Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Safeway Classic Presented By Coca-Cola


Let me start out by congratulating Lydia Ko for successfully defending her CN Canadian Open Championship. Lydia came out on top by five strokes over 2nd place finisher Karine Icher. Lydia also became the first player this year to defend a title. Some may have thought that last year may have been a fluke, no one is thinking that now.

Before I get to this week's subject I would like to say what a great time my wife and I have had following the LPGA this summer.  We have completed our summer travels after attending the Shoprite Classic in New Jersey, The Marathon Classic in Ohio, The British Open in St. Andrews, Scotland, and the CN Canadian Open in Edmonton. I have said it before and I will say it again, everyone should try to attend at least one tournament to see for themselves how friendly these ladies are. They are always willing to sign hats, balls, pictures, or whatever you may want signed. If you attend one tournament, you will be hooked and want to attend again.

I also want to give a special mention and thanks to Kelly Thesier and Meghan Flanagan who work very hard to fulfill the needs of the media. Your contributions week in and week out do not go unnoticed.

Here are some pictures and videos of some of the players I followed:
Lexi Thompson

Ryann O'Toole

video
Paula Creamer
video
                                                               Sydnee Michaels
                                                             
                                                                 
video
Lydia Ko


video
Kathleen Ekey

Now it's time to get on with this week's story. The LPGA moves to Portland, Oregon this week for the playing of the Safeway Classic Presented By Coca-Cola. This tournament expands to 72 holes this year.

This will be tournament #20 of 28 on the LPGA schedule this year.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Columbia Edgewater
Location:  Portland, Oregon
Defending Champion:  Mika Miyazato
Winning Score:  65-68-70= 203 (-13)

Final Field:   144 Players
Par:  36/36 = 72
Yardage:  6,465
Purse:  $1,300,000

My strength of field rating is 70% making it the 4th weakest field of the year. Thirty-two of the top 40 on the LPGA Priority List will be in attendance. The missing include: Inbee Park, So Yeon Ryu, Shanshan Feng, Catriona Matthew, Brittany Lincicome, Hee Kyung Seo, Karine Icher, Haiji Kang, Jessica Korda, Caroline Hedwall, Mindy Kim, and Ayaka Uehara.

Here are the television times:
Aug 29 - GC 5:30 PM-8:30 PM ET
Aug 30 - GC 6:30 PM-8:30 PM ET
Aug 31 - GC 6:30 PM-8:30 PM ET

Sep 1 -   GC 7:00 PM-9:30 PM ET

Here are my picks for this week's tournament:
1- Suzann Pettersen
2- I.K. Kim
3- Paula Creamer
4- Stacy Lewis
5- Na Yeon Choi
6- Hee Young Park
7- Mika Miyazato
8- Jiyai Shin
9- Ai Miyazato
10- Lexi Thompson
11- Carlotta Ciganda
12- Karrie Webb

Here are the Pairings for the first 2 rounds:

For all the scores, all the time, see the link on top of this page.

Other Tidbits:
The first round of LPGA Qualifying School is underway. Use this link for results.

Karrie Webb who had made 57 consecutive cuts, has now missed 2 in a row.

Beatriz Recari who had her cut streak halted at 46, has now missed 3 of her last 4. The one cut she made was a victory at the Marathon Classic.

Titleholders Update:
Lydia Ko, Stacy Prammanasudh, and Caroline Masson are the latest to qualify. Azahara Munoz remains the highest ranked player yet to qualify.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Lydia Ko leaps from # 19 to #7, and Karine Icher jumps from #24 to #20.

Who's Hot:
Paula Creamer has finished in the top 11 in 6 of her last 7 events. She leads the tour with 14 top 20 finishes, and has made 60 straight cuts, which also leads the tour.

Who's Not:
Julia Sergas has failed to finish higher than T44 in her last 8 appearances, with 6 missed cuts.
Azahara Munoz has failed to finish higher than T30 in her last 8 events.
In 13 appearances this year, Se Ri Pak has yet to have a top 10 finish.

