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.





Saturday, March 15, 2014

JTBC Founders Cup Preview & Pairings

Defending Champion Stacy Lewis

After a two week break, the LPGA moves to the state of Arizona for the playing of the JTBC Founders Cup. This will be the first of 12 consecutive tournaments to be played in North America.

As many of  you may remember, this tournament was first played back in 2011 and was played strictly as a charitable event. There was no purse or prize money of any kind. The tournament was won that year by Karrie Webb. Things have certainly changed since then as this is now a full field event with a generous purse, and has attracted a first class field. We can all look forward to a "shootout" as 34 players shot -10 or better last year. The cut of -2 was the lowest of the season.

This will be tournament number 5 of 32 on the 2014 LPGA schedule.
Here are the key details:

Course:  Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriot Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa
Location:  Phoenix, Arizona
Defending Champion: Stacy Lewis
Winning Score: 68-65-68-64 = 265 (-23)

Final Field: 132 players
Par:  72
Yardage:  6,583
Purse:  $1, 500,000

What a strong field this is! My strength of field rating is 84%, making it by far the strongest field of the year thus far. In fact this will probably be one of the top fields of the year. For the first time in the 3 years that I been have writing about the LPGA, the entire top 50 on the LPGA Priority List will be in attendance. Twenty- seven of the top 30, and 37 of the top 50 Rolex Ranked players will be teeing it up. Cheyenne Woods and Birdie Kim have been given sponsor exemptions. Ai Miyazato, in the midst of a very long slump, has finished second here the last 2 years and will be looking to get back on the right track.

Here are the pairings for the first two rounds.

Here are the television times:
Mar 20 - GC 6:30 PM-9:00 PM ET
Mar 21 - GC 6:30 PM-9:00 PM ET
Mar 22 - GC 7:00 PM-9:00 PM ET
Mar 23 - GC 7:00 PM-9:00 PM ET

Here are my picks for this week's tournament:
1- Paula Creamer
2- Stacy Lewis
3- Inbee Park
4- Suzann Pettersen
5- So Yeon Ryu
6- Angela Stanford
7- Na Yeon Choi
8- Karrie Webb
9- Caroline Hedwall
10- Jessica Korda
11- Ai Miyazato
12- Lydia Ko

Other Tidbits:
This certainly continues to be the year that players are tying the knot. Hannah Jun, who was married last month, will now be known as Hannah Jun Medlock. The LPGA is now listing Maria Hjorth as Maria McBride. Maria married Shawn McBride in 2007.

Check back here for live scoreboards to all the tours via the links on the top of this page.

UPDATE: Beatriz Recari has just been removed from the playing field list!

UPDATE #2: Charley Hull has just won her first professional tournament. Charley won the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco. She beat Gwladys Nocera in an L.E.T playoff. LPGA member Lee-Anne Pace finished 4th.

UPDATE #3: Caroline Hedwall has withdrawn.

UPDATE #4:
Here are the final results:
1Karrie Webb-19F
2Stacy Lewis-18F
2Azahara Munoz-18F
2Amy Yang-18F
2Mirim Lee-18F
2Lydia Ko-18F
7Pornanong Phatlum-17F
7So Yeon Ryu-17F
7Jessica Korda-17F
10Inbee Park-16F
10Cristie Kerr-16F
12Caroline Masson-15F
12Lizette Salas-15F
12Michelle Wie-15F
For complete results, see the link for the LPGA live scoreboard on the top of this page.



Friday, March 7, 2014

Stats & Facts - Volume 18

First let me give a big congratulations to Paula Creamer for winning the 2014 HSBC Women's Champions.
It was Paula's tenth career victory and she certainly did it in spectacular fashion.

The LPGA has now completed the first four tournaments, or 1/8 of its 2014 schedule.
It is always great to get off to a good start. I don't think it is too early to take a look and see how our favorite players are performing. More times than not, a player's start will set the tone for the rest of the season.

