating is a very strong 70%. Forty-nine of the top 50 players on the LPGA Priority List, and 18 of the top 20 players from the Rolex Rankings will be teeing it upjf. The only reason my rating isn't higher is that this is only a field of 63 players and lacks depth. Players missing from this week's event include: Ariya Jutanugarn, Ha Na Jang, Se Ri Pak, and Moriya Jutanugarn.

Here are the pairings for the first round:

Here are the television times:
Mar 4 - GC 11:00 PM-3:00 AM ET (live)
Mar 6 - GC 4:30 AM-7:30 AM ET  (tape delay)
Mar 7 - GC 4:30 AM-7:30 AM ET  (tape delay)
Mar 8 - GC 5:00 AM-7:30 AM ET  (tape delay)

Here are my picks for this week's tournament:
1- Stacy Lewis
2- Suzann Pettersen
3- Lydia Ko
4- Inbee Park
5- Amy Yang
6- Sei Young Kim
7- Mirim Lee
8- Shanshan Feng
9- Azahara Munoz
10- Hyo-Joo Kim
11- Karrie Webb
12- Minjee Lee
I am currently in 5th place in the overall standings in a field of 24.

Other Tidbits:
Lydia Ko will be shooting for her 3rd win in 3 weeks. Lydia won the ISPS Handa Women's Open on the LET this past weekend. 

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Amy Yang surges from #16 to #10, Yani Tseng catapults from #90 to #67, and Mirim Lee Steps up 2 spots to #16.

Race to the CME Globe:
Amy Yang jumps into the lead with 962 points. She is followed by Lydia Ko with 890, and Sei Young Kim with 610.

Who's Hot:
Amy Yang and Ariya Jutanugarn are the only players to have 4 top 20 finishes. Stacy Lewis has finished in the top 11 in each of her 3 starts. Sun Young Yoo has finished in the top 13 in each of her 3 starts.

Who's Not:
Lizette Salas has not had a finish in the top 40 this year.

Symetra Tour
Katie Kempter birdied the last 3 holes to force a playoff, and then defeated Lee Lopez on the second extra hole, to take the Volvic Championship.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Honda Thailand LPGA Preview

It was quite a week for the youngsters! 


On the LPGA tour, 17 year old Lydia Ko increased her hold on the #1 spot in the Rolex Rankings by winning the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open. It wasn't easy, but in the end she was 2 strokes better than runner-up Amy Yang.

Not to be outdone, 16 year old amateur Hannah O'Sullivan won the Gateway Classic on the Symetra tour. Hannah became the youngest player ever to win a Symetra tour event. Cristie Kerr had won as a 17 year old. Hannah is still just a junior in high school, but is a name we will all be hearing more of in the near future.

Sixteen year old Hannah O'Sullivan became youngest Symetra tour winner ever.


The LPGA moves to Thailand this week for the playing of the Honda LPGA Thailand. Many of you may remember last year's exciting finish when Anna Nordqvist outlasted Inbee Park and won by 2 strokes.

Anna Nordqvist holds up her 2014 Honda LPGA Thailand trophy.

This will be tournament #4 of 33 on this year's LPGA schedule.

Here are the Key details:

Course:  Siam Country Club, Pataya Old Course
Location:  Chonburi, Thailand
Defending Champion:  Anna Nordqvist
Winning Score: 66-72-67-68 = 273 (-15)

Final Field: 70 players
Par:  36/36 = 72
Yardage:  6,578
Purse:  $1,500,000

My strength of field rating is a very strong 74%, tying it with the Coates Championship as the strongest field so far this year. Forty-seven of the top 50 players from the LPGA Priority list, and 21 of the top 25 players from the Rolex Rankings, will be teeing it up. One very noticeable absentee will be Rolex Rankings number one player Lydia Ko. Other absentees include: Ha Na Jang, Minjee Lee, Q-Baek, and I.K. Kim.

