Monday, April 28, 2014

North Texas LPGA Shootout Preview & Pairings

I want to start off by congratulating Lydia Ko for winning the LPGA Swinging Skirts Tournament. Lydia had quite a week. First she was named one of the 100 most influential women in the world, then she celebrated her 17th birthday, and topped that off by winning her first tournament as an LPGA member. It was her 3rd LPGA win overall.

This has been quite a remarkable season so far. It seems that every tournament has been packed with suspense and has either gone down to the final hole or into a playoff.

Many unusual things have happened this year that have led me to ask my audience the following questions:

  1. Coming into this season would you have thought that the only player to have finished in the top twenty in all of her starts would be Michelle Wie?
  2. Would anyone ever think that a professional golfer on any tour could finish in the top ten 18 times in 19 tournaments? That is the streak Stacy Lewis is currently on.
  3. Who could have imagined that the top 4 LPGA players from Japan (AI Miyazato, Mika Miyazato, Ayaka Uehara, Chi Arimura) would not have a top twenty finish among them in 27 starts?
  4. That Stacy Lewis would lead the Race to The CME Globe at this point of the season without recording a victory? 
  5. Would anyone have thought that Yani Tseng, who was #1 two short years ago, would now be #50?
  6. Am I the only one who is thinking that Na Yeon Choi is having a bad season, even though she has five top twenty finishes?
  7. Who could possibly have figured that after 9 tournaments we wouldn't have a winner playing under the Korean Flag? 
  8. Is it me or does it seem that with recent winners like Paula Creamer, Lexi Thompson, Michelle Wie, and Lydia Ko, the LPGA winners are much more exciting then the winners on the PGA?

     Now Onto This Week's Tournament

The LPGA moves to the state of Texas this week for the playing of the North Texas LPGA Shootout.

This is tournament #10 of 32 on the LPGA schedule this year.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Las Colinas Country Club
Location:  Irving, Texas
Defending Champion:  Inbee Park
Winning Score:  67-70-67-67 = (-13) 

Final Field:  144 players
Par:  36/35=71
Yardage:  6410
Purse:  $1, 300,000

My strength of field rating this week is 67.5. Six tournaments have had higher ratings and 3 lower this year.
The biggest names missing from this week's field include: Lydia Ko, Shanshan Feng, Karrie Webb, Caroline Hedwall, Amy Yang, Anna Nordqvist, Ai & Mika Miyazato, Hee Kyung Seo, and Yani Tseng.

Here are the pairings for the first 2 rounds.

Here are the television times:
May 1 - GC 12:30 PM-2:30 PM ET
May 2 - GC 12:30 PM-2:30 PM ET
May 3 - GC 3:00 PM-6:00 PM ET
May 4 - GC 3:00 PM-6:00 PM ET

Here are my Pak Picker Picks for this week's tournament:
1- Stacy Lewis
2- Inbee Park
3- Lexi Thompson
4- So Yeon Ryu
5-Michelle Wie
6- Na Yeon Choi
7- Cristie Kerr
8- Azahara Munoz
9- Chella Choi
10- Jessica Korda
11- Lizette Salas
12- Suzann Pettersen
My very mediocre pickings last week were only good enough for 9th place. I am now in a tie for 3rd place among the 19 participants.

Other Tidbits:
The Swinging Skirts tournament was not very kind to existing cut streaks. Jessica Korda (32), Gerina Piller (22), Chella Choi (18), and Amy Yang (14), all saw their streaks come to an end.

Jenny Shin has really been flying under the radar. Her five top 20 finishes this year may have gone unnoticed.

This week's tournament has added significance as the LPGA's first Priority List reshuffle will take place after the event.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Lydia Ko moves up from #4 to #2, Jenny Shin catapults over 18 players and moves to # 40, while Line Vedal soars from #173 to #105. On the downside, Brittany Lincicome continues her steep drop falling all the way down to #57.

Race to the CME Globe:  (1 Million Dollars)
Stacy Lewis has soared into the lead with 1,479 points. Karrie Webb (1,417), and Michelle Wie (1,350) are second and third.

Who's Hot
Cristie Kerr has five consecutive top 10 finishes.

Who's Not:
Brittany Lincicome  and Irene Coe have both missed 4 cuts in their last 5 starts.
Paula Creamer has not finished in the top 30 in her last 3 starts. 

Be sure to check back here for any updates. I will post the leaders after each round.
Live scoreboards to all tournaments on all tours are available at the top of this page.

UPDATE #1 - Paula Creamer is no longer on the field list.

UPDATE #2 - I should mention that this tournament is very unique in the fact that it has two cuts. The field will be cut to the usual 70 on Friday, and then it will be reduced to 50 on Saturday. The players that make the first cut and miss the second one will not be charged with a missed cut and will receive part of the purse.

UPDATE #3 - As pointed out by Mike at Ruthless Golf, So Yeon Ryu has withdrawn and was replaced by Loiuse Friberg.

Here are the Final results:
1Stacy Lewis-16F
2Meena Lee-10F
3Michelle Wie-9F
4Na Yeon Choi-8F
4Kim Kaufman-8F
6Dewi Claire Schreefel-7F
6Lexi Thompson-7F
6Cristie Kerr-7F
6Christina Kim-7F
6Suzann Pettersen-7F
6Dori Carter-7F

Check here for links to all live scores all the time.For entire leader board see the link on the top of this page.

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  1. This has been a great stretch for the LPGA early in its season. Exciting finishes, Some American stars winning events, even a couple in prime time on LIVE TV...imagine. Just what the tour needs to capture the imagination of more fans and sponsors. Lydia Ko might be the most amazing story in decades on the tour with the potential to be one of, if not the best players in the history of women's golf. It's a lot to ask for a 16 (now 17) year old, but she seems to be one of a kind.

  2. Dave, I want to say I agree with you that the LPGA has had a "great stretch." I would also like to take it a step further and say that the LPGA is going to have a great year. I think we have entered into a new era, and this will be the era of Lexi, Lydia, and Michelle.

    1. I would not add Wiesy to the mix, instead I would look at Ariya being the 3rd member of the big 3 on the LPGA tour.

  3. Eun-Hee Ji is also off to a good start in 2014, totally under the radar, with 7 top 30s in her 1st 8 starts!

    1. Yes, she is flying so under the radar that even I didn't notice.

  4. The slow starts by the top Korean players is striking. While Inbee has played well, Ryu, NYC, and IK have been steadily dropping in the rankings and right now the US must be the clear favorite in the International Crown, with all four having had good years so far.

  5. Michelle Wie has 3 straight top 10s for the first time since joining the LPGA.