On that note let us look at some of the more important statistics of the 2014 season: (A player must have played in a minimum of 2 events to qualify)


Rolex Player of the Year:  (Winner receives a Hall of Fame point)
1- Paula Creamer - 48 points
2- Karrie Webb - 39
3- Anna Nordqvist - 30
3- Jessica Korda - 30
5- Stacy Lewis 23

Vare Trophy:  (Winner receives Hall of Fame point)
1- Inbee Park - 69.50 strokes per round
2- Amelia Lewis - 69.875 (Yes, I got the correct Lewis)
3- Karrie Webb - 70.00
4- Paula Creamer - 70.063
5- Michelle Wie - 70.083

Race to the CME Globe:  (One million dollars)
1- Paula Creamer - 921 points
2- Karrie Webb - 742
3- Jessica Korda - 587
4- Anna Nordqvist - 573
5- Stacy Lewis - 541

Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year: 
1- Lydia Ko - 206 points
2- Mirim Lee - 42
3- Line Videl - 28
4- Jaye Marie Green - 26
5- Amy Anderson - 25

Most Consecutive Tournaments Without a Missed Cut:
1- Paula Creamer - 70
2- Na Yeon Choi - 60
3- Stacy Lewis - 48
4- Anna Nordqvist - 36
5- Jessica Korda -30

Most Wins:
1- Creamer, Nordqvist, Webb, Korda - 1

Most Top Five Finishes:
1- Paula Creamer - 3
2- Stacy Lewis - 2
2- Inbee Park - 2

Most Top Ten Finishes:
1- Paula Creamer - 3
1- Stacy Lewis - 3

Most Top Twenty Finishes:
1- Sandra Gal - 4
1- Azahara Munoz - 4
1- Lydia Ko - 4

Most Wins By Country:
1- United States - 2
2- Australia - 1
2- Sweden - 1

Solheim Cup Standings:
1- Stacy Lewis - 191 points
2- Lexi Thompson - 165
3- Paula Creamer - 114
4- Michelle Wie - 95
5- Gerina Piller - 83
6- Angela Stanford - 82
7- Lizette Salas - 75
8- Jessica Korda - 62
Note: Cristie Kerr and Morgan Pressel would get in via the Rolex Rankings.
Brittany Lincicome, Brittany Lang, and Jennifer Johnson are on the outside as of now.

Other Tidbits:
Thirteen turned out to be Stacy Lewis' unlucky number. Her top 10 streak came to a halt at thirteen, with her 40th place finish in Singapore.

With only 2 more tournaments before the players competing for spots in the International Crown are finalized, Stacy Lewis, Paula Creamer, and Lexi Thompson appear to have spots all wrapped up. Cristie Kerr and Angela Stanford, ranked numbers 14 and 16 respectively in the Rolex Rankings, are fighting for the final spot. Number 20 Lizette Salas and number 27 Jessica Korda would appear to need a victory to have any chance at all.

Rolex Movers of the Week:
Paula Creamer makes this week's most important move as she jumps from #11 to #8. Azahara Munoz soars from #32 to #24, while Morgan Pressel hurdles eight players and moves to #34.

Who's Hot:
Michelle Wie has finished 13th, 4th, and 9th in her last 3 tournaments.

Who's Not:
Neither Amy Yang, Ai Miyazato, or Carlotta Ciganda, have had a single top 25 finish this year.

Although there is no LPGA tournament this weekend, there are tournaments going on over at the L.E.T and JLPGA. Suzanne Pettersen and Inbee Park are both battling for the lead after 2 rounds over at the L.E.T. The links at the top of this page will always bring you all live scores, all the time.
The Constructivist over at Mostly Harmless also continues to provide superb recaps.




Sunday, March 2, 2014

Paula Creamer sinks Miracle 75 Foot Putt to Win Playoff.


Paula Creamer sank a 75 foot eagle putt on the second playoff hole to defeat Azahara Munoz and win the HSBC Champions on Sunday for her 10th career victory.

Creamer and Munoz finished 72 holes tied at 10-under 278, one stroke ahead of Karrie Webb, who led after every round but bogeyed three of her last six holes to give up a three-shot lead and finish third.



Here is the link to the winning putt (from Golf channel.)