Tuesday, June 25, 2013

U.S. Open Preview & Pairings

Before I get started with the preview of the LPGA's biggest major tournament, let me congratulate Inbee Park for winning the Walmart NW Arkansaw Championship in a playoff over So Yeon Ryu. It was Inbee's 5th win of the season, and her 2nd consecutive victory via the playoff route. Inbee has clearly established herself as the number one player on the planet.

This week the tour moves to New York for the playing of the United States Open. This will be the third of five major championships on the schedule this year, and generally regarded by the players, press, and fans, as the most prestigious.

This is tournament #15 of 28 on this year's schedule and will mark the beginning of the second half of the season. The LPGA will have their final player reshuffle at tournament's end.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Sebonack Golf Club
Location:  Southampton, N.Y.
Defending Champion:  Na Yeon Choi
Winning Score:  71-72-65-73 = (281) (-7)

Final Field:  156 players
Par:  35/37=72
Yardage:  6,827
Purse:  $3,250,000

My strength of field rating is 88%, making it the strongest field of the year.

Here are the television times:
Jun 27 - ESPN2 3:00 PM-7:00 PM EST
Jun 28 - ESPN2 3:00 PM-7:00 PM EST
Jun 29 - NBC 3:00 PM-6:00 PM EST
Jun 30 - NBC 3:00 PM-6:00 PM EST

Here are my picks for this week's major championship:
1- Suzann Pettersen
2- Paula Creamer
3- Inbee Park
4- Jessica Korda
5- Na Yeon Choi
6- Jiyai Shin
7- Stacy Lewis
8- Shanshan Feng
9- Karrie Webb
10- Lydia Ko
11- Cristie Kerr
12- Catriona Matthew

Here are the Pairings for the first 2 rounds.
Other Tidbits:
Paula Creamer made the cut last week for the 55th consecutive time. She now is tied with Karrie Webb for the LPGA lead.

Victoria Elizabeth made her first cut in an LPGA event last week, it was on her tenth try.

Jenny Lee became the first LPGA member to miss 10 cuts this year.

Pancake Rises:
Brooke Pancake jumped 145 places in the Rolex Rankings this week, moving from #461 to #315. Meanwhile inside the top 100, Chie Arimura made the most important move jumping from #32 to #26. On the downside, Yani Tseng drops yet another spot to #7.

Titleholders Update:
Brooke Pancake battered her way into the CME Titleholders Championship. She was joined by Juli Inkster and Brittany Lang. Azahara Munoz remains the highest ranked member of the LPGA Priority List yet to qualify.

Who's Hot:
Shanshan Feng has finished in the top 20, six consecutive times. Lydia Ko has finished in the top 25 in all five of her starts, with three top tens.

Who's Not:
Candie Kung's best finish in her last 9 tournaments, is a tie for 44th.

Here are the final results:
1 Inbee Park -8
2 In-Kyung Kim -4
3 So Yeon Ryu -1
T4 Paula Creamer +1
T4 Angela Stanford +1
T4 Jodi Ewart Shadoff +1
T7 Brittany Lang +2
T7 Jessica Korda +2
T9 Shanshan Feng +3
T9 Brittany Lincicome +3

For all the scores see the LPGA scoreboard link on top of page.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Preview & Pairings

After a one week break, the LPGA resumes its schedule this week with the playing of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G.

Another strong field will be teeing it up, this time in the state of Arkansas. My strength of field rating is a solid 81%. Nineteen of the top 20 players on the LPGA Priority List, and 17 of the top 20 players on the Rolex Rankings will be in attendance.

This tournament will mark the completion of the first half of the season. This will be tournament #14 of 28 to be played this year, and is a 54 hole event.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Pinnacle Country Club
Location:  Rogers, Arkansas
Defending Champion:  Ai Miyazato
Winning Score:  68-68-65=201 (-12)

Final Field:  144 players
Par:  36/35=71
Yardage:  6,389
Purse: $2,000,000

The three big names missing from this week's tournament are Karrie Webb, Jessica Korda and Lexi Thompson.

