Monday, October 28, 2013

What in the World Has Happened to Yani Tseng?

The 2013 LPGA season has brought us lots of surprises. We have had first time winners. We have had winners from 7 different countries. Five Major Championships were played for the first time, with one player (Inbee Park) winning 3 of them. We have even had 4 players win multiple championships this year. However the biggest surprise to date has to be the tumble taken by Yani Tseng.

Yani started the 2013 season ranked as the #1 player in the world. In fact, at one point during the 2011 season, the #2 ranked player in the world (Na Yeon Choi), was closer to the 180th Rolex ranked player than she was to Yani at #1. It seemed Yani would be number one forever.

Let us look at some of her accomplishments:

In 2008, at the age of 19, Yani won the LPGA Championship.
In 2009, Yani became the fastest player in LPGA history to reach $2 million in career earnings. She did it in only 32 events.
In 2010 Yani won 3 times, including 2 more championships.
In 2011 Yani won 7 times, including 2 more major championships.
In 2012 Yani won 3 more times.

Yani was the Rookie of the Year in 2008.
Yani was the LPGA Rolex Player of the Year in 2010 and 2011.
Yani won the Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average in 2011.
Yani has 23 Hall of Fame points. Just 4 short of entry.

Quite a resume for someone that is just 24 years of age.

What we didn't expect was what has happened in the last 18 months. Yani has not only fell from her # 1 spot in the rankings, but is currently ranked #26. No that is not a mistake, she is #26. Yani has failed to win in her last 42 tournaments. Worse than that she has been in contention in very few. You almost never see her name anywhere near the leaderboard.

Let us look at some comparisons of today's Yani as compared to her 2011 final stats:

                                                      2013 Ranking               2011 Ranking  

Money List                                            36                                     1
Driving Distance                                    4                                      1
Driving Accuracy                                 140                                   85
Greens In Regulation                            70                                     2
Putts Per Greens In Regulation            21                                     5
Scoring Average                                   35                                     1
Rounds Under Par                                44                                     1
Birdies                                                   26                                     1
Rounds In The 60's                               39                                     1
Player of the Year Ranking                   28                                     1

Those statistics have all come from the Official LPGA website.

Now here are some more stats that I compiled myself:
                               
                                               2013             2011

Wins                                           0                    7
Top 10 Finishes                         4                   14
Top 20 Finishes                         5                   17
Finishes Worse than 40th         12                   1
Rounds shot of 75 or worse      15                   3
Rounds over 80                          3                    0
Missed Cuts                                6                   1
Rolex Ranking                           26                   1

Quite an amazing difference. They look like statistics from 2 different players. As noted above Yani has 23 Hall of Fame points and needs just 4 more to qualify. The problem is, she has been stuck on that number for nearly 2 years now.

At 24, Yani still has plenty of time to turn it back around, but haven't we been saying that about Michelle Wie? Yani has stated that she is healthy, so that is not the problem. There seems to be no explanation for this unexpected fall.

I would like to hear any opinions my readers might have.




Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship Preview & Pairings


Congratulations goes out to Amy Yang for becoming a first time LPGA winner. Amy won the LPGA KEB. Hanabank Championship, in a very exciting playoff over Hee Kyung Seo. We have been saying for quite sometime that Amy was the best player on tour who had yet to win. We can say that no more. I am now giving that designation to Chella Choi.

The LPGA moves to Taiwan this week for the playing of the Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship.
This is the fourth stop of  five tournaments to be played in Asia over a six week period.

This is tournament #25 of 28 on the 2013 LPGA schedule.

Here are the Key Details:

Course: Sunrise Golf & Country Club
Where:  Yang Mei, Taoyuan, Taiwan
Defending Champion:  Suzann Pettersen
Winning Score:  69-65-66-69 = 269 (-19)

Final Field:  79 Players
Par:  36/36=72
Yardage:  6,390
Purse:  $ 2,000,000

My strength of field rating is only 54.5% (only 2 tournaments this year have been lower). Ten of the top 20 players in the Rolex Rankings, and 8 of the top 20 players on the LPGA Priority List are not in attendance. Missing this week include: Stacy Lewis, Jiyai Shin, So Yeon Ryu, Shanshan Feng, Karrie Webb, Cristie Kerr, Amy Yang, Angela Stanford, Brittany Lincicome, Sandra Gal, I.K. Kim, Jessica Korda, Natalie Gulbis, Morgan Pressel, Lizette Salas, Jodi Ewart Shadoff, Momoko Ueda, Ayaka Uehara, and Chie Arimura.

Here are the television times:
Oct 24 - GC 12:00 PM-3:00 PM ET
Oct 25 - GC 12:00 PM-3:00 PM ET
Oct 26 - GC 12:00 PM-3:00 PM ET
Oct 27 - GC 12:00 PM-3:00 PM ET 

Taiwan is 12 hours ahead of East Coast time. I will not post results until after we have had a chance to watch the TV coverage later on in the day.

