Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Paula Creamer Wants a Women's Masters at Augusta

Paula Creamer hopes that someday soon there will be a Ladies' Masters at Augusta.

A women's major championship at Augusta? Yes, that is what Paula Creamer is calling for.

Paula Creamer

The above was posted by Paula after Jordan Spieth won the 2015 Masters.

The club accepted its first women members in August of 2012, when it invited former secretary of state Condoleeza Rice, and financier Darla Moore to wear green jackets, but chairman Billy Payne has said that "It is unlikely Augusta could hold another tournament."

Creamer hopes that there will be further talks and would love to be part of them.

"Augusta wants to grow the game so badly. There is no reason why we can't do that in women's golf," Creamer said. "We're just as much a part of growing the game."

Billy Payne noted that this probably wouldn't be possible because of everything that goes into hosting one tournament.

"We have a very short member season at Augusta National. It's seven months only," he said. "The time that we dedicate to the preparation and conduct of the tournament is already extensive. I dont think that we would ever host another tournament."

But Creamer suggested that a women's version could be played a week after the men's event in April.

"I think the patrons and everyone would love to have two weeks there, two tournaments. Why wouldn't you?" the 2010 U.S. Open champion said.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic Presented by CTBC Preview & Pairings

Is it possible for these LPGA tournament finishes to get any more exciting? For the second tournament in a row, it took a playoff to determine the winner. This one ended very suddenly when Sei Young Kim put the ball in the hole from the middle of the fairway for an eagle, thus becoming the first player to win twice this season.

Sei Young Kim reacts to miracle eagle to end playoff

The LPGA moves back to the state of California for the playing of the Swinging Skirts Classic Presented BY CTBC. This is the second year for this tournament. Many of you may remember last year when Lydia Ko birdied the final hole to defeat Stacy Lewis by one stroke.

Lydia Ko won the inaugural Swinging Skirts last year

This will be tournament #10 of 32 on the 2015 LPGA schedule.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Lake Merced Golf Club
Location:  San Francisco, California
Defending Champion:  Lydia Ko
Winning Score:  68-71-68-69 = 276 (-12)

Final Field:  144 players
Par: 36/36 = 72
Yardage:  Not available
Purse:  $2,000,000

My strength of field rating is a very high 82%, making it the 3rd strongest field of the year. Seventy of the top 75 players from the LPGA Priority List, and 22 of the top 25 players from the Rolex Rankings will be teeing it up. The only big names missing this week are Jessica Korda, Angela Stanford, and Lizette Salas.

Here are the first round pairings:

Here are the television times:
Apr 23 - GC 6:00 PM-9:00 PM ET
Apr 24 - GC 6:00 PM-9:00 PM ET
Apr 25 - GC 6:00 PM-9:00 PM ET
Apr 26 - GC 6:00 PM-9:00 PM ET

Here are my Pak Picker picks for this week's tournament:
1- Stacy Lewis
2- Lydia Ko
3- Hyo Joo Kim
4- Sei Young Kim
5- Inbee Park
6- Shanshan Feng
7- Lexi Thompson
8- Mirim Lee
9- Brittany Lincicome
10- Michelle Wie
11- Jenny Shin
12- Ariya Jutanugarn
My solid picking last week moved me up 2 spots to 8th place among the 22 participants.

Other Tidbits:
The purse for the Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft has increased to 2 million dollars. That puts that tournament among the echelon in prize money. Of the 27 non major championship tournaments, only the Canadian Pacific Women's Open and the Reignwood Pine Valley LPGA Classic have a higher purse. In only its second year this tournament has quickly become a favorite of both the players and the fans.

Both Ilhee Lee (22) and Mariajo Uribe (17) had their cut streaks snapped.

Mika Miyazato's top 10 finish this past weekend was her first in her last 34 tournaments. Ai Miyazato, who was in the top ten the first 3 rounds, faltered in the final round and has not had a top 10 finish in her last 45 events.

Strange Stat of the Week:
Ariya Jutanugarn has either finished in the top 11 (6 times), or missed the cut (2 times) in her 8 starts this year. No finishes in between.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Sei Young Kim moves up from #19 to #16, while I.K. Kim jumps eleven places to #40.

Race to the CME Globe:
Lydia Ko is still out in front with 1,505 points. She is followed by Sei Young Kim with 1476, and Stacy Lewis with 1,376.

Who's Hot:
Sei Young Kim has finished in the top 10 in 5 of her 8 starts this year. She is the first player to win twice in 2015.

Who's Not:
Sun Young Yoo has missed four consecutive cuts. Jodi Ewart Shadoff has not finished better than 30th in her 8 starts this year. She has missed 3 cuts.