Here are the final results:
1 Suzann Pettersen -20 F
2 Stacy Lewis -18 F
3 Lizette Salas -17 F
4 Cristie Kerr -16 F
5 Caroline Masson -15 F
6 Gerina Piller -14 F
6 Sandra Gal -14 F
8 Karrie Webb -13 F
9 Dewi Claire Schreefel -12 F
9 Lexi Thompson -12 F
9 Austin Ernst -12 F
9 Sandra Changkija -12 F
9 Pornanong Phatlum -12 F
9 Yani Tseng -12 F
15 Ai Miyazato -11 F
15 Sun Young Yoo -11 F
15 Heather Bowie Young -11 F
15 Jiyai Shin -11 F
15 Na Yeon Choi -11 F
15 Beatriz Recari -11 F
15 Angela Stanford -11 F
15 Anna Nordqvist -11 F
For complete scoreboard see link on top of this page.



Tuesday, August 20, 2013

CN Canadian Women's Open Preview & Pairings

The LPGA moves to Canada this week with the playing of the CN Canadian Women's Open.
This will be tournament #19 of 28 on this year's schedule.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Royal Mayfair Golf Club
Location:  Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Defending Champion:  Lydia Ko
Winning Score:  68-68-72-67=275 (-13)

Final Field:  156 Players
Par:  72
Yardage:  Not currently stated
Purse:  $2,000,000

My strength of field rating is a very high 83%, which makes it the 3rd strongest non major championship of the year. Nineteen of the top 20 Rolex Ranked players are in the field, as well as 39 of the top 40 players on the LPGA Priority List. The biggest names missing from the field are: Hee Kyung Seo, Lizette Salas, Jennifer Johnson, and Ayaka Uehara.

Here are the pairings for the first 2 rounds.

Here are the final results:
1 a-Lydia Ko -15 F
2 Karine Icher -10 F
3 Brittany Lincicome -9 F
3 Caroline Hedwall -9 F
5 Stacy Prammanasudh -8 F
5 In-Kyung Kim -8 F
7 Caroline Masson -7 F
7 Suzann Pettersen -7 F
9 Gerina Piller -6 F
10 Jessica Korda -5 F
10 Jodi Ewart Shadoff -5 F
10 Paula Creamer -5 F
For full leaderboard see link on top of this page.

Here are the television times:
Aug 22 - GC 6:30 PM-8:30 PM ET
Aug 23 - GC 12:30 AM-2:30 AM ET
Aug 24 - GC 5:00 PM-7:00 PM ET
Aug 25 - GC 4:00 PM-6:00 PM ET

Here are my picks for this week's tournament:
1- Stacy Lewis
2- Na Yeon Choi
3- Lydia Ko
4- So Yeon Ryu
5- Suzann Pettersen
6- Paula Creamer
7- Inbee Park
8- I.K. Kim
9- Jessica Korda
10- Jiyai Shin
11- Shanshan Feng
12- Ai Miyazato

My wife & I will be at this tournament, and I hope to be able to post photos at a later date.
Be sure to check back here daily for any important updates and results.





Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Solheim Cup Preview

We are just a few days away from the playing of the Solheim Cup, which will be held in Parker Colorado. The U.S. team will be trying to take back the cup they lost in 2011 by a 15-13 score. Just 2 years later, the teams have a very different look. Let's take a look at the 2013 rosters.

United States
1- Christie Kerr - With the absence of Julie Inkster, Christie is now the veteran on this team. This will be her 7th appearance. Her past performances in Solheim Cup play have been mediocre at best. Her record in singles play matches is 1-4-1, while her overall record is 11-12-3.

2- Paula Creamer - This will be Paula's 5th appearance, and her past results have been nothing short of spectacular. A player that rises to the occasion more times than not, her overall record is 11-3-5, which includes a 3-1-0 mark in singles play.

3- Angela Stanford - This will also be Angela's 5th appearance. Her record of 3-7-3 is by far the worst of any player on the current team. She will have to play much better than that, to bring the cup back to the U.S.

4- Morgan Pressel - Morgan has been playing her best golf in quite a while over the last several weeks. This will be her 4th SC appearance. Known for coming through in clutch situations, she carries a 7-2-2 record into this year's event. She is also undefeated in singles matches with a 3-0-0 record.

