Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Preview & Pairings

After a one week break, the LPGA resumes its schedule this week with the playing of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G.

Many of you may remember last year's exciting finish when Stacy Lewis birdied the 18th hole to defeat Lydia Ko, Cristie Kerr, and Angela Stanford by one stroke. It was Stacy's third win of the season, and her last victory on the LPGA tour.

Stacy Lewis will be trying to defend her title in Arkansas
This will be tournament #16 of 32 tournaments on the LPGA schedule. It is a 54 hole event. This will mark the completion of the first half of the LPGA schedule.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Pinnacle Country Club
Location:  Rogers, Arkansas
Defending Champion:  Stacy Lewis
Winning Score: 70-66-65 = 201 (-12)
Note: 12 under par has been the exact winning score in each of the past 4 seasons.

Final Field:  144 players
Par:  36/35 = 71
Yardage:  6,386
Purse: $2,000,000

My strength of field rating is a very solid 81% (the same as it was last year), making it the 5th strongest field this year. Forty-six of the top 50 players from the LPGA priority list, and 21 of the top 25 players from the Rolex Rankings will be teeing it up. Players skipping this week's event include: Shanshan Feng, Hyo Joo Kim, Ha Na Jang, and Charley Hull.

Here are the pairings for round 1:

Here are the television times:
GC June 26 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
GC June 27 3:00-6:00 p.m.
GC June 28 5:00-8:00 p.m.

Here are my Pak Picker Picks for this week's tournament:
1- Stacy Lewis
2- Inbee Park
3- Suzann Pettersen
4- Sei Young Kim
5- Lydia Ko
6- Anna Nordqvist
7- Morgan Pressel
8- So Yeon Ryu
9- Lexi Thompson
10- Mirim Lee
11- Cristie Kerr
12- Minjee Lee
My excellent picking the last few weeks have currently moved me into first place in the standings among the 21 participants.

Other Tidbits:
The LPGA will have their second and final priority list reshuffle after the conclusion of this tournament.

On Other Tours:

Symetra Tour - Brooke Henderson won the Four Winds Invitational by 3 strokes over four players. Current LPGA member Victoria Elizabeth finished one stroke further back.

KLPGA - Sung Hyun Park won Kia Motors Korean Women's Open. This was the first major championship on the KLPGA schedule. It was Park's maiden victory on the KLPGA tour. Defending champion Hyo Joo Kim finished in 9th place, six strokes back.

LET - Christel Boeljon delighted the Dutch galleries becoming only the 2nd home winner in the history of the Deloitte Ladies Open. Boeljon won it wire to wire and finished 4 strokes better than runner up Ursula Wikstrom.

JLPGA - Jiyai Shin won the Nichirei Ladies Open. It was her 2nd JLPGA win of the year.


Be sure to check back here daily for any updates. They will be posted here, at the end of this blog.
Links to all live scoreboards appear at the top of this page. 

Update #1 - Sun Young Yoo and Sophie Popov have been taken off the field list and replaced with Chie Arimura and Jennifer Kirby.

Here are the final standings:

1Na Yeon Choi-15F
2Mika Miyazato-13F
3Azahara Munoz-12F
3Stacy Lewis-12F
3Anna Nordqvist-12F
6Lydia Ko-11F
6Paula Creamer-11F
6Minjee Lee-11F
9Cristie Kerr-10F
9Mariajo Uribe-10F
9Marina Alex-10F
9Amy Yang-10F
13Min Seo Kwak-9F
13Paula Reto-9F
13Austin Ernst-9F
For full scoreboard see link on top of page.

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Monday, June 22, 2015

Brooke Henderson Gets Symetra Tour Card After Winning Four Winds Invitational

Brooke Henderson can now play the remainder of the season as a Symetra Tour member after winning the Four Winds Invitational this past weekend.

Immediately following her victory, the 17 year old Canadian petitioned the LPGA for a waiver of its rule requiring tour members to be at least 18 years of age. LPGA commissioner Michael Whan immediately granted the request.

Brooke Henderson holds up her trophy for winning the Four Winds Invitational

Henderson is trying to gain LPGA membership for 2016 without having to go to Q-School this winter.
This will give her 2 additional ways to achieve that goal. She can accomplish this by:

1- Winning an LPGA event
2- Finishing with the equivalent or better of the 40th place player on the 2015 money list at season's end. She would currently rank #20 on the LPGA money list.
3- Finish in the top 10 of the Symetra Tour money list. Her $22,500 check she received this week will not count. Only earnings going forward. There are still 12 events left on the Symetra Tour schedule.
4- Win 3 Symetra tour events.

Henderson is planning on playing in this week's Symetra Tour's Island Resort Championship, in Harris Michigan.

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Stats & Facts - Volume 24

With the LPGA taking the week off, it is a good time to take a look at some of the key player statistics after the first 15 tournaments of the year.