Be sure to check back here daily for any updates. They will be posted here, at the end of this blog.

Update #1 - Sakura Yokomine and Sue Kim are the Monday qualifiers.

Here are the leaders after round 3:

1Brooke Mackenzie Henderson-9F
2Morgan Pressel-8F
2Min Seo Kwak-8F
4Lydia Ko-6F
5Stacy Lewis-5F
5Shanshan Feng-5F
7So Yeon Ryu-4F
8Sei Young Kim-3F
8Sandra Gal-3F
10Anna Nordqvist-2F
10Moriya Jutanugarn-2F
10Tiffany Joh-2F
10Julieta Granada-2F
10Yueer Cindy Feng-2F
15P.K. Kongkraphan-1F
15Mirim Lee-1F
15Amy Yang-1F
15Sakura Yokomine-1F
15Na Yeon Choi-1F

For complete live scoreboard, see link on top of this page.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Symetra Tour & Legends Tour to Play Together This Week

The Symetra Tour, Road to the LPGA, is back in action after a two-week hiatus for the fourth event of the year, the second annual Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial at Cypress Lake Country Club, April 16-19. This is one of the marquee events of the 2015 season as the Symetra Tour and Legends Tour will both play this week in Fort Myers, Florida.

The 72-hole Symetra Tour event will begin on Thursday, April 16 and conclude on Sunday, April 19. The 36-hole Legends Tour event will begin on Saturday, April 18 and conclude side-by-side with the Symetra Tour event on Sunday. Players from the Symetra Tour and Legends Tour will be paired together in threesomes on Saturday and Sunday (two Symetra Tour players and one Legends Tour playerPlayers from both Tours are competing for separate $150,000 tournament purses. The winners of the events will both receive a first-place check of $22,500 and the Chico’s Leopard Jacket. 

Both the Symetra and Legends Tours will be teeing it up here

The Symetra Tour field will be sliced to the top 50 players and ties after second round play on Friday. The top 70 and ties will still be compensated as if they made the cut, but they will not play on the weekend.

BOTH FIELDS VERY STRONG: The Symetra Tour field will feature eight of the top 10 on the Volvik Race for the Card money list and 17 of the top 20. The only players not in the field are No. 1 Sue Kim, No. 7 Giulia Molinaro and No. 20 Jimin Kang. Kim and Molinaro are both in the field for the LPGA Tour event this week, the LOTTE Championship. 

There are 17 current LPGA Tour members that will tee off in the Symetra Tour field. In alphabetical order, the list includes Julia Boland, Ashli Bunch, Lindy Duncan, Casey Grice, Candy Hannemann, Celine Herbin, Daniela Iacobelli, Haley Italia, Nicole Jeray, Birdie Kim, Mindy Kim, Cindy LaCrosse, Liz Nagel, Jean Reynolds, Natalie Sheary, Victoria Tanco and Caroline Westrup. 

The Legends Tour field is loaded with eight LPGA Tour Hall-of-Famers and the 30 players in the field have combined for 410 career LPGA wins. The eight Hall-of-Famers that will tee it up this week are Pat Bradley, Donna Caponi, JoAnne Carner, Beth Daniel, Sandra Haynie, Betsy King, Nancy Lopez and Hollis Stacy. The eight hall-of-famers captured a total of 31 LPGA Tour major championships. Bradley and King won six majors apiece. 

Cypress Lake Country Club is a Dick Wilson designed course that opened in 1961. There are three World Golf Hall of Fame members that were members of the club at one time: Patty Berg, Gene Sarazen and Herb Graffis. 

This is the fourth of 23 events on the 2015 Symetra Tour schedule. The schedule features the most events in 27 years. Since 2013, the Tour schedule has grown from 15 events to 23 events. 

The Symetra Tour total purse of $2.73 million is the largest in Tour history. The Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial is one of 11 events with a total purse that exceeds $100,000. 

WHO’S HOT: On the Symetra Tour side, nobody has been more consistent than Brianna Do, who is the only player on Tour with top 10 finishes in each of the first three events. Do currently ranks sixth on the Volvik Race for the Card money list. Do has finished in a tie for fourth twice and finished in a tie for ninth at the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic.