Here are the pairings for the first round:

Here are the television times: (Golf Channel)
Thursday 2/26 - 1:00 - 5:00 a.m. ET
Friday 2/27  - 1:00 - 5:00 a.m. ET
Saturday 2/28 - 1:00 - 5:00 a.m. ET
Sunday 2/29 - 1:00 - 5:00 a.m. ET

Here are my Pak Picker Picks for this week's tournament:
1- Inbee Park
2- Ariya Jutanugarn
3- Stacy Lewis
4- So Yeon Ryu
5- Lexi Thompson
6- Michelle Wie
7- Suzann Pettersen
8- Anna Nordqvist
9- Amy Yang
10- Jenny Shin
11- Shanshan Feng
12- Pornanong Phatlum
Last week 7 of my 12 picks finished in the top 12. I am currently tied for 3rd place among the 24 participants.

Other Tidbits:
Moriya Jutanugarn's missed cut at the Australian Open was her first in her last 13 events.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Amy Yang jumps from #21 to #16, Ariya Jutanugarn leaps from #60 to #44, and Minjee Lee rises from #68 to #61.

Race to the CME Globe: (1 million dollars)
Lydia Ko jumps out to the lead with 890 points. She is followed by Ariya Jutanugarn (560), and Na Yeon Choi (510).

Who's Hot:
Lydia Ko is the only player to finish in the top 10 in all 3 tournaments this year. AmyYang and Ariya Jutanugarn have 3 top 20 finishes.

Who's Not:
Belen Mozo has failed to make the cut in all 3 of her starts.

Be sure to check back here daily for any news and updates which will be added to the bottom of this blog. For live scoreboards see the link on the top of this page.

Here are the final results:
1Amy Yang-15F
2Yani Tseng-13F
2Mirim Lee-13F
2Stacy Lewis-13F
5Beatriz Recari-12F
5Sei Young Kim-12F
7Inbee Park-11F
7Suzann Pettersen-11F
7Sandra Gal-11F
10Shanshan Feng-10F

For full scoreboard see link on top of this page.

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Monday, February 16, 2015

ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open Preview & Pairings

After a one week break, the LPGA travels to the continent of Australia for the ISPS Women's Australian Open. This tournament has a history of very close finishes. Who could forget the 2012 finish, where Jessica Korda won a 6 player playoff? The following year Jiyai Shin and Yani Tseng battled it out down the stretch, with Jiyai coming out on top by 2 strokes. Last year nine players finished within 3 strokes of each other, with Karrie Webb taking home the trophy.

Karrie Webb holds up her 2014 championship trophy

This will be tournament #3 of 33 official tournaments on the 2015 LPGA schedule.

Here are the key details:

Course:  The Royal Melbourne Golf Club
Location:  Melbourne, Austrailia
Defending Champion:  Karrie Webb
Winning Score:  71-69-68-68 = 276 (-12)

Final Field:  156 players
Par: 38/35 = 73
Yardage:  6,479
Purse:  $1,200,000

My strength of field rating is a weak 48%. Just 25 of the top 50 players on the LPGA Priority List, and 11 of the top 25 players from the Rolex Rankings, will be teeing it up. Among the missing this week include: Stacy Lewis, Inbee Park, Michelle Wie, Azahara Munoz, Anna Nordqvist, Suzann Pettersen, Lexi Thompson, Sei Young Kim,  Hyo-Joo Kim, Mirim Lee, Cristie Kerr, Brittany Lincicome, Paula Creamer, and Lizette Salas.

Here are the pairings for round 2:

Here are the television times:
Wednesday February 18 - GC 11:00 PM - 2:00 AM ET
Thursday February 19 - GC 11:30 PM - 2:00 AM ET
Friday February 20 - GC 11:30 PM - 2:00 AM ET
Saturday February 21 - GC 9:00 PM - 2:00 AM ET

Here are my Pak Picker Picks for this week's tournament:
1- Jessica Korda
2- Lydia Ko
3- Karrie Webb
4- Minjee Lee
5- Ariya Jutanugarn
6- Ha Na Jang
7- Shanshan Feng
8- So Yeon Ryu
9- Na Yeon Choi
10- Amy Yang
11- Jenny Shin
12- Karine Icher
My very crafty picking last week landed me in 4th place. I am currently 3rd in the standings in a field of 24 players.