Here are the television times:
Jun 21 - GC 6:30 PM-8:30 PM EST
Jun 22 - GC 5:00 PM-7:00 PM EST
Jun 23 - GC 5:00 PM-7:00 PM EST

Here are my picks for this week's tournament:
1- Stacy Lewis
2- Inbee Park
3- Suzann Pettersen
4- Catriona Matthew
5- Jiyai Shin
6- Paula Creamer
7- Cristie Kerr
8- Amy Yang
9- Mika Miyazato
10- So Yeon Ryu
11- Hee Kyung Seo
12- Na Yeon Choi

Other Tidbits:
The Wegmans LPGA Championship was not kind to current LPGA cut streaks. Karina Icher (20), Lizette Salas (19), So Yeon Ryu (17), Jodi Ewart Shadoff (15), and Hee Kyung Seo (15), all missed the cut.

Rolex Movers of the Week:
With no tournament last week, the most significant move by an LPGA player was So Yeon Ryu moving up a spot to #5. Yani Tseng was the victim of Ryu's good fortune. Yani slipped yet another spot to #6.

Warming Up?
Michelle Wie has finished in the top 10 in the last two tournaments.

Ice Cold:
Eun Jung Yi has missed the cut in her last 8 tournaments.

Here are the final results:
1x-Inbee Park-12F
1So Yeon Ryu-12F
3Mika Miyazato-11F
4a-Lydia Ko-10F
4In-Kyung Kim-10F
4Stacy Lewis-10F
7Suzann Pettersen-9F
7Paula Creamer-9F
7Chie Arimura-9F
7Beatriz Recari-9F
11Haeji Kang-8F
11Ai Miyazato-8F
13Shanshan Feng-7F
13Brittany Lang-7F
13Brooke Pancake-7F
13Juli Inkster-7F

For complete results see link on top of this page.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Stats & Facts - Volume 14

The LPGA is taking a break this week before moving on to Arkansas for the playing of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G. That tournament will mark the halfway point in the season.

I think now is a good time to look at some of the key statistics and notes covering the first 13 tournaments:

Rolex Player of the Year Standings:  (winner receives a Hall of Fame point)
1-  Inbee Park - 131 points
2-  Suzann Pettersen - 87
3-  Stacy Lewis - 85
4-  Jiyai Shin - 57
5-  Karrie Webb - 54
6-  Cristie Kerr - 46
6-  Beatriz Recari - 46
8-  So Yeon Ryu - 43
9-  Ilhee Lee - 39
10- Catriona Matthew - 39

Vare Tropy: (winner receives a Hall of Fame point)
1- Stacy Lewis - 69.830 average strokes per round
2- Inbee Park - 69.846
3- Na Yeon Choi - 70.205
4- Suzann Pettersen - 70.306
5- Jiyai Shin - 70.326
6- Lizette Salas - 70.463
7- Karrie Webb - 70.488
8- Jessica Korda - 70.525
9- Beatriz Recari - 70.696
10- Paula Creamer - 70.795

Rolex Rookie of the Year Standings: 
1- Moriya Jutanugarn - 313 points
2- Caroline Masson - 264
3- Ayako Uehara - 171
4- Chie Arimura - 159
5- Lisa McCloskey - 100
6- Austin Ernst - 82
7- Katie Burnett - 74

Most Consecutive Tournaments Without a Missed Cut:
1- Karrie Webb - 55
2- Paula Creamer - 54
3- Jiyai Shin - 47
4- Beatriz Recari - 45
5- Na Yeon Choi - 44

Most Consecutive Missed Cuts: (actively playing)
1- Victoria Elizabeth - 9
2- Eun Jung Yi - 8
3- Numa Gulyanamitta - 7
3- Brooke Pancake - 7
3- Marina Stuetz - 7
6- Hannah Yun - 6
7- Esther Choe - 5
7- Sophie Gustafson - 5
7- Amy Hung - 5
7- Taylore Karl - 5
7- Felicity Johnson - 5

Most Top 5 Finishes:
1- Ariya Jutanugarn - 5
1- Inbee Park - 5
1- Suzann Pettersen - 5
4- Stacy Lewis - 4
5- Eight players tied with - 3

