Sunday, July 24, 2016

Team USA Shuts Up Critics, Wins UL International Crown

Team USA captured the UL International Crown today at the Merit Club in Gurnee, Illinois.

It finally puts to an end the critics who have constantly bashed the USA players, calling them a bunch of individuals who could not come together as a team. They were further criticized during the 2013 Solheim Cup, as a team more interested in painting their fingernails than getting prepared for matches. The USA players did not respond to this with words, but let their play on the golf course do the talking for them.

Just one year ago, they made the greatest comeback in history, in winning the 2015 Solheim Cup.

Still they did not receive the proper credit as their critics pointed out that their victory was just over a European team, and did not include players from Asia and other countries.

That all changed today as the USA team won the UL International Crown, and will now have the title as the world's best team for the next two years.

They now have both the Solheim Cup and International Crown trophies in their possession.

The winning US team at the UL International Crown

It wasn't easy as they lost their first two matches on Thursday, and entered Friday's matches in last place. They managed to win 3 of 4 points on Friday, putting them back into the mix. When they won both of their matches on Saturday, it set the stage for Sunday's heroics.

Stacy Lewis went out first, and defeated Japan's Mika Miyazato 3 and 2, to get the USA team rolling.
When Gerina Piller then soundly defeated Chinese Taipei's Yani Tseng 4 and 3, they were well on their way. Cristie Kerr would eventually win it for the USA team, with a 3 and 2 win over England's Mel Reid. Lexi Thompson, the top ranked U.S. player, lost her match 2 and 1 to Korea's So Yeon Ryu after the title had already been decided.

Team Korea, the top seed, finished second with 12 points, just one shy of the U.S. total.

U.S. player results:

Cristie Kerr 3-1-0
Stacy Lewis 2-1-1
Gerina Piller 2-1-1
Lexi Thompson 2-2-0

To Stacy, Gerina, Cristie, and Lexi, I say: "Go paint those fingernails and paint those toes, but while you're doing it, keep your heads held high as you are the best female golfing team in the world!"

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

International Crown Photo Gallery

Here are some photos that my wife and I have taken during the International Crown:

Stacy Lewis & Gerina Piller

Stacy Lewis

Cristie Kerr & Lexi Thompson

Kerr & Thompson

Team Korea

Ayaka Wantanabe & Ai Suzuki

Haru Nomura & Mika Miyazato

Haru Nomura

Ayaka Watanabi

Team Japan

Parani Chutichai (Thailand)

Moriya Jutanugarn

Charley Hull

Yani Tseng

Jodi Ewart Shadoff

Minjee Lee

Xi Yu Lin
Shanshan Feng

Gerina Piller

Pornanong Phatlum

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

UL International Crown Preview & More

Congratulations go out to Lydia Ko for winning the Marathon Classic. She birdied the 4th playoff hole to defeat both Ariya Jutanugarn and Mirim Lee. It was the fourth time in the last 6 LPGA tournaments, that it took extra holes to determine a winner.

This week the LPGA takes a break from its official tournament schedule, for the playing of the International Crown. This is a biennial event that will take place in even numbered years, as opposed to the Solheim Cup's odd  numbered years. It is a global  matchplay competition  that will feature 8 countries battling for the rights to be called "The World's Best Golf Nation."

Here are the Key details:

Course:  Merit Club
Location:  Chicago, IL
Defending Champion:  Spain (did not qualify)
Winning Score:  15 points

Final Field:  32 Players
Par:  36/36=72
Yardage: 6,668 yards
Purse:  $1,600,000

I will post the matches/pairings as soon as they are made available.
The Merit Club

The final field of eight countries was determined by the combined Rolex World Rankings of the top four players from each country as of the Rolex World Rankings published at the conclusion of the 2016 ANA Inspiration on Monday, April4, 2016. (Countries must have had a minimum of four ranked players to be eligible.) The final field of 32 players was determined on Monday, June 13,2016 according to the Rolex World Rankings at the conclusion of the KMPG Women's PGA Championship.

The competition will take place over four days. It will feature three days of four-ball competition and one day of singles matches on Sunday. Five of the eight countries will advance to the Sunday singles matches based on the outcome of the four-ball matches contested Thursday – Saturday.

Points will be awarded per match based on the following - two for a win; one for a tie and zero for a loss. All points from the four-ball matches will carry over to Sunday and the total cumulative points for the four days of competition will be used to determine the overall champion.

Each country will play two four-ball matches against each of the other three countries in their bracket.

At the conclusion of the three days of four-ball competition the two teams with the most points from each pool and one wild-card team will advance to Sunday Singles. In the event of a tie between teams tied for first or tied for second in each pool, the following tie-breaker will be used:

1. Total points accumulated in head-to-head match-ups between the tied teams
2. Total number of matches won in all six four-ball matches
3. Highest seeded team entering competition

At the conclusion of the three days of four-ball matches, any country in third place or tied for third place in their respective pool will compete in a sudden-death, wild-card playoff to determine the final team to advance to Sunday's singles matches.

After the wild-card playoff, countries will be re-seeded #1 through 5 based on total points earned in the four-ball matches.  In the event of a tie during the re-seed, the following tie-breaker will be used:
1. Total points accumulated in all six four-ball matches
2. Total points earned in head to head matchup (if they were in the same pool)
3. Total number of matches won in all six four-ball matches
4. Highest seeded team entering competition

Each country will play one singles match against every other country

At the conclusion of the 10 Sunday singles matches, the country with the highest point total from the four days of competition will be “Crowned” the best golf nation in the world!

In the event of a tie after the Sunday singles matches, each country will select one player who will compete in a sudden-death playoff to determine the champion.

