Monday, March 24, 2014

Kia Classic Preview & Pairings

Before we get to this week's tournament, let me give a big congrats to Karrie Webb for winning the JTBC Founders Cup. I have to admit that when I was following this on Sunday I thought there were about 8 players that had a good chance of winning, and Karrie was not one of them. She came out of nowhere. Lydia Ko seemed to have it all wrapped up but played her last 13 holes two over par, while Karrie played her last 12 holes in 8 under. It was certainly a lesson where the experienced veteran showed the rookie how to get it done. It was the second time in this very young season where Ko had a real chance of winning but could not close. It will be interesting to see how the 16 year old sensation handles similar situations in the coming weeks. It definitely bears watching.

It was Karrie's second win of the season. Karrie was coming off a tournament that she had all but won, and bogeyed three of the last four holes. Paula Creamer would eventually win that tournament in a playoff.

This week the LPGA moves to the state of California for the playing of the Kia Classic. Many of you may remember last year's exciting finish, when Beatriz Recari won in a playoff over I.K. Kim. Cristie Kerr, Pornanong Phatlum, and Mo Martin finished one shot back. This tournament has a history of first time winners. Hee Kyung Seo and Sandra Gal both got their first LPGA victories at the Kia Classic.

Beatriz Recari holds the 2013 winner's trophy

This will be tournament #6 of 32 on this year's LPGA schedule.

Here are the Key Details:

Course:  Park Hyatt Aviara Golf Club
Location:  Carlsbad, California
Defending Champion: Beatriz Recari
Winning Score:  69-67-69-74 = (-9)

Final Field:  144 Players
Par:  36/36=72
Yardage:  6593
Purse:  $1,700,000

My strength of field rating this week is 79.5, making it the second strongest field of the year. Thirty-eight of the top forty players on the LPGA Priority List, and 26 of the top 30 players from the Rolex Rankings will be in attendance. The biggest names skipping this week's event are Jessica Korda and Mika Miyazato.

Here are the pairings for the first 2 rounds:

Here are the television times:
Mar 27 - GC 6:30 PM-9:00 PM ET
Mar 28 - GC 6:30 PM-9:00 PM ET
Mar 29 - GC 7:00 PM-9:00 PM ET
Mar 30 - GC 7:00 PM-9:00 PM ET

Here are my picks for this week's tournament:
1- Pornanong Phatlum
2- Stacy Lewis
3- Inbee Park
4- Cristie Kerr
5- So Yeon Ryu
6- Karrie Webb
7- Paula Creamer
8- Lydia Ko
9- Suzann Pettersen
10- Lexi Thompson
11- Azahara Munoz
12- Chella Choi

Other Tidbits:
In the category of "some things never change," Stacy Lewis who led the tour in top ten finishes last year, becomes the first player to have 4 top tens this year.

Na Yeon Choi missed the cut this week at the JTBC Founder's Cup. She had made her previous 60 cuts. Paula Creamer continues to lead with 71 consecutive cuts made. Stacy Lewis now moves into the second spot with 49.

In case you were on another planet and missed the announcement, Juli Inkster was named the captain of the United States 2015 Solheim Cup team.

Rookies Lydia Ko, Mirim Lee, and Jaye Marie Green combined for an incredible 49 under par at the JTBC Founders Cup.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Karrie Webb jumps a spot up to #5 this week. Azahara Munoz continues her surge this week leaping from #24 to #19. Michelle Wie rises from the #46 spot to #41. Rookie Mirim Lee surges from #92 to #59, while outside the top 100, rookie Jaye Marie Green catapults over 101 golfers moving from #385 to #284. Jaye Marie has two consecutive finishes in the top 25.

Race to the CME Globe:
Karrie Webb takes over the #1 spot this week with 1,242 points. She is followed by Paula Creamer (973), Stacy Lewis (541), and Azahara Munoz (493).

Who's Hot:
Michelle Wie has not finished worse than 13th place so far this year.
Azahara Munoz, Lydia Ko, and Michelle Wie are the only players to have all top 20 finishes this year.

Who's Not:
Patty Hurst has missed the cut 9 consecutive times. Sue Kim, Maria Hernandez, and Christine Song have missed their last six.

UPDATE #1 - Suzann Pettersen has withdrawn with a bad back.

UPDATE #2 - Here are the final results.
1Anna Nordqvist-13F
2Lizette Salas-12F
3Lexi Thompson-11F
4Chella Choi-10F
5Cristie Kerr-9F
6Inbee Park-8F
6Se Ri Pak-8F
6Stacy Lewis-8F
6Eun-Hee Ji-8F
10Giulia Sergas-7F
10Gerina Piller-7F
10Azahara Munoz-7F
10Julieta Granada-7F
10Dori Carter-7F

Be sure to check back here periodically for tournament news and updates, which will be added to the bottom of this blog. For live scoreboard links to all the ladies' tours, see the links at the top of this page.





2 comments:

  1. Inbee Park?!
    ***********
    Azahara Munoz, Lydia Ko, and Michelle Wie are the only players to have all top 20 finishes this year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Inbee has only played 12 rounds of golf this year so I didn't include her, or Amelia Lewis for that matter.

      Delete