Most Top 10 Finishes:
1- Stacy Lewis - 8
2- Inbee Park - 6
3- Ariya Jutanugarn - 5
3- I.K. Kim - 5
3- Na Yeon Choi - 5
3- Suzann Pettersen - 5
7- Four players tied with -4

Most Top 20 Finishes:
1- Paula Creamer - 9
1- Stacy Lewis - 9
3- Na Yeon Choi - 8
4- Four players tied with - 7

Most Wins By Country:
1- South Korea - 6
2- United States - 4
3- Spain - 1
4- Norway - 1
5- Australia - 1

U.S. Solheim Cup Standings: (Top 8 will qualify on points)
1- Stacy Lewis - 783.5 points
2- Cristie Kerr - 478.5
3- Paula Creamer - 420
4- Angela Stanford - 297
5- Brittany Lincicome - 230
6- Lexi Thompson - 205.5
7- Jessica Korda - 190.5
8- Lizette Salas - 168
9- Brittany Lang - 167.5**
10- Morgan Pressel 158.5 **
11- Jennifer Johnson - 153.5
12- Michelle Wie - 151.5
13- Gerina Piller - 150

** Would qualify as of today via the Rolex Rankings.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Rating the Rookies 2013 - Part 1

With the LPGA season about 50% complete (13 of 28 tournaments have been played), I would like to take a look at how the rookies are faring so far this year. I will do this again at the 75% mark and a final time at the end of the season. These ratings are strictly based on how they fared in LPGA events only. Any successes or failures on other tours are not considered here. My main objective here is to analyze the chances of these rookies retaining their LPGA cards next season. Ideally you would like to finish in the top 80 on the money list. That will guarantee you a priority list ranking good enough to compete in all full-field events. If you finish further down the money list you then have to worry about the top 10 ladies coming off the Symetra Tour, and qualifying school graduates getting to play ahead of you. If you finish in the top 100 on this year's money list, you will still play in most events next year. Further down the list than that, there are no guarantees about playing time. Let us see how they are doing so far.

In alphabetical order:

Marina Alex -  Because of her low priority list ranking, she has played in only 2 tournaments. Has not taken advantage of those chances as she missed the cut in both.  Grade Incomplete

Chie Arimura - My pick for rookie of the year, she has made me look bad for most of the season. Her 5th place finish at the Shoprite Classic has saved her season so far, with that being her only top 20 finish of the year. She joined the LPGA this year as a player already ranked # 19 in the world, with more than a dozen international career wins. Currently #4 in the rookie of the year race and #54 on the money list, her LPGA card would appear to be safe, but a disappointment so far this year nonetheless. Grade C+

Julia Boland - Julia has had plenty of chances this year, but has had very little success. She has missed 7 of 10 cuts and stands #8 in the Rookie of the Year race. Her best finish was a T24 at the Kingsmill Championship. Her current standing of #110 on the money list means she better turn it around quickly to avoid Q-school. Grade D

Frances Bondad - With only 3 starts because of her low priority ranking, she has failed to take advantage missing all 3 cuts. She must take advantage of any future starts or lose her card. Grade Incomplete

Katie Burnett - Katie is the perfect example of how you can succeed here even with a low priority ranking.
Katie did not get into any of the first 8 tournaments of the year. She took advantage of her first opportunity and finished T12 at the Kingsmill Championship. It could not have come at a better time for her as the priority list reshuffle took place after that tournament, moving her up into a position to now play regularly. She followed that up with a top 25 finish at the Mobile Bay Classic. Currently #7 in the ROY race, she has already moved up to #96 on the money list. A pleasant surprise. Grade C

Esther Choe - The 2012 Symetra Tour Player of the Year has been a monumental disappointment. Coming here with big expectations, she has yet to make a cut in any of her six starts.  Grade F

Perrine Delacour - Failed to make the cut in her only appearance.  Grade Incomplete

Brianna Do - Has not had a start yet this year. Grade Incomplete

Lauren Doughtie - A four year veteran of the Symetra Tour, Lauren finally got her playing card this year in a playoff at Q-School. She has teed it up almost every week this year, but has failed to make any sort of positive impression thus far. She has missed 7 of 10 cuts, with her best finish being a T43. Currently she is #11 in the ROY race, but more importantly sitting at #120 on the money list.  Grade D-