Inbee Park has already won 3 times in 2015


Rolex Player of the Year: (winner receives a Hall of Fame point)
1- Inbee Park - 154 points
2- Sei Young Kim - 111 points
3- Lydia Ko - 102
4- Brittany Lincicome - 81
5- Stacy Lewis  - 69

Vare Trophy: (Winner receives Hall of Fame point)
1- Inbee Park - 69.451 strokes per round
2- Hoo Joo Kim - 69.723
3- Stacy Lewis - 69.878
4- Lydia Ko - 69.913
5- Sei Young Kim - 70.125
5- Anna Nordqvist - 70.098

Race to the CME Globe: (1 million dollars)
1- Inbee Park - 2,671
2- Lydia Ko - 2,134
3- Sei Young Kim - 2,057
4- Stacy Lewis - 1,707
5- Anna Nordqvist 1,392

Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year:
1- Sei Young Kim - 886 points
2- Hyo Joo Kim - 794
3- Minjee Lee - 551
4- Ha Na Jang - 418
5- Ariya Jutanugarn - 348

Most Consecutive Tournaments Without a Missed Cut:
1- Shanshan Feng - 48
2- So Yeon Ryu - 27
2- Inbee Park - 27
4- Anna Nordqvist - 26
5- Hyo Joo Kim - 22

Most Victories:
1- Inbee Park - 3
2- Sei Young Kim - 2
2 -Lydia Ko - 2
4- 8 players tied with - 1

Most Top Five Finishes:
1- Inbee Park - 7
2- Lydia Ko - 5
2- Sei Young Kim - 5
4- Stacy Lewis - 4
4- Morgan Pressel - 4

Most Top Ten Finishes:
1- Inbee Park - 8
2- Stacy Lewis - 7
2- Sei Young Kim - 7
2- Hyo Joo Kim - 7
2- Sanshan Feng - 7
2- Lydia Ko - 7

Most Wins By Country:
1- South Korea - 8
2- United States - 2
2- New Zealand - 2
4- 3 tied with 1

Other Tidbits:
There will be golf in Toledo, Ohio for at least the next 4 years. The Marathon Classic contract has been extended 3 more years through 2018.

Lydia Ko missed the cut at the KPMG Women's LPGA Championship. It was her first missed cut of her career, and stopped her streak at 53. Shanshsn Feng now has the longest current streak at 48.

Brooke Henderson's 5th place finish this past week earned her an additional $132,725.. That brings her total for the year to $317,470. To obtain her LPGA card, and avoid having to go to Q-School, she would have to finish the year with earnings that would be 40th or better on the 2015 LPGA money list. She currently would be #20. Last year the 40th place player made $447,648. She has made this money while only teeing it up 7 times this year. She has used 5 of her 6 sponsor exemptions, and has Monday qualified 2 other times. I think we will probably be seeing her trying to qualify on Mondays quite often in the future. 

The Symetra Tour, Road to the LPGA, heads to South Bend, Indiana this week for the 4th annual Four Winds Invitational. One of the strongest fields of the year will compete as the entire top 10 on the Volvic Race for the Card money list are scheduled to play, along with Brooke Henderson.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the week:
Inbee Park took over the number one spot, replacing Lydia Ko. Sei Young Kim jumps up from #15 to #11.


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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Solheim Cup Update - Players Fighting For Remaining Spots

While the LPGA is taking a one week break, I think this is a good time to take a look at the United States players who are fighting for spots on the 2015 Solheim Cup team.




Qualifications For Entry:
1- A player must finish in the top 8 on the Solheim Cup points list.
2- The top 2 players in the Rolex Rankings that have not already qualified.
3- There will be 2 captain's picks.

Points are accumulated the following way:
(From the first event after the previous Solheim Cup match in 2013 through the end of the 2014 season)
Winner - 40 points, 2nd - 20 points, 3rd - 18 points, 4th - 17 points, all the way down to 20th - 2 points.
(The 2015 season tournaments, leading up to the Solheim match)
Winner - 60 points, 2nd - 30 points, 3rd - 28.5 points, 4th - 27 points, 5th - 25.5 points, all the way down to a 20th place finish worth 3 points.
The reason for the increased points for the last part of the term is to give an advantage to the players who are hot going into the match. 
Points are doubled for major championships.


Here are the top 8 Solheim Cup point leaders as of today:
1- Stacy Lewis - 897
2- Lexi Thompson - 600.5
3- Michelle Wie - 430.5
4- Cristie Kerr - 409.5
5- Brittany Lincicome - 409
6- Morgan Pressel - 329.5
7- Angela Stanford - 305.5
8- Gerina Piller - 288.5
The above 8 players would make the team on points if it was held today. It is worth noting that all of the above players were on the 2013 team.

9- Jessica Korda - 259
10- Paula Creamer - 253.5
11- Lizette Salas - 228.5
12- Brittany Lang - 204
13- Mo Martin - 173
14- Austin Ernst - 161.5
15- Christina Kim - 132
The above 7 players would fail to qualify via the points system.