5- Brittany Lincicome - Brittany has been playing poorly for over a year now. Her 4-6-1 record in her first 3 appearances, which includes 1-2-0 in singles matches, tells me she might be a weak link. Look for captain Meg Mallon to play her only once a day.

6- Brittany Lang - Brittany will be making her third SC appearance. She brings a 2-3-2 record to this event. A streaky player, Brittany needs to step up and contribute some key points this year.

7- Michelle Wie - She would not have been my pick, as her play over the last 2 years has been mediocre at best. That doesn't mean she doesn't have the ability to step up and be a big factor. She has done it before, as her 4-3-1 record would attest.

8- Stacy Lewis - Stacy is currently the #2 ranked player in the world, and without a doubt the Americans' best player. Her first SC in 2011 was quite awful. Her overall record was 1-3-0, and lost her very important singles match on Sunday. The question here is can she join Paula and Morgan as the backbone of this team? Look for her to do just that.

9- Lizette Salas - One of four SC rookies, Lizette's play has been somewhat of a pleasant surprise. She has not played well on Sundays when she has had a chance to win. How she will hold up under pressure of which she has never experienced before, remains to be seen. A real wild card.

10- Lexi Thompson - Lexi becomes the youngest player ever to play on an American SC team. One of the real bright young stars on the LPGA, look for her to hold her own and then some.

11- Jessica Korda - In spite of a bad wrist, Jessica has played well all year. Has all the skills to dominate an opponent. A real dark horse here, I look for Jessica to pick up some vital points for the U.S. team.

12- Gerina Piller - A very deserving captain's pick, Gerina has 5 top ten finishes this year. Like Lizette Salas, only time will tell how she stands up to the intense pressure.

Gone from the 2011 team: Ryann O'Toole, Christina Kim, Vicki Hurst, Juli Inkster.
Replaced with: Lizette Salas, Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda,  Gerina Piller.

Europe:
1- Suzann Pettersen - The best player on the European team, Suzann led her team to victory in 2011. This will be her 7th SC appearance, and she has a very impressive 12-8-5 record. She is only 1-3-2 in singles play. Needs to be the leader both on and off the course if Europe is to have any chance to retain the cup.

2- Catriona Matthew - Catriona will also be making her 7th SC appearance. Not as vocal or flashy as Suzann, all she does is get the job done. She has been almost unbeatable in singles play with a 5-1 record. Overall her record is a healthy 12-7-6.

3- Anna Nordqvist - Anna has a 4-4-0 record in her first 2 SC outings. She has yet to win a singles match.
A very streaky player, she will have to perform better this year.

4- Azahara Munoz- Azahara has not played well all year. She did play well in her first SC experience in 2011, posting a 2-1-1 record and winning her singles match. Like Brittany Lincicome on the American team, she might be a reason for concern.

5- Karine Icher - Karine did not fair very well in her first SC appearance, going 1-2 and losing her singles match. A very solid player, she can be a difference maker if she plays up to her capabilities.

6- Caroline Hedwall - Caroline played well in her first SC appearance in 2011, posting a 2-1-1 mark. She also won a very important point in singles competition. She needs a repeat performance this year to keep her team in contention.

7- Beatriz Recari - One of 6 rookies on this year's European team, Beatriz has won twice already this year on the LPGA. Has developed into a very solid player. Has been in quite a few pressure situations this year, so don't expect her to crack.

8- Jodi Ewert-Shadoff - Quietly having a fine season, Jodi will feel pressure of which she has never experienced before. Can she hold up? Time will tell.

9, 10, 11 - Giulia Sergas, Carlotta Ciganda, Caroline Masson - All good players who have had some success on the LPGA tour this year. These players are all SC rookies and need to play beyond expectations for team Europe to be successful.

12- Charlie Hull - At 17 years old, Charlie will be the youngest SC player ever. A very talented player, but lacks experience. Expect her to play just once a day.