For those who want to see the scores live, the LPGA link at the top of this page will always bring you the latest scores.

Here are my picks for this week's tournament.
1- Suzann Pettersen
2- Na Yeon Choi
3- Lexi Thompson
4- Anna Nordqvist
5- Inbee Park
6- Yani Tseng
7- Paula Creamer
8- Beatriz Recari
9- Caroline Hedwall
10- Chella Choi
11- Hee Young Park
12- Ai Miyazato
Through the first 24 tournaments of the year, I rank second among the 23 participants in the Pac Picker Standings.

Here are the first round pairings:

Other Tidbits:
Chella Choi, Brittany Lang, Julieta Granada, Katherine Hull-Kirk, and Mina Harigae are the only players on tour to play all 25 tournaments this year.

Hard to Believe Stat of the Week:
Katherine Hull-Kirk had the biggest fall of any 3rd round leader this year. Katherine was tied for the lead entering the final round this past weekend, but a final round 80 landed her in a tie for 32nd place.

Titleholders Update:
Eun-Hee Ji, Ayaka Uehara, and Candie Kung are the latest to qualify. With just 2 more chances before the Titleholders Championship, Azahara Munoz remains the highest ranked player not to qualify.

Rolex Movers of the Week:
Amy Yang's victory propelled her from #27 to #18. Hee Kyung Seo jumps from # 54 to #37, while Michelle Wie's top three finish moves her from #80 to #64. Once again the most important fall went to Yani Tseng who drops from #22 to #25.

Who's Hot:
Suzann Pettersen is on fire! She has now finished in the top 3 in her last 4 tournaments. She has an amazing 9 top 3 finishes this year.

Who's Not:
Azahara Munoz has failed to have a top 15 finish in her last 13 tournaments.
Julieta Granada's best finish in her last 9 tournaments is a tie for 57th.


Here are the Final Results:
1Suzann Pettersen-9F
2Azahara Munoz-4F
3Caroline Hedwall-2F
4Eun-Hee Ji-1F
5Mina HarigaeEF
5Se Ri PakEF
5Irene ChoEF
8Mi Jung Hur+1F
8Beatriz Recari+1F
8Sun Young Yoo+1F
For complete leaderboard see the link on top of this page.




Monday, October 14, 2013

LPGA KEB. Hanabank Championship preview & Pairings




Congratulations goes out to Lexi Thompson, who soundly thrashed the playing field at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia Championship. For 18 year old Lexi, it was her 2nd LPGA victory and 3rd victory overall (she has an LET victory in Dubai). If Lexi can continue putting at a reasonable rate, she will be someone to reckon with week in and week out.

The LPGA moves to South Korea this week for the playing of the LPGA HEB. Hanabank Championship. This is the third of five consecutive tournaments to be played in Asia. This is a 3 day tournament with 54 holes scheduled.

This is tournament #24 of 28 on the 2013 LPGA schedule.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Sky 72 Golf Club, Ocean Course
Where:  Incheon, South Korea
Defending Champion:  Suzann Pettersen
Winning Score:  63-68-74 = 205 (-11)

Final Field:  78 Players
Par 36/36=72
Yardage:  6,364
Purse:  $1,900,000

My Strength of field rating is 69.5%. Only four tournaments this year have been ranked lower. Although many top name players are missing from the field, their are eleven non LPGA players from South Korea that are in the top 80 of the Rolex Rankings, which did bring the field rating up. The missing players this week include: Stacy Lewis, Ai Miyazato, Mika Miyazato, Shanshan Feng, Karrie Webb, Angela Stanford, Juli Inkster, Hee-Won Han, and Momoko Ueda.

Here are the television times:
Oct 18 - GC 11:00 AM-2:00 PM ET
Oct 19 - GC 11:00 AM-2:00 PM ET
Oct 20 - GC 11:00 AM-2:00 PM ET

South Korea is 12 hours ahead of East Coast time. I will not post results until after we have had a chance to watch the TV coverage later on in the day.
For those who want to see the scores live, the LPGA link at the top of this page will always bring you the latest scores.

Here are my picks for this week's tournament:
1- So Yeon Ryu
2- Lexi Thompson
3- Suzann Pettersen
4- Inbee Park
5- Catriona Matthew
6- Paula Creamer
7- Na Yeon Choi
8- I.K. Kim
9- Chella Choi
10- Jessica Korda
11- Amy Yang
12- Hee Young Park

Here are the first round pairings.


Other Tidbits:
Beatriz Recari's T6 finish last weekend was her 8th top ten finish this year. Only Stacy Lewis (16), Suzann Pettersen (12), and Inbee Park (9) have more.

