Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Manulife Financial LPGA Classic Preview & Pairings

Before I get started with this week's tournament, let me congratulate Stacy Lewis for winning the ShopRite LPGA Classic. Stacy won it in style, pulling away at the end and winning by six strokes. It was the 4th consecutive win by an American player, and 6th in the last 7 tournaments. It was the 8th U.S. win of the young season. It will be much more difficult to keep that streak going this week as 2014 winners Paula Creamer, Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, and Lizette Salas will not be in attendance.

This week the tour makes its way to Waterloo, Canada for the playing of the Manulife Financial LPGA Championship. Hee young Park won this event in 2013, with a very exciting playoff win over Angela Stanford. You can expect lots of birdies this week as Park and Stanford both shot 26 under par. You would think that playing par golf  this week is not going to be good enough, as the cut last year was -3.

Defending Champion Hee Young Park

This will be tournament #14 of 32 on the LPGA schedule this year.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Grey Silo Golf Course
Location:  Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Defending Champion:  Hee Young Park
Winning Score:  65-67-61-65 = 258 (-26)

Final Field: 144 players
Par:  36/35 = 71
Yardage:  6,330
Purse:  $1,500,000

My strength of field rating is just 50.5%, making it the weakest field of the year. Thirty-six of the top 60 golfers from the LPGA Priority list, and 17 of the top 30 players from the Rolex Rankings will be teeing it up. Some of the bigger names absent this week include: Lexi Thompson, Paula Creamer, Jessica Korda, Lizette Salas, Beatriz Recari, Karrie Webb, Amy Yang, Pornanong Phatlum, Azahara Munoz, Se Ri Pak, Brittany Lincicome, Yani Tseng, Jennie Shin, and Natalie Gulbis.

Sixteen year old Canadian sensation Brooke Henderson will be a sponsor invitee this week. Brooke, you may remember, put up a very good showing at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, finishing 26th.
Jackie Stoelting, this year's Big Break winner, will get the other sponsor exemption.

Here are the pairings for the first 2 rounds:

Here are the television times:
Jun 5 - GC 12:00 PM-2:30 PM ET
Jun 6 - GC 12:30 PM-2:30 PM ET
Jun 7 - GC 3:00 PM-5:00 PM ET
Jun 8 - GC 3:00 PM-5:00 PM ET

Here are my Pak Picker Picks for this week's tournament:
1- Stacy Lewis
2- Gerina Piller
3- Michelle Wie
4- Inbee Park
5- Suzann Pettersen
6- Anna Nordqvist
7- Cristie Kerr
8- Na Yeon Choi
9- Shanshan Feng
10- Angela Stanford
11- Catriona Matthew
12- Hee Young Park
Although I correctly picked the winner last week, my other picks left a lot to be desired. I was only able to pick 3 of the top 12 finishers which was only good enough for 12th for the week. I have dropped to 7th place for the year, out of the 20 contestants now playing.

Other Tidbits
So Yeon Ryu missed the cut, ending her streak of 22 consecutive cuts made.

Rolex Ranking Movers of the Week:
Stacy Lewis is the new #1 player in the world, as Inbee Park drops to #2.
Gerina Piller continues her rise this week jumping from #30 to #26.
Jennifer Johnson leaps up from #53 to #44, while Haeji Kang bolts from #67 to #54.
From outside the top 100, Christina Kim soars from #109 to #53.

Race to the CME Globe: ( 1 million dollars)
Stacy Lewis takes a huge lead with 2,619 points. Michelle Wie is her closest pursuer with 1,778. 

Who's Hot:  
In her 12 tournaments this year, Stacy Lewis has 7 top 5's, and 10 top tens, both of which lead the tour by a very comfortable margin. 
Jennifer Johnson has finished in the top 15 in her last 4 starts.

Who's Not:
Yani Tseng has hit just 256 fairways in 490 attempts. That rate of 52.5%, ranks her #159 of 160 players.

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.

Here are the final results:
1Inbee Park-23F
2Cristie Kerr-20F
3Shanshan Feng-18F
4Belen Mozo-16F
4Lydia Ko-16F
6Stacy Lewis-15F
6Michelle Wie-15F
8Chella Choi-14F
8Suzann Pettersen-14F
10Caroline Masson-13F
10So Yeon Ryu-13F
10Hee Young Park-13F
10Anna Nordqvist-13F
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