Other Tidbits:
In spite of the week off, Brittany Lincicome was the big mover in the Rolex Rankings. She jumped up from #18 to #15 this week.

Be sure to check back here daily for any news and updates which will be added to the bottom of this blog. For live scoreboards see the link on the top of this page.


Here are the final results:
1Lydia Ko-9F
2Amy Yang-7F
3Ariya Jutanugarn-4F
4Jenny Shin-2F
4Ilhee Lee-2F
4Chella Choi-2F
7Minjee Lee-1F
7Paz Echeverria-1F
7Charley Hull-1F
7Ha-Na Jang-1F
7Julieta Granada-1F
12Mika MiyazatoEF
12Kyu Jung BaekEF
12Gwladys NoceraEF
12Jessica KordaEF


For full leaderboard, see LPGA link on top of page.

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Thursday, February 12, 2015

Solheim Cup Update - U.S. Players Fighting For Remaining Spots

With the LPGA taking a one week break, I don't think it is too early to take a look at the United States players who are fighting to gain a spot on the 2015 Solheim Cup team. 



Qualifications For Entry:
1- A player must finish in the top 8 on the Solheim Cup points list.
2- The top 2 players in the Rolex Rankings that have not already qualified.
3- There will be 2 captain's picks.

Points are accumulated the following way:
(From the first event after the previous Solheim Cup match in 2013 through the end of the 2014 season)
Winner - 40 points, 2nd - 20 points, 3rd - 18 points, 4th - 17 points, all the way down to 20th - 2 points.
(The 2015 season tournaments, leading up to the Solheim match)
Winner - 60 points, 2nd - 30 points, 3rd - 28.5 points, 4th - 27 points, 5th - 25.5 points, all the way down to a 20th place finish worth 3 points.
The reason for the increased points for the last part of the term is to give an advantage to the players who are hot going into the match.

Points are doubled for major championships.

With many players fighting to get into a position to make the team, let's look at where they stand.


Longtime Solheim  Cup team member Paula Creamer, finds herself  among the players fighting  to earn a spot in 2015

Here are the top 8 Solheim Cup point leaders as of today:
1- Stacy Lewis - 664.5
2- Lexi Thompson - 417.5
3- Michelle Wie - 414
4- Cristie Kerr - 255
5- Angela Stanford - 229
6- Brittany Lincicome - 223
7- Jessica Korda - 220
8- Gerina Piller - 207.5
The above 8 players would make the team on points.

9- Paula Creamer - 195
10- Lizette Salas - 185
11- Brittany Lang - 154.5
12- Morgan Pressel - 133
13- Mo Martin - 132.5
14- Austin Ernst - 101.5
15- Christina Kim - 99
The above 7 players would fail to qualify via the points system.

Here are the highest Rolex Ranked players, that wouldn't have already qualified:
1- Paula Creamer - #25 in current rankings
2- Lizette Salas - #27
The above 2 players would make the team via the Rolex Rankings

3- Mo Martin - #32
4- Christina Kim - #48
5- Morgan Pressel - #55
6- Brittany Lang - #63
7- Austin Ernst #74
The above 5 players would fail to qualify via the Rolex Rankings.

It is interesting to point out that the10 players that would qualify as of today, were all on the 2013 Solheim Cup team. Morgan Pressel and Brittany Lang, the other two 2013 members, do not qualify at this point.

It then comes down to the 2 captain's picks. Assuming Paula Creamer holds on to her spot (she would be an obvious captain's pick if she doesn't), who does Captain Juli Inkster pick?
Mo Martin - British Open Champion, keeps it in the fairway but doesn't have much length.
Christina Kim - Do her antics actually help or hurt?
Morgan Pressel - Has great Solheim track record.
Brittany Lang - Longtime Solheim team member with moderate success.
Austin Errnst - Rising star?

Or will it be someone who might come from way back in the pack, like rookie Alison Lee?

Stay tuned as this will heat up during the coming weeks. I will revisit this subject in about 2 months.


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Monday, February 9, 2015

How Good are the 2015 LPGA Rookies?

