Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Wegman's LPGA Championship Preview & Pairings

This week the LPGA will hold its second major championship of the year, with the playing of the Wegman's LPGA Championship in Rochester, N.Y. This will be the second of five major championships that will be played in 2013. Four of the next nine tournaments will be major championships, so this would be a great time for these ladies to get their games in tip top shape.

Before I go on with this week's tournament, I would like to look back at the past week's championship.
Once again we had a very exciting finish with Karrie Webb, who shot a final round 68 (only equaled by Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr), defeating Shanshan Feng by 2 strokes. Shanshan, who shot a final round 75, had a chance to win when she birdied the 16th hole, but her bogey on 17 eliminated any realistic chance of overtaking Webb.

The bigger story though, might have been the course itself. The average winning score for this 54 hole tournament over the past 6 years was 15 under par. That would not be the case this year. This course would not play like the one that they beat up on in previous years. The wind was up, the rough was thick, and the greens were hard and fast, resulting in a winning score of four under par. Only 3 players, in a field of 144, managed to break par.

After Friday's round Lexi Thompson teamed up with Natalie Gulbis, and challenged Kathleen Ekey and Brooke Pancake in a unique test of skills. The foursome took swings from a custom built tee on top of Atlantic City's Revel Resort, attempting to hit targets placed along New Jersey's shoreline.

The seven shots they took at targets ranging from 75 to 250 yards away were difficult enough, but the challenge was complicated further with wind gusts of 40 miles per hour. In the end it was Ekey who had the most points, bringing her team to victory.

Here are some pictures I took of the event:

Now on to this week's tournament. This will be tournament #13 of 28 to be played this year.
Here are the key details:

Course:  Locust Hill Country Club
Location:  Pittsford, N.Y.
Defending Champion:  Shanshan Feng
Winning Score:  72-73-70-67 = 282 (-6)

Final Field:  150 players
Par:  35/37=72
Yardage:  6,534
Purse:  $2,250,000

This will be the strongest field of the year so far. My strength of field rating is 87.5%. The entire top 20 players in the Rolex Rankings, and 39 of the top 40 players on the LPGA Priority List will be in attendance.
Among the very few missing this tournament are: Song Hee Kim, Karin Sjodin, and Jimin Kang.
Ariya Jutanugarn, Lydia Ko, and Melissa Reid are among the non-LPGA players teeing it up this week.

Important Update - Ariya Jutanugarn has injured her shoulder.
Click here for complete story.

Here are the television times:
Jun 6 - GC 12:30 PM-3:00 PM EST
Jun 7 - GC 12:30 PM-3:00 PM EST
Jun 8 - GC 3:00 PM-7:00 PM EST
Jun 9 - GC 3:00 PM-7:00 PM EST

Here are the pairings for rounds three and four.

Here are my Pak Picker picks for this week (my awful picking last week has dropped me in a tie for 2nd place in a 19 player field):

1- Stacy Lewis
2- Paula Creamer
3- Christie Kerr
4- Na Yeon Choi
5- Suzann Pettersen
6- Caroline Hedwall
7- Karrie Webb
8- Shanshan Feng
9- Gerina Piller
10- So Yeon Ryu
11- Jiyai Shin
12- Ai Miyazato 

Other Tidbits:
Jessica Korda has shot in the 60's in 53% of her rounds, which leads the LPGA tour.
Lexi Thompson (18) and Giulia Sergas (16) had their consecutive cuts made streak come to an end.

Titleholders Update:
Jenny Shin, Jeong Jang, and Chie Arimura are the latest to qualify. Azahara Munoz continues to be the highest ranked player on the LPGA Priority List not yet to qualify.

Rolex Movers of the Week:
Karrie Webb grabbed her winner's trophy and moved from #12 to #8. Hee Young Park's 3rd place finish enabled her to jump from #42 to #31. Gerina Piller, who finished 5th, continued her assault on a Solheim Cup position by moving from # 62 to #56. Michelle Wie moved a step closer to mediocrity by moving from #100 to #92.

Who's Hot:
Paula Creamer's top 20 streak continues. She has not finished worse than 17th in her last 9 tournaments.
Karrie Webb is a step behind Paula with 8 consecutive top 18 finishes.

Who's Not:
Sophie Gustufson has missed 5 consecutive cuts. She has now missed seven this year. Her best finish is a tie for 63rd.

Update. Final Scores:
1x-Inbee Park-5F
2Catriona Matthew-5F
3Suzann Pettersen-4F
3Morgan Pressel-4F
5Amy Yang-3F
5Chella Choi-3F
5Sun Young Yoo-3F
5Jiyai Shin-3F
9Shanshan Feng-2F
9Michelle Wie-2F
9Na Yeon Choi-2F
12Anna Nordqvist-1F
12Cristie Kerr-1F
12Caroline Masson-1F
15Ai MiyazatoEF
15Kristy McPhersonEF
17a-Lydia Ko+1F
17Brittany Lincicome+1F

For full leaderboard see link on top of this page.

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