Here are the leaders after round 3:

T1T1canLEBLANC, Maude-Aimee10-612:38 AM717069210
T1T1usaKUENY, Laura-612:27 PM687369210
T1T1usaLOPEZ, Lee4-612:27 PM697170210
T1T1usaDO, Brianna6-612:38 AM726672210
55canJAMES, Augusta-512:16 PM697072211
T6T6usaNAGEL, Elizabeth-411:54 AM727268212
T6T6usaLACROSSE, Cindy-412:05 PM717269212
T6T6norWESTRUP, Caroline-412:16 PM736871212
T6T6usaTUBERT, Emily-412:05 PM736871212
1010canRICHDALE, Samantha-311:54 AM707370213
View both Symetra Tour and Legen

Link to live Symetra Tour scoreboard can be found at the top of this page.

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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Lotte Championship Presented by Hershey Preview & Pairings

The LPGA moves to Hawaii this week for the playing of the Lotte Championship Presented by Hershey. Many of you may remember last year's championship when Michelle Wie won by 2 strokes over Angela Stanford. Inbee Park finished one stroke further back. Past winners of this tournament include Suzanne Pettersen (2013), and Ai Miyazato (2012).

Defending Champion Michelle Wie
This will tournament #9 of 32 on the 2015 LPGA Schedule.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Ko Olina Golf Club
Location:  Kapolei, Hawaii
Defending Champion:  Michelle Wie
Winning Score:  70-67-70-67 = (-14)

Final Field: 144 players
Par:  36/36 = 72
Yardage:  6,383
Purse:  $1,800,000

My strength of field rating is 66% (up from 63% last year), making it the second weakest field of the year so far. Thirty-six of the top 50 players from the LPGA Priority List, and 16 of the top 25 players from the Rolex Rankings will be in attendance. Players not teeing it up this week include, Stacy Lewis, Lydia Ko, Anna Nordqvist, Karrie Webb, Lexi Thompson, and Amy Yang. There will still be many stars for us to follow this week including, Inbee Park, Hyo-Joo Kim, Shanshan Feng, Suzann Pettersen, last week's winner Brittany Lincicome, Paula Creamer, defending champion Michelle Wie, and many more.

Here are the first round pairings.

Here are the television times:
Apr 15 - GC 7:00 PM-11:00 PM ET
Apr 16 - GC 7:00 PM-11:00 PM ET
Apr 17 - GC 7:00 PM-11:00 PM ET
Apr 18 - GC 7:00 PM-11:00 PM ET

Here are my picks for this week's tournament:
1- Inbee Park
2- Hyo Joo Kim
3- Sei Young Kim
4- So Yeon Ryu
5- Suzann Pettersen
6- Ariya Jutanugarn
7- Shanshan Feng
8- Michelle Wie
9- Brittany Lincicome
10- Na Yeon Choi
11- Ha Na Jang
12- Jessica Korda

On Other Tours:
Bo Kyung Kim was the winner of the Lotte Mart Women's Open on the KLPGA. Her score of -9 was 3 strokes better than a trio of players. In Gee Chun finished in 19th place.

Misuka Narita was the winner of the Studio Alice Ladies Open on the JLPGA Tour. Her score of -9 was 2 strokes better than runner-up Hikari Fujita. Teresa Lu finished in 4th place 6 strokes off the pace.

Be sure to check back daily for any updates. They will be posted here at the bottom of this blog.

Update #1 - Nicole Castrale has dropped out of the field because of back problems.

Update #2 - Jing Yan (67), and Pat Hurst (69), are the Sunday qualifiers who will be added to the field.

Here are the final results:

1x-Sei Young Kim-11F
2Inbee Park-11F
3In-Kyung Kim-9F
4Hyo Joo Kim-7F
4Chella Choi-7F
6Sandra Gal-6F
7Shanshan Feng-4F
7Mika Miyazato-4F
7Cristie Kerr-4F
7Jenny Shin-4F
11Pornanong Phatlum-3F
11Michelle Wie-3F
13Minjee Lee-2F
13So Yeon Ryu-2F
13Alison Walshe-2F

For complete scorebooard see link on top of this page.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Surprises & Disappointments 2015 - Part 1

Although the LPGA has completed  only 25% (8 of 32 tournaments) of its 2015 schedule, I don't think it is too early to take a look at some of the ladies that have been the biggest surprises and biggest disappointments of the year so far.

As I do every year, I will do this again at the half way point of the season and again at season's end.

To further explain how I come up with my list, the fact that a player such as Lydia Ko is having an outstanding season is not a surprise to me, as my expectations are very high. Therefore she is not on my list. The fact that Ai Miyazato (last year's biggest disappointment), is not on my list is that I have lowered my expectations so much that her continued poor play no longer surprises me.