If we had any doubts that the 2015 LPGA season could ever match the excitement of 2014, those doubts no longer exist. Once again this weekend we had an extraordinary finish. This time it was a 3 way playoff that included two 2015 rookies, Sei Young Kim, and Ariya Jutanugarn.

How good is the 2015 rookie crop? I am going to say without a doubt the best in LPGA history.
Not only did 2 rookies go into a playoff in this week's Pure Silk LPGA Classic, but a rookie finished in 2nd place last week at the Coates Championship.

Sei Young Kim holds up her Pure Silk Classic trophy

With 32 rookies this year, here are my top ten picks:

1- Hyo- Joo Kim - The cream of the crop. If she doesn't win the top rookie award it will be because she chose to play a number of tournaments in Asia, and her LPGA appearances were limited.  She has won 8 times on the KLPGA tour. This 19 year old is already ranked #7 in the Rolex Rankings. She received her LPGA card when she won the Evian Championship last year. 

2- Ha Na Jang - She has won 6 times on the KLPGA tour, and at the age of 22 is ready to make some big noise on the world's biggest tour. In her first event as an LPGA member, she finished in 2nd place last week at the Coates Championship. She is currently ranked #19 in the world rankings.

3- Ariya Jutanugarn - Trying to become part of the first sister act to both win the Rookie of the Year award. At just 19 years old  she is a future superstar! She finished in second place this past weekend losing in a playoff to Sei Young Kim. She is currently ranked # 58 in the world, and will see the top 10 very soon.

4- Q-Baek - She received her LPGA card as a result of winning last year's KEB Hana Bank Classic as an non LPGA member. This 19 year old has already won 4 times on the KLPGA, and is ranked #11 in the current Rolex Rankings. 

5- Sei Young Kim - Don't have to say much here except that she won the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic this past weekend. She is 22 years old and is currently ranked #23 in the world.

6- Charley Hull - Will make her debut as an LPGA member next week in Australia. Already a winner on the LET (and took top rookie honors), this 18 year old future star is set to make a big splash on the LPGA tour. As a non LPGA member, she finished 7th at last year's Kraft Nabisco Championship. She is currently ranked #39 in the world.

7- Minjee Lee - Co-winner of the Q-School tournament, Minjee is 18 years old and destined for greatness. As a non LPGA member, she finished 11th at the Australian Open, 22nd at the U.S. Open, and 16th at the Evian Championship last year. She is currently ranked #68 in the world.

8- Alison Lee - She doesn't have the experience of the players above, but she has an abundance of talent. One of only two Americans on this list, she finished 13th last week at the Coates Championship. She was also the co-winner of the Q-School tournament.

9- Sakura Yokomine - This rookie, at 29 years old, is the veteran of the group. A 23 time winner on the JLPGA, she finished 7th in the 2014 U.S. Women's Open. She is ranked #51 in the world.

10- Cheyenne Woods -  I don't think she is of the caliber of the players listed ahead of her, but she does have an LET victory on her resume.

I think any one of the top 7 on this list could be in contention for rookie honors. There are other players like Stephanie Meadow (third at last year's U.S. Open), and Ju Young Park (Hee Young's sister), who could make some noise.

Other Tidbits:
Mika Miyazato's 19th place finish at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic, was her first top 20 finish in her last 19 starts.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Sei Young Kim's victory this past weekend catapults her from #40 to #23. Ariya Jutanugarn leaps from #100 to #58, while Brittany Lincicome moves from #20 to #18.

Race to the CME Globe:
Na Yeon Choi and Sei Young Kim lead with 500 points apiece. They are followed by Lydia Ko with 390 points.

Who's Hot:
Lydia Ko and Sun Young Yoo are the only players to finish in the top ten in the first two LPGA tournaments.

Who's Not:
Haeji Kang, Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Belen Mozo, and Ayaka Uehara, have missed both cuts.

