Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic Presented by CTBC Preview & Pairings

Is it possible for these LPGA tournament finishes to get any more exciting? For the second tournament in a row, it took a playoff to determine the winner. This one ended very suddenly when Sei Young Kim put the ball in the hole from the middle of the fairway for an eagle, thus becoming the first player to win twice this season.

Sei Young Kim reacts to miracle eagle to end playoff

The LPGA moves back to the state of California for the playing of the Swinging Skirts Classic Presented BY CTBC. This is the second year for this tournament. Many of you may remember last year when Lydia Ko birdied the final hole to defeat Stacy Lewis by one stroke.

Lydia Ko won the inaugural Swinging Skirts last year

This will be tournament #10 of 32 on the 2015 LPGA schedule.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Lake Merced Golf Club
Location:  San Francisco, California
Defending Champion:  Lydia Ko
Winning Score:  68-71-68-69 = 276 (-12)

Final Field:  144 players
Par: 36/36 = 72
Yardage:  Not available
Purse:  $2,000,000

My strength of field rating is a very high 82%, making it the 3rd strongest field of the year. Seventy of the top 75 players from the LPGA Priority List, and 22 of the top 25 players from the Rolex Rankings will be teeing it up. The only big names missing this week are Jessica Korda, Angela Stanford, and Lizette Salas.

Here are the first round pairings:

Here are the television times:
Apr 23 - GC 6:00 PM-9:00 PM ET
Apr 24 - GC 6:00 PM-9:00 PM ET
Apr 25 - GC 6:00 PM-9:00 PM ET
Apr 26 - GC 6:00 PM-9:00 PM ET

Here are my Pak Picker picks for this week's tournament:
1- Stacy Lewis
2- Lydia Ko
3- Hyo Joo Kim
4- Sei Young Kim
5- Inbee Park
6- Shanshan Feng
7- Lexi Thompson
8- Mirim Lee
9- Brittany Lincicome
10- Michelle Wie
11- Jenny Shin
12- Ariya Jutanugarn
My solid picking last week moved me up 2 spots to 8th place among the 22 participants.

Other Tidbits:
The purse for the Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft has increased to 2 million dollars. That puts that tournament among the echelon in prize money. Of the 27 non major championship tournaments, only the Canadian Pacific Women's Open and the Reignwood Pine Valley LPGA Classic have a higher purse. In only its second year this tournament has quickly become a favorite of both the players and the fans.

Both Ilhee Lee (22) and Mariajo Uribe (17) had their cut streaks snapped.

Mika Miyazato's top 10 finish this past weekend was her first in her last 34 tournaments. Ai Miyazato, who was in the top ten the first 3 rounds, faltered in the final round and has not had a top 10 finish in her last 45 events.

Strange Stat of the Week:
Ariya Jutanugarn has either finished in the top 11 (6 times), or missed the cut (2 times) in her 8 starts this year. No finishes in between.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Sei Young Kim moves up from #19 to #16, while I.K. Kim jumps eleven places to #40.

Race to the CME Globe:
Lydia Ko is still out in front with 1,505 points. She is followed by Sei Young Kim with 1476, and Stacy Lewis with 1,376.

Who's Hot:
Sei Young Kim has finished in the top 10 in 5 of her 8 starts this year. She is the first player to win twice in 2015.

Who's Not:
Sun Young Yoo has missed four consecutive cuts. Jodi Ewart Shadoff has not finished better than 30th in her 8 starts this year. She has missed 3 cuts.

Be sure to check back here daily for any updates. They will be posted here, at the end of this blog.

Update #1 - Sakura Yokomine and Sue Kim are the Monday qualifiers.

Here are the final standings:

1x-Lydia Ko-8F
2Morgan Pressel-8F
3Brooke Mackenzie Henderson-7F
4Min Seo Kwak-6F
5Shanshan Feng-5F
6Ha-Na Jang-4F
6Amy Yang-4F
6Stacy Lewis-4F
9Mirim Lee-3F
9Sei Young Kim-3F
11Na Yeon Choi-2F
11Sakura Yokomine-2F
13P.K. Kongkraphan-1F
13Sandra Gal-1F
15Gerina PillerEF
15Juli InksterEF
15Moriya JutanugarnEF

For complete live scoreboard, see link on top of this page.

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