Other Tidbits:
The most useless and odd stat of the week: Pornaning Phatlum has finished tied for 32nd in each of her last 3 tournaments.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Not much movement this week, Ariya Jutanugarn jumps over Amy Yang and into the #6 spot. Mirim Lee moves up from #31 to #25.

Race to the CME Globe: (1 Million Dollars)
Lydia Ko takes a commanding lead with 3,975 points. She is followed by Ariya Jutanugarn with 2,731, and Brooke Henderson with  2,561.

Who's Hot:
Lydia Ko leads the tour with ten top five finishes this year.
Stacy Lewis has 3 consecutive top 7 finishes.

Who's Not:

Na Yeon Choi has missed 3 consecutive cuts, and four in her last 5 starts.

I will be attending this tournament. Photos to follow.

Be sure to check back here daily for any LPGA news or updates.They will be posted here at the bottom of this blog.  Links to all Women's Tour scoreboards can be found at the top of this page.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Marathon Classic Preview. Pairings, and Much More

Huge congratulations go out to Brittany Lang for winning the 2016 U.S. Women's Open Championship. It was Brittany's first major championship victory.

For player photos taken during this championship, see the following links.
Photo Gallery #1
Photo Gallery #2

This week the LPGA moves to the state of Ohio for the playing of the Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning and O-l.

Many may remember last year's exciting conclusion when Chella Choi fired a final round 66, to force a playoff with Ha Na Jang. Choi would go on to win the playoff. Lydia Ko and Shanshan Feng finished just 1 shot back.

Chella Choi wins her first LPGA tournament.

This will be tournament #21 of 33 on this year's LPGA schedule.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Highland Meadows Golf Club
Location:  Sylvania, Ohio
Defending Champion:  Chella Choi
Winning Score:  73-66-65-66 = 270 (-14)

Final Field: 144 players
Par:  34/37 = 71
Yardage:  6,512
Purse:  $1,500,000

My strength of field rating is just 52% (down from 63.5% last year). Headlining the field this week are the #1 and #2 players in the world rankings (Lydia Ko and Brooke Henderson). Other major stars include: Ariya Jutanugarn, Stacy Lewis, Haru Nomura, Mirim Lee, Brittany Lang, Ha Na Jang, and Anna Nordqvist. Players skipping the event this week include: Lexi Thompson, Amy Yang, Sei Young Kim, Cristie Kerr, So Yeon Ryu, In Gee Chun, and Gerina Piller.

Here are the pairings for round 1:

Here are the television times:
July 14 - GC   8:00 PM - 10:00 PM ET (tape)
July 15 - GC   8:00 PM - 10:00 PM ET (tape)
July 16 - GC   6:00 PM -  8:00 PM ET
July 17 - CBS 4:00 PM -  6:00 PM ET

Here are my Pak Picker Picks for this week's tournament:

1- Lydia Ko
2- Ariya Jutanugarn
3- Brooke Henderson
4- Stacy Lewis
5- Haru Nomura
6- Mirim Lee
7- Brittany Lang
8 -Ha Na Jang
9- Anna Nordqvist
10- Hyo Joo Kim
11- Angela Stanford
12- Chella Choi
My alternates are: Gaby Lopez, Sydney Michaels, and Jenny Shin

Other Tidbits:
Gerina Piller moves up to the #15 spot in the world rankings and has qualified for the Olympic team.

Charley Hull missed the cut at the U.S. Women's Open, stopping her cut streak at 18.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:

Amy Yang makes the most important jump this week moving from #9 to #6. Brittany Lang leaps up 20 spots from #40 to #20, while Anna Nordqvist jumps from # 15 to #11. Further down the list, Gaby Lopez continues to make huge strides, catapulting from #132 to #98. 

Race to the CME Globe: (1 Million Dollars)
Lydia Ko widens her lead with 3,475 points. She is followed by Brooke Henderson with 2,528, and Ariya Jutanugarn with 2,431.

Who's Hot:

Lydia Ko has four consecutive top four finishes.

Who's Not:
Julieta Granada has not had a top 25 finish in her last 26 starts, dating back to last season. She has missed 11 cuts this year.

UPDATE #1 - The Monday local qualifiers are: Jennifer Ha (70) and Sara Detelfsen.

Here are the final results:

1x-Lydia Ko-14F
2Mirim Lee-14F
2Ariya Jutanugarn-14F
4Hyo Joo Kim-13F
5Stacy Lewis-11F
6Beatriz Recari-10F
6Alison Lee-10F
8Ha-Na Jang-9F
9Azahara Munoz-8F
9Kelly Shon-8F
11Maude-Aimee Leblanc-7F
11Moriya Jutanugarn-7F
11Alena Sharp-7F
11Ayako Uehara-7F
11Celine Herbin-7F
11Kim Kaufman-7F
11Hee Young Park-7F
11Jenny Shin-7F
19Angela Stanford-6F
19Eun-Hee Ji-6F

Be sure to check back here daily for any LPGA news or updates.They will be posted here at the bottom of this blog.  Links to all Women's Tour scoreboards can be found at the top of this page.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

More 2016 U.S. Women's Open Photos

Here are some more photos that we took during the practice rounds:

In Gee Chun with yours truly

Alison Lee

In Gee Chun

Mi Hyang Lee

Jessica and Nelly Korda

Michelle Wie talks with the media.

Brooke Henderson addresses the media.

In Gee Chun charmed us all with her smile.

Ariya Jutanugarn

Kim Kaufman

Lexi Thompson

Se Ri Pak 

Mel Reid

Jenny Shin

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