Gone from 2011 team: Sophie Gustafson, Christel Boeljon, Laura Davies, Mel Reid, Maria Hjorth, Karen Stupples, Sandra Gal

Replaced with: Carlotta Ciganda, Beatriz Recari, Caroline Masson, Jodi Ewart-Shadoff, Giulia Sergas, Karine Icher, Charlie Hull.

Prediction:

The U.S. team will take back the cup by a score of 15 1/2 to 12 1/2. Here are the reasons why:

1- The U.S players are much more experienced, as their players have a combined total of 43 previous SC wins to 32 for Europe. Six European rookies will be too much for them to overcome.

2- Although this European team is very solid, it will have a hard time making up for Sophie Gustafson's 4-0-0 record in 2011.

3- The thin air in Colorado will be a blessing for the long hitters. The European team can not match the length of the likes of Thompson, Korda, Lincicome, Wie and Piller.

4- The U.S. has never lost as host of a Solheim Cup event. Look for it to stay that way.

Be sure to check back here daily, for updates and results.

Update #1 - Here are the Friday morning pairings. (Europe leads 3-1))
Update #2 - Here are the Friday afternoon pairings (Europe Now Leads 5-3)
Update #3 - Here are Saturday morning pairings     (Europe now leads 6 1/2 - 5 1/2)
Update #4 - Here are Saturday afternoon pairings.  (Europe now leads 10 1/2 - 5 1/2)
Update #5 - Here are Sundays Singles pairings
Other LPGA Tidbits

Karrie Webb's amazing cut streak came to an abrupt end at the British Open. She had made 57 consecutive cuts. Paula Creamer leads the tour with 59.

Stacy Lewis's British Open victory was her 12th top ten finish of the year. No one else has more than eight.

Yani Tseng has now missed 4 cuts in a row, and has fallen all the way down to #14 in the Rolex Rankings.

Ai Miyazato will have only one more chance this year to get that elusive first major championship victory. She is currently 0 for 36.

Titleholders Update:
Natalie Gulbis, Nicole Castrale, and Pernilla Lindberg are the latest to qualify. Azahara Munoz remains the highest ranked player yet to qualify.






Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The St. Andrews Photo Gallery


Let me start by saying congratulations to Stacy Lewis for winning the 2013 Ricoh British Open, played on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Stacy birdied the final 2 holes to win by 2 strokes over Na Yeon Choi and Hee Young Park. Choi, who had a 3 stroke lead on the back nine, bogeyed 3 of the last 6 holes. Stacy's approach shot on the 17th hole, which set up her birdie, will be remembered for a very long time. After the tournament Stacy would say that it was the best shot of her life. Considering the circumstances, I couldn't agree more.

My wife & I arrived in St. Andrews on the Sunday morning before the tournament. We decided to check out the golf course about 9:30 PM that night. We parked our car and walked onto the "Old Course".
I was surprised to see that there was no security and that anyone could walk onto what I consider the most beautiful golf course I have ever seen. I walked behind the 18th green and looked out at the fairway. I pictured Jack Nicklaus walking up to the green to a standing ovation. I could never explain the feeling I got standing there. You would have to experience it yourself. I do know that many of the people I spoke to there, got that very same feeling.

Trying to describe this incredible place, and the village that is within walking distance, would be impossible. I hope you will enjoy these pictures.


Late Sunday night

Just a very small part of this very large village.

The village from a seat on a tour bus.
We spent way too much money here.

How is this for a view of the first tee?

A typical fairway

Ai Miyazato


With the vicious winds, the approach shot to the first green was very wet. There were many double bogeys.
                                                            

The view from the 18th fairway.
The most famous bridge in golf. The 17th hole, known as the road hole.

Paula Creamer showing off that great smile.

Carly Booth  at  the pretournament press conference.
The British Golf Museum, just yards away from the first tee.

Stay out of these bunkers or pay a severe price.

A well deserved victory for Stacy Lewis.

                                                               VIDEOS:


                                           video                                                                                                  So Yeon Ryu on the 18th hole.

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                                    Sydnee Michaels, just before wind caused suspension of play.

                                      video
 They provided entertainment during suspension of play. I couldn't keep my camera still in the high winds.


                                      video
                    A view from the tour bus. As you can see the village is within walking range of the course.