Paula Creamer is having a very strange year. On the upside, she has made a tour high 62 consecutive cuts. On the downside, she has not won. On the upside, she has finished in the top five four times this year. Also on the upside, she has finished in the top 20 a total of 16 times this year, which is just one behind Stacy Lewis for the tour lead. On the downside, only 5 of those top twenties resulted in top  ten finishes.

Rolex Movers of the Week:
Lexi Thompson's booming drives vaulted her from #21 to #14. Ilhee Lee moves from # 39 to #30. On the downside, Yani Tseng who was #1 at the start of the year, drops 2 more spots to #22.

Titleholders Update:
Allison Walshe, Michelle Wie, and Jane Park are the latest to qualify. Azahara Munoz is still the highest ranked player yet to qualify.

Who's Hot:
Beatriz Recari's T6 this week was her 3rd consecutive top 10 finish.
Stacy Lewis' last seven finishes have resulted in top tens.
Sandra Gal's T6 finish this week was her 4th consecutive top 20 finish.

Who's Not:
Inbee Park's #1 ranking has been dwindling. She has only 1 top ten finish in her last 7 starts. In fact, she has only managed to finish in the top 30 in 3 of those 7 starts.
Cristie Kerr has finished no better than T45 in her last 3 starts.
If the Constructivist over at Mostly Harmless is reading this, you can turn away now, before you read this next statistic: Ai Miyazato (11), and Mika Miyazato (10), combined for 21 top tens in 2012. With 2013 coming to a close, they have combined for 4 top tens this year. Each of them with two.

Here are the Final Scores:
1x-Amy Yang-9F
2Hee Kyung Seo-9F
3Michelle Wie-8F
3Sei Young Kim-8F
3Suzann Pettersen-8F
6Ha-Neul Kim-6F
7Brittany Lincicome-5F
8Jane Park-4F
8Se Ri Pak-4F
8Jiyai Shin-4F
8Anna Nordqvist-4F
12Eun-Hee Ji-3F
12Jodi Ewart Shadoff-3F
12Caroline Hedwall-3F
12Chella Choi-3F
12Ju Young Park-3F
For complete scoring see link on top of page.




Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia Preview & Pairings

Before I get to this week's tournament, let me give a big congratulations to Shanshan Feng for winning the Reignwood LPGA Classic. What an exciting finish it was. Shanshan, in front of an enormous home crowd that was rooting her on, eagled the final hole to win by one stroke over Stacy Lewis. The Constructivist, over at Mostly Harmless has done a full recap on this tournament.

The LPGA moves to Malaysia this week for the playing of the Sime Darby Malaysia Championship. This is the 2nd of 5 consecutive tournaments to be played in Asia.

This will be tournament #23 of 28 on this year's LPGA schedule.

Here are the key details.

Course:  Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club
Where:  Kuala Lumpar, Malaysia
Defending Champion:  Inbee Park
Winning Score:  69-68-65-67 = (-15)

Final Field:  72 Players
Par:  35/36=71
Yardage:  6,246
Purse:  $2,000,000

My strength of field rating is 71% making it the 5th weakest field of the year. Although 17 of the top 20 players from the Rolex Rankings and 17 of the top 20 players on the LPGA Priority List will be in attendance, the lack of depth, with only 72 players, accounts for the low strength of field rating.
Absent from this week's roster include: Catriona Matthew, Hee Kyung Seo, Angela Stanford, Ayako Uehara, Juli Inkster, Hee-Won Han, Momoko Ueda, and Vicky Hurst.

Here are the television times:
Oct 10 - GC 12:30 AM-3:00 AM ET
Oct 11 - GC 12:30 AM-3:00 AM ET
Oct 12 - GC 12:30 AM-3:00 AM ET
Oct 13 - GC 12:00 AM-3:00 AM ET

Malaysia is 12 hours ahead of East Coast time. I will not post results until after we have had a chance to watch the TV coverage later on in the day.
For those who want to see the scores live, the LPGA link at the top of this page will always bring you the latest scores.

I am happy to say that I won the Pac Picker contest last week for the third time this season. I correctly predicted 9 of the top 12 finishers.
Here are my picks for this week:
1- So Yeon Ryu
2- Inbee Park
3- Yani Tseng
4- Mika Miyazato
5- Jessica Korda
6- Suzann Pettersen
7- Karrie Webb
8- Stacy Lewis
9- Paula Creamer
10- Na Yeon Choi
11- Candie Kung
12- Chella Choi


Other Tidbits:
Phase 2 of Qualifying School will be played this week in Venice, Fl. The top 80 finishers will move on to phase 3 in December. Included in this week's field are: Big Break winner Taylor Collins, Lindy Duncan, Jaye Marie Green, Lee-Ann Pace, Melissa Reid, Madison Pressel, Jean Reynolds, and Cheyenne Woods.