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Monday, February 2, 2015

Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic Preview & Pairings

It is going to be very difficult for the LPGA to match the success of the 2014 season, which many thought was its greatest season ever. Difficult yes, but not impossible. The 2015 season could not have gotten off to a more exciting start as Na Yeon Choi won the Coates Golf Championship by one shot over 3 different players. What a dramatic finish! Lydia Ko seemed to have the tournament won, until she double bogeyed the 17th hole. Jessica Korda's eagle putt on 18, that would have forced a playoff, went around the hole and out. Ha-Na Jang, playing in her first tournament as an LPGA member, bogeyed the 17th hole and also missed the playoff by one stroke. This is the kind of excitement we had in 2014, and this year is off to that same kind of a start.

This week the LPGA moves to the Bahamas for the playing of the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic.
Many of you may remember last year's exciting finish, when Jessica Korda came out on top by one stroke over Stacy Lewis.

Last year's winner Jessica Korda

This will be tournament #2 of 33 on this year's LPGA schedule.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Ocean Club Golf Course
Location:  Paradise Island, Bahamas
Defending Champion:  Jessica Korda
Winning Score:  69-66-72-66 = (-19)

Final Field: 120 players
Par: 36/37 = 73
Yardage:  6664
Purse:  $1,300,000

My strength of field rating is a very solid 73%. Forty-two of the top 50 players on the LPGA pririty list, and 19 of the top 25 players on the Rolex Rankings will be in attendance. Noteable players not teeing it up this week include, Shanshan Feng, So Yeon Ryu, Karrie Webb, Lee-Anne Pace, I.K. Kim, Se Ri Pak, Yani Tseng, and Hyo-Joo Kim.

Here are the pairings for the first 2 rounds:

Here are the television times:
Feb 5 - GC 11:30 AM-2:30 PM ET
Feb 6 - GC 11:30 AM-2:30 PM ET
Feb 7 - GC 3:00 PM-5:00 PM ET
Feb 8 - GC 3:00 PM-5:00 PM ET

Here are my Pak Picker picks for this week's tournament:
1- Jessica Korda
2- Michelle Wie
3- Lydia Ko
4- Ha-Na Jang
5- Stacy Lewis
6- Brittany Lincicome
7- Lexi Thompson
8- Na Yeon Choi
9- Inbee Park
10- Pornanong Phatlum
11- Anna Nordqvist
12- Suzann Pettersen
My picks were pretty decent last week as I started the season in 7th place among the 24 contestants.

Other Tidbits:
Julieta Granada (21), and Suzann Pettersen (13), had their cut streaks come to an end.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week
There was lots of movement this week as Lydia Ko moves up from #2 to #1, and becomes the youngest player ever to occupy that position. Na Yeon Choi shoots up from # 17 to #12, Ha-Na Jang jumps up from #21 to #18, Jessica Korda rises from #24 to #19, and Minjee Lee leaps from # 78 to #67. There was also some serious movement outside the top 100 this week as Alison Walshe catapults from #179 to #131, Ariya Jutanugarn soars from #126 to #100, and Sydnee Michaels surges from # 158-143.

Race to the CME Globe:
Na Yeon Choi jumps out in front with 500 points, she is followed by Jessica Korda, Ha-Na Jang, and Lydia Ko, with 300.

Who's Hot
Lydia Ko has never missed a cut in an LPGA event. She now has a streak of 42 consecutive cuts made.

Who's Not:
The Miyazatos' struggles continue. Ai, after a promising start, could finish no better than 66th, while Mika missed the cut.

Be sure to check back here daily for any news and updates, which will be added to the bottom of this blog. For live scoreboards see the link on the top of this page.

UPDATE #1 - Brooke Henderson (69) and Rebecca Lee Bentham (70) were the Monday qualifiers. Ju Young Park missed by one stroke.

Here are the final results:

POSPLAYERTO PARTHRU
1x-Sei Young Kim-14F
1Ariya Jutanugarn-14F
1Sun Young Yoo-14F
4Brittany Lincicome-13F
5Danielle Kang-12F
5Inbee Park-12F
7Lydia Ko-11F
7Gerina Piller-11F
7Azahara Munoz-11F
7Lexi Thompson-11F
11Jaye Marie Green-10F
11Stacy Lewis-10F
11Kelly Shon-10F
11Sandra Gal-10F
11Hee Young Park-10F

For full results, see link at top of this page.   (currently 1,230 followers)