Paz Echeverria - She has teed it up 4 times this year, and unlike Ms. Burnett above, has failed to improve her status. Making only one cut, with that being a T34, her time is running out. She currently ranks # 140 on the money list. Grade D-

Victoria Elizabeth - Victoria finished in 3rd place last year on the Symetra Tour money list and came here with pretty high expectations. Her year so far has been nothing short of disastrous. She has played in 9 tournaments, and missed all nine cuts. Grade F

Breanna Elliot - Has only appeared in 2 tournaments this year, but has made the cut in both. Unfortunately her best finish this year of T42, has not netted her much money. Currently # 130 on the money list, she needs to not only make cuts but finish higher than she has. Grade Incomplete

Marita Engzelius - Missed the cut in both her starts. Grade Incomplete

Austin Ernst - A huge star at LSU and member of the 2012 U.S. Curtis Cup Team, Austin has entered the LPGA with very high expectations. So far we have seen mixed results. Currently 6th in ROY race, she has made 5 cuts in her 11 starts this season. She does have 2 finishes in the 20's, and 2 more in the 30's, showing us the talent is there. Her current ranking of #84 on the money list has put her in good position thus far for next year. Look for her to get better in the second half. Grade C

Jordan Hardy - Has made just one start this year, missing the cut. Grade Incomplete

Daniela Iacobelli - Has had many chances to impress this year but has failed to do so. Daniela has missed 8 of her 10 cuts, with her best finish a T29 at the RR Donnelly Founders Cup. Currently 117th on the money list, her results need to improve fast. Grade D

Kelly Jacques - Missed the cut in both her starts this year. Grade Incomplete

Felicity Johnson - With 2 victories and 10 L.E.T top tens. Felicity was supposed to be one of the strongest rookies of this 2013 crop. That hasn't happened. She has managed to make just 2 of 10 cuts, with her best finish a T65 at the North Texas Shootout. Currently #142 on this year's money list, Felicity might be headed back to the L.E.T sooner than expected. Grade F

Sara-Maude Juneau - There have been many opportunities for this Canadian to make her mark, but she has failed to be a factor in any tournament this year. Missing 7 of 10 cuts, with a best finish of T54, she must improve quickly if she wants to retain her playing card. Currently # 126 on the money list. Grade D-

Moriya Jutanugarn - Started out quickly with a 4th place finish at the ISPS Australian Open. A bunch of solid finishes after that put her so far in front in the ROY race that it appeared she would run away with it.  Only 1 top 20 in her last 6 starts has brought her back to the field. All in all she is still having a solid rookie season, has made 9 of 11 cuts, and is #33 on the money list. Her sister Ariya gets all the attention, and rightfully so, but Moriya is a very strong player also. Look for her to be a fixture on this tour for years to come. Grade A-

Taylore Karl - It has been a lost season so far for Taylore. She has missed 8 of 9 cuts, and the only cut she made she finished T71. Currently #149 on the money list, retaining her playing card is looking dismal. Grade F

Sue Kim - Sue has made the cut in 2 of the 3 tournaments she has been in this year. Her best finish was a T34 at the Mobile Bay Classic. Her low priority list rating will not get her into many more events. Currently #128 on the money list. Grade Incomplete

Jiayun Li, Inhong Lim & Alejandra Llaneza - Jiayun and Inhong have only played one tournament, and Alejandra has played in two. They have all failed to make a cut this year. Grade Incomplete

Caroline Masson - One of the top players on the L.E.T, Caroline came to the LPGA wearing the "can't miss" label on her back. Already ranked in the top 50 in the world, Caroline not only won on the L.E.T last year, but also had 3 runner up finishes. She has had a strange year so far. The downside is she has missed 6 of 10 cuts this year. The upside is the 4 times she has made the cut she has been on the weekend leader board, and finished in the top 15 each time. Currently #2, and closing in fast, in the ROY standings, Caroline sits at #52 on the money list. At 24 years of age she is a future star. Grade B+