Titleholders Update:
Christel Boeljon, Sun Young Yoo, and Paola Moreno are the latest to qualify. Azahara Munoz, who just missed this week, remains the highest ranked player yet to qualify.

Rolex Mover of the Week:
Not much movement in the rankings this week, but the most important move goes to Shanshan Feng who moves up one spot to #8.

Who's Hot:
Stacy Lewis has 6 consecutive top ten finishes (excluding WD due to illness).
So Yeon Ryu has finished in the top 20 in 7 of her last 8 tournaments. Four of those were top tens.

Who's Not:
Hee Kyung Seo has failed to record a top 20 finish in her last 8 starts.
Candie Kung has finished no better than 25th in her last 17 starts.

Update:
Here are the final results:
1- Lexi Thompson -19
2- Shanshan Feng -15
3- Ilhee Lee -12
3- Suzann Pettersen -12
5- Amy Yang - 10
6- Karine Icher -8
6- Sandra Gal -8
6- Stacy Lewis -7
6- Allison Walshe -7
6- Beatriz Recari -7
6- Chella Choi -7
For complete scoreboard see link on top of page.





Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Reignwood LPGA Classic Preview & Pairings

After a 2 week break, the LPGA moves to Beijing, China for the playing of the Reignwood LPGA Classic. This is a brand new tournament on the 2013 schedule. 

This will be the first of 5 tournaments to be held in Asia in the next 6 weeks. 

This is tournament # 22 of 28 on this year's LPGA schedule. 

Here are the key details:

Course:  Pine Valley Golf Club
Location:  Beijing China
Defending Champion:  This is the inaugural playing of this event
Winning Score:  N/A

Final Field:   81 players
Par:  36/37 = 73
Yardage:  6,596
Purse:  $ 1,800,000

My strength of field rating is a very low 54.5 %, making it the 3rd weakest field of the year. Ten of the top 30 on the LPGA priority list, and 14 of the top 30 Rolex Ranked players will not be in attendance.  In fact, of the 81 players in the field, only 59 are even LPGA members.
The list of missing players include: Ai Miyazato, Jiyai Shin, Suzann Pettersen, Mika Miyazato, Paula Creamer, Angela Stanford, Catriona Matthew, Lexi Thompson, Brittany Lincicome, I.K. Kim, Juli Inkster, Gerina Piller, Jennifer Johnson, and Momoko Ueda.

Here are the television times:
Oct 3 - GC 3:00 AM-5:00 AM ET
Oct 4 - GC 4:00 AM-6:00 AM ET
Oct 5 - GC 3:00 PM-6:00 PM ET
Oct 6 - GC 3:00 PM-6:00 PM ET

Beijing is 12 hours ahead of East Coast time. I will not post results until after we have had a chance to watch the TV coverage later on in the day.

Here are the pairings for the first two rounds:


With not a lot to choose from, here are my picks for this week:
1- Stacy Lewis
2- So Yeon Ryu
3- Inbee Park
4- Yani Tseng
5- Na Yeon Choi
6- Lizette Salas
7- Jessica Korda
8- Karrie Webb
9- Hee Young Park
10- Shanshan Feng
11- Chella Choi
12- Candie Kung

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

Other Tidbits:
Lydia Ko is so hot she moves up in the Rolex Rankings even when she isn't playing. She now is ranked at #4. Na Yeon Choi dropped a couple of spots to #6. 

The Symetra Tour's 2013 schedule came to an end this past weekend, and in case you missed the excellent recap over at Mostly Harmless, ten players earned full time playing privileges on the LPGA tour in 2014. They are as follows:

1- P.K. Kongkraphan
2- Giulia Molinaro
3- Marina Alex
4- Christine Song
5- Cydney Clanton
6- Sue Kim
7- Hannah Jun
8- Perrine Delacour
9- Alena Sharp
10- Jaclyn Sweeney

Update:

Shanshan Feng eagled the par 5 18th hole to beat Stacy Lewis by one stroke. Shanshan nearly missed holing her second shot hitting the flagstick. Stacy Lewis, who layed up, only made par and came up one shot short.
Here are the Final Results:
1- Shanshan Feng -26
2- Stacy Lewis -25
3- Inbee Park -21
4- Karrie Webb -14
5- NY Choi -16
6- Yani Tseng -14
7- P. Phatlum -12
7- Beatrice Recari -12
7- C. Boeljon -12
10- So Yeon Ryu -11
10- Chella Choi -11
10- Sun Young Yoo -11
10- Caroline Hedwall -11
10-Amy Yang -11
For all results, see link on top of this page.