With that in mind here are my early season choices:

Biggest Surprises:

Hyo Joo Kim - My pick as biggest surprise of the young season

1- Hyo Joo Kim - Yes, I know that my Asian readers who follow the KLPGA Tour, are saying "I told you so." Still, I am a person who wants to be shown that a player who has had success on other tours can do it against the best players in the world on the LPGA tour. Hyo-Joo has made a believer out of me. So much so, that I now believe that the big three (Ko, Lewis, Inbee Park), are now the big 4. She has played just 5 LPGA tournaments this year, but already has a win, 3 top tens, and an 11th place finish. Currently number 7 on the 2015 money list, her upside is limitless.

2- Sei Young Kim - Some may say she is an even bigger surprise than Hyo Joo. After missing the cut in her first tournament this year, she  has been on fire. Already a winner in 2015, she has 4 top tens in seven starts this year. I don't rate her as high as Hyo Joo, but I believe she can be a top ten player for a long time to come.

3- Ha Na Jang - I know this is getting a bit repetitive here with me listing rookies as my top 3 surprises, but we are witnessing a rookie crop here that is extraordinary. Ha Na has already finished in the top 10 three times, and has been on the leader board more times than not. Like the two ladies listed above her, she is a threat to win whenever she tees it up.

4- Amy Yang - Amy has always had the talent, but came into this year with only one career victory on the LPGA. She seemed to have settled into the category of good player who just doesn't finish on Sunday. This year has been different. She already has a victory, and 3 top tens. Last year she finished #25 on the money list, she is currently #4.

5- Ilhee Lee - Like Amy above, Ilhee has always been a very good player. Her problem has always been consistency. She will miss 6 out of 8 cuts and then have 4 consecutive top tens, only to revert back to missing cuts again. This year she has not missed a cut in 8 starts. She has 3 top tens and has been very consistent all season so far.

6- Alison Lee - Yes, another rookie. Once again, I am not surprised they are playing well, just surprised they are playing this well, this quickly. Less experienced than the top 3 players on this list, Alison looks like a future superstar. She showed us just how good she can be, with her 4th place finish at the Kia Classic. She has teed it up just 5 times this year but is #25 on the money list.

Honorable mention:  Austin Ernst, Anna Nordqvist, and Sandra Gal

Biggest Dissappointments:

There haven't been many fist pumps for Michelle Wie in 2015

1- Michelle Wie - Michelle is coming off a career year where she finished #4 on the 2014 money list. We have not seen anything that resembles that player this year so far. She does not have a top 20 finish in 7 starts so far this year. She has been erratic off the tee, and has missed way too many makeable putts. It is early in the year and she will probably get straightened out, but for now she is my choice as the biggest disappointment.

2- M.J. Hur - We saw the kind of player she could be in the second half of the 2014 season. Expectations this year were very high, but so far she hasn't even shown up. In 7 starts she has missed 3 cuts and hasn't finished better than 35th. She is currently #96 on the money list.

3- Belen Mozo - Her play last year at the International Crown, where she led the Spanish team to victory, showed us what kind of player she could be. What she has done so far this year has us scratching our heads. She has already missed 5 cuts this year, and finished 74th in another. One of the most pleasant players to be around, I am rooting for her to turn it around soon.

4- Caroline Hedwall - In 2013 she became the first player in Solheim Cup history to go 5-0. Why she hasn't had much success on the LPGA Tour is puzzling. When she plays well you wonder why she isn't in the top 10 every week. Her start to the 2015 season has been disastrous. In 6 starts she has not been able to finish inside the top 40. Currently #80 on the money list, it's time for her to step it up.

5- Q-Baek - With Hyo Joo, Ha Na, and Sei Young on my surprise list, it is only fair to put this player here. Q-Baek, who won last year on the LPGA Tour as a non member, came into this year with very high expectations. So far she has not lived up to them. Still looking for her first top 10 finish, she is currently #52 on the money list.

Others: Eun-Hee Ji, Haeji Kang, Jodi Ewart Shadoff, and Jennifer Johnson.

Other Tidbits:
Lydia Ko had her under par streak stopped at 29.
Ai Miyazato is now 0-38 in major championships.

Rolex Movers of the Week:
Stacy Lewis jumps over Inbee Park into the #2 position, while Brittany Lincicome vaults from #18 all the way to #7.

Race to the CME Globe:
Lydia Ko continues to lead with 1,505 points. She is followed by Stacy Lewis with 1,376, and Amy Yang with 1,117.

Who's Hot:
Stacy Lewis is the only player on tour to finish in the top 15 in every tournament this year. She is now #1 on the 2015 money list.

Who's Not:
Chella Choi has not finished higher than 27th in her last 5 starts.

Be sure to check back here soon for my preview of next week's LPGA tournament that takes place in Honolulu, Hawaii. This tournament will have a Wednesday start.

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