Lisa McCloskey - A four time All-American at USC, and a member of the 2012 Curtis Cup Team, we all figured she might be a player to watch. Lisa has lived up to her billing making 6 of 10 cuts, and finishing T19 at the Mobile Bay Classic. She is currently #5 in the ROY race and # 80 on the money list. After a slow start that saw her miss 4 of her first 5 cuts, Lisa has turned it around making 5 consecutive cuts. Look for her to get stronger as the season progresses. Grade C+

Haley Milsap - Missed both cuts in the tournaments she has played in. Grade Incomplete

Kayla Mortellaro - Has not taken advantage of her playing time. Missing 7 of 10 cuts, with a best finish of T54 is not going to be good enough to play out here again next year. Currently #132 on the money list, time is running out. Grade D

Stephanie Na - One tournament, one missed cut. Grade Incomplete

Brooke Pancake - Accomplished about everything you could accomplish during her years at the University at Alabama, and with such an unforgettable name, how could you not root for this girl? The rooting has not helped. After making her first 2 cuts the wheels have come off, as she has now missed 7 cuts in a row. Has the talent to break out at any time (Sydney Michaels, after a similar start, broke out last year). Nonetheless she has disappointed mightily so far and must turn it around to avoid Q-School. She is currently # 137 on the money list. Grade D

Garrett Phillips - Missed the cut in her only tournament. Grade Incomplete

Nicole Smith - Played well on the Symetra tour last year with 5 top 10 finishes. She also led that tour in greens in regulation, hitting 75% of her greens. Unfortunately she has not brought any of that success to the LPGA. Missing 8 of 10 cuts, with a best finish of T54, her #144 ranking on the money list has her in real trouble. Grade D-

Marina Stuetz - Well my ROY pick (Chie Arimura), is certainly looking better than Judy Rankin's. Judy picked Marina at the beginning of the season and it's starting to look like a curse. Marina has played in 8 tournaments this year and missed 8 cuts. Grade F

Ayako Uehara - She entered this season as the #69 ranked player in the world, with 3 victories on the JLPGA. Coming from the same town as both Ai and Mika Miyazato, she has all the tools to succeed on the LPGA tour. She is currently #3 in the ROY standings, and would probably be higher if she played more tournaments. Ayaka has missed just one cut in 7 tournaments this year, with her best finish a T19 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Currently #62 on the money list, look for that to improve as she plays more. Grade B

Monday, June 10, 2013

It's Time For the U.S. Ladies to Step it Up.

I started writing about the LPGA a couple of years back. The fact that this blog has been as successful as it is (it has spent many weeks as the #1 golf blog on the Internet), is a tribute to the loyalty of the hard core LPGA fans. I am of the opinion that the LPGA is the best kept secret in the world of sports. All the girls are so incredibly cooperative with the fans. There is no other sport that you can go to where you are practically guaranteed of getting your favorite player's signature on any hat, ball, or whatever item you would like signed. The girls are always very fan friendly. I always urge everyone to go to a tournament. I feel that if they do, they will want to go back again and again.  My wife and I still have Ohio, St. Andrews, Scotland, and Edmonton to look forward to attending on this year's schedule. As you all can see, I never advertise on my blog, or make a single penny. My main objective here is to promote the LPGA, the game I truly love.

The problem I am having now is that love is turning into frustration. I can't understand why an American roster that includes such outstanding players as: Stacy Lewis, Paula Creamer, Cristie Kerr, Brittany Lincicome, Brittany Lang, Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, Angela Stanford, etc., can come up so small during the biggest of tournaments.

Inbee Park's win at the Wegman's LPGA Championship this past weekend was the ninth consecutive major championship won by an Asian player. Yes, read that again, that is 0 for 9 for the Americans in major championships. In fact Americans have won only 4 of the last 23 majors. That is completely unacceptable. They haven't done that well in total events this year either, winning only 4 of the first 13 tournaments on the schedule.

