Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic Preview & Pairings

There has been so much excitement on the LPGA so far this year, that it is hard to believe that the season is only 1/4 over. Hall of Famer Karrie Webb  has already won twice this year. That has been matched by Anna Nordqvist's 2 victories. Fan favorites Paula Creamer and Michelle Wie have each brought home a trophy, and future superstars Lexi Thompson and Jessica Korda have also been in the winner's circle.
Fan interest is growing, television ratings have never been higher, and they still have 75% of the schedule to play (and that includes four more majors). 

The LPGA moves back to the state of California this week for the inaugural playing of the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic.

This will be tournament # 9 of 32 on the schedule this year.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Lake Merced Golf Club
Location:  San Francisco, California
Defending Champion: This is the inaugural playing of this event.
Winning Score:  N/A

Final Field:  144 players
Par:  36/36 = 72
Yardage:  Not available at this time
Purse:  $1,800,000

My strength of field rating is a very strong 82.5%, making it the 3rd strongest field of the year.
48 of the top 50 players on the LPGA Priority List, and 39 of the top 50 Rolex Ranked players will be teeing it up. The most noteworthy player that is skipping the event is Lexi Thompson. Highly ranked non LPGA members Ariya Jutanugarn, Hyo-Joo Kim, and Charley Hull are among the many players getting sponsor invitations. 

Here are the television times:
Apr 24 - GC 6:30 PM-9:30 PM ET
Apr 25 - GC 6:30 PM-9:30 PM ET
Apr 26 - GC 6:30 PM-9:30 PM ET
Apr 27 - GC 7:00 PM-9:30 PM ET

Here are my Pak Picker picks for this week's tournament:
1- Stacy Lewis
2- Paula Creamer
3- Michelle Wie
4- Jessica Korda
5- So Yeon Ryu
6- Hyo-Joo Kim (non LPGA player convinced me last week she can play)
7- Inbee Park
8- Azahara Munoz
9- Suzann Pettersen
10- Karrie Webb
11- Christie Kerr
12- Na Yeon Choi
I correctly picked the winner of last week's tournament but still finished in 6th place for the week  I am currently tied for 2nd place, in a field of 18, so far this year.

Other Tidbits:
With Azahara Munoz finishing in 22nd place last week, Michelle Wie is now the only LPGA player to finish in the top 20 in every start. Michelle's worst finish has been 16th place.

Anna Nordqvist's missed cut ended her streak at 39.

Paula Creamer has now made **80 consecutive cuts.
** My count on Paula's cut streak was at 74 which I found out was erroneous. The difference was that back at the last tournament of 2010 ( The LPGA Tour Championship), there were 2 cuts. One after the 2nd round and one after the third round. Paula made the first cut and missed the second one. I had counted it as a missed cut. I have since found out from the LPGA, that since Paula made the first cut and took home a paycheck (of over $8,000), that does not count as a missed cut. That said, her last missed cut goes back to the 2010 Safeway Classic. 

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Michelle Wie continues her surge forward moving up from # 23 to #13. She started the year at #61. Angela Stanford moves from #17 to #14, while further down the list Haru Nomura leaps from #113 to #96.

Race to the CME Globe: (1 Million Dollars)
Karrie Webb leads with 1,376 points, followed by Michelle Wie 1,270, Stacy Lewis 1,179, Anna Nordqvist 1,145, and Paula Creamer 1,075.

Who's Hot:
Cristie Kerr has 4 consecutive top 10 finishes. Chella Choi has finished no worse than 22nd place in her last 5 tournaments. 

Who's Not:
Mi Jung Hur has missed 5 consecutive cuts. Married life has not helped Hee Young Seo's golf game, she has missed her last 2 cuts and has not finished higher than 29th this year. Vicky Hurst has found all sorts of ways not to make it to the weekend rounds. In her last 5 tournaments she has 3 missed cuts, 1 disqualification, and withdrew from the other.

Just a reminder that on the very top of this page there are links to live scoreboards to all the women's tours. Check back here periodically for tournament updates and results.

UPDATE: Here are the final results:
1Lydia Ko-12F
2Stacy Lewis-11F
3Jenny Shin-10F
4Inbee Park-6F
4Line Vedel Hansen-6F
4Shanshan Feng-6F
7Hyo Joo Kim-4F
7P.K. Kongkraphan-4F
9Cristie Kerr-2F
9Michelle Wie-2F
9Brittany Lang-2F
9Karine Icher-2F
              For full scoreboard see link on top of this page.

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  1. Interesting that this event has 22 players in the field playing on sponsor invitations. That is an unusually high number. 21 are from Asia (ties to the Taiwan-based Swinging Skirts organization which is the sponsor of the event). The other is Charley Hull, the teen sensation from England. She is hoping to make enough money in the several LPGA events she will play in this year to earn her LPGA card that way for 2015. She will probably get in ten or more events.

    1. Yes, 22 sponsor invitations is highly unusual. I would think that commissioner When had to agree to that to get this tournament up and running. I am rooting for Charlie Hull to get in that way. She will be a great addition to the tour.

    2. From what I can tell, this tournament is co-sponsored by the TLPGA, so the sponsor exemptions are the top players on that tour.

    3. Anthony is correct - The actual breakdown is:
      120 LPGA players based on current year's money list
      17 top players on TLPGA
      5 Sponsor Exemptions
      2 Monday Qualifiers


  2. That is correct, the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic is co-sanctioned by the Taiwan LPGA,-the first time an LPGA Tour event has been co-sanctioned by a foreign orginazation in the U.S- and the breakdown of the field is thus-courtesy of LPGA.com:

    #1. 120 players from the American LPGA Tour.
    # 2. 10-The top 10 from the Taiwan LPGA Tour money list.
    # 3. 7 other players of Taiwanese descent other than the 10 from #2.
    #4. 5 sponsor exemptions.
    #5. 2 Monday qualifiers.

    That is how the 144 players in the field this week were determined.

  3. Anyone know why Angela Stanford withdrew?