Here are the winners of the last 9 major tournaments:
2011 Wegmans LPGA Championship - Yani Tseng
2011 U.S. Open - So Yeon Ryu
2011 British Open - Yani Tseng
2012 Kraft Nabisco - Sun-Young Yoo
2012 Wegmans LPGA Championship - Shanshan Feng
2012 U.S. Open - Na Yeon Choi
2012 British Open - Jiyai Shin
2013 Kraft Nabisco - Inbee Park
2013 Wegmans LPGA Championship - Inbee Park

Where are the Americans?

Stacy Lewis - You are the last American to win a major but you haven't been  much of a factor since. As the highest ranked American player it is time for you to play that way in major championships.

Paula Creamer - I followed you at Oakmont for all 72 holes in 95 degree heat (31 holes on one sweltering hot day, because of rain the previous morning). It is time you gave me reason to do that again!

Lexi Thompson and Jessica Korda - Age is no longer an excuse. You are no longer the kids on the tour. That title now goes to Lydia Ko and Ariya Jutanugarn. Sure you are playing some pretty good golf out there this year (especially Jessica). Pretty good isn't good enough. You are our two best young players, it is time to get to the next level and win us a major championship!

Morgan Pressel - You played well this past weekend, it seems the wrist is finally healed, but the fact remains that Inbee tried to hand you the championship and you couldn't take it. Close is only good when throwing hand grenades or playing horseshoes.

Cristie, Angela, the Brittany's - You are all capable of winning the next major championship. Get out there and bring one home for us!

It is getting so that when watching television during a major championship there is hardly ever an American  on the leader board. In fact when I close my eyes at night I keep seeing South Korea's flag.

I know I have many Asian readers who follow this blog. You should be very proud of the way your ladies are performing. They handle themselves with grace and they are winning major championships. It sure must be fun for you to watch the LPGA these days. I must say I am extremely jealous.

That said, this is still an American based tour. If the LPGA is to continue to grow in the states, and television ratings are to continue to rise, it is important for the U.S. ladies to start winning. Stop complaining about the lack of tournaments here, and give your Commissioner a stronger product to sell here in the United States.
When Nancy Lopez was winning regularly a couple of decades ago, television ratings soared and the tour was very strong. Winning is what it is all about.

Some of the above words may seem harsh, but they are coming from probably the biggest LPGA fan on the planet. It is time for each and every one of you to take a step back and look in the mirror, and then ask yourself,  "Can I play better?" I am sure the answer is going to be a resounding yes!

Next week marks the halfway point in the season (tournament #14 of 28). There are still 3 major championships to be played, and of course the Solheim Cup. There is still time to turn this season around, but you must start now.

Other Tidbits:
Ai Miyazato is now 0-34 in major championships. Fortunately for her she will only have to wait a couple  more weeks for another chance.

Caroline Masson's strong finish at the Wegman's LPGA Championship has now put her right on the tail of Moriya Jutanugarn for the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award.

Titleholders Update:
Catriona Matthew, Morgan Pressel, and Amy Yang are the latest to qualify. Azahara Munoz remains the highest ranked player on the LPGA Priority List yet to qualify.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Suzann Pettersen jumps over Na Yeon Choi and moves from #4 to #3. Catriona Matthew leapfrogs from the #16 position to #12. Morgan Pressel made what could be the most important move of the week as her jump from # 68 to #46 would now qualify her for the Solheim Cup team via these rankings. Jennifer Johnson has been knocked out for now.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

First Round of Wegman's LPGA Championship Cancelled!

The second major championship of the year is not off to a great start. Play has been cancelled today due to heavy rain.

First and second round pairings will remain the same. A cut will be made at the conclusion of the second round on Saturday and officials intend to complete both the third and fourth rounds (36 holes) on Sunday.

Rain is also in the forecast for tomorrow, which would complicate things even further. According to one LPGA official, play could extend into Monday.

I will post any further updates at this location.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Ariya Jutanugarn Injures Shoulder During Practice Round

Seventeen year old Ariya Jutanugarn has injured her shoulder during Monday's practice round at the Wegman's LPGA Championship, and will have to withdraw. Ariya was playing a practice round with her older sister Moriya, when she fell down a hill after teeing off on the 12th hole.

Ariya who has finished in the top 5 in all 5 tournaments on the LPGA tour this year, certainly would have been one of the favorites.

I will post any further updates, at this location.

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.