Here are the highest Rolex Ranked players, that wouldn't have already qualified:
Jessica Korda - #25 in current Rolex Rankings
Paula Creamer - #33
The above 2 players would make the team via the Rolex Rankings.
It is also worth noting that both of these players were also on the 2013 team.

Lizette Salas - #35
Mo Martin - #40
Brittany Lang #48
Alison Lee - #57
Christina Kim - #60
Austin Ernst #64
The above 6 players would fail to qualify via the Rolex Rankings.

Once again it is interesting to point out that all 10 players that would qualify as of today, were on the 2013 team. Brittany Lang and Lizette Salas, the other 2 members of the 2013 team, do not qualify at this point.

It then comes down to the 2 captain's picks. Assuming Paula Creamer holds on to her spot (she would be an obvious captain's pick, because of her past history in the event if she doesn't), who does Captain Juli Inkster pick?

Mo Martin - British Open Champion, keeps it in the fairway but doesn't have much length.

Christina Kim - Do her antics actually help or hurt the team?

Brittany Lang - Longtime Solheim team member with moderate success.

Lizette Salas - Member of 2013 team, but like most of these choices, hasn't played well this year.

Austin Ernst - Shows flashes of what she is capable of, but has not shown she can play well consistently. 

Alison Lee - Rising Star

Or will it be someone who might come from way back in the pack, like Kim Kaufman or Jennifer Johnson?

With the United States team losing the last 2 cups (getting trounced last year), I think a couple of new players are needed. There is still time for someone to make a run, but my picks at this point would be Alison Lee and Mo Martin. Mo has shown that she can handle big time pressure, and rookie Alison Lee is the brightest young American star. 

Stay tuned as this will heat up during the coming weeks.



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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Pre Tournament Photos From KPMG Women's PGA Championship

As many of you may know, I have driven up to Harrison, NY., for the KPMG Women's PGA Championship. 

This is the second of five major championships on the LPGA schedule this year.

The course is spacious and beautiful. The weather forecast looks terrific.

I have said it many times, and I will say it again, "These girls are better than you can imagine, and oh so friendly." If you are in the area, take the time to stop by. If you haven't experienced an LPGA tournament you are in for a treat. Try it once and I guarantee you will want to come back again.

Here are some videos and photos taken during the practice rounds:


video
Hee Young Park on the practice tee


video
Se Ri Pak on the practice tee


video
Alison Lee getting in some practice on the greens


video
Brooke Henderson sharpens up her short game


Pernilla Lindberg talks with a reporter


Alison Lee

Cheyenne Woods

LPGA Chief Communications Officer, Kraig Kann, with Stacy Lewis

The Clubhouse

Golf Channel broadcaster Kelly Tilghman was spotted on the practice green.

Brooke Henderson shows us that big smile



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Monday, June 8, 2015

KPMG Women's PGA Championship Preview & Pairings

Congratulations go out to Suzann Pettersen for winning the Manulife LPGA Classic. She came out on top by one shot over Brittany Lang. Suzann shot a final round 69, to finish 22 under par. Her 25 foot eagle putt on the 12th hole turned out to be the difference.


Suzanne Pettersen picked up her first LPGA victory since 2013

The LPGA moves to New York this week for the playing of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship. This will be the second major championship of the year.

Although Inbee Park will be trying to defend her title which she won last year in a playoff over Brittany Lincicome, this tournament will not resemble that tournament in any way, shape, or form. This major championship tournament now has a new name (formerly Wegmans LPGA Championship), a new sponsor, and will be played at a new venue. 


Inbee Park (with Commissioner Michael Whan) holds her major championship trophy

This will start a very important stretch in the LPGA schedule that will see the players play four major championships among the next ten events. The ten tournaments will have ten different defending champions.

This will be tournament #15 of 32 on the LPGA schedule. It is also the 2nd of 5 majors. 

Here are the key details of this week's event:

Course:  Westchester Country Club
Location:  Harrison, N.Y.
Defending Champion:  Inbee Park
Winning Score:  72-66-69-70 = 277 (-11)

Final Field:  156 Players
Par:  36/37 = 73
Yardage:  6,670
Purse:  $3,500,000

My strength of field rating is a sky high 88%, up from 81% last year. As of this writing 73 of the top 75 players on the LPGA priority list, and 23 of the top 25 players from the Rolex World Rankings will be teeing it up. The most notable absentee will be Ai Miyazato. 

Here are the pairings for the first 2 rounds.

Brooke Henderson (her 5th) & Gwladys Nocera received sponsor exemptions this week.

Here are the television times:
Jun 11 - GC 1:00 PM-4:00 PM ET
Jun 12 - GC 1:00 PM-4:00 PM ET
Jun 13 - NBC 3:00 PM-6:00 PM ET
Jun 14 - NBC 3:00 PM-6:00 PM ET

Here are my Pak Picker Picks for this week's tournament:
1- Suzann Pettersen
2- Stacy Lewis
3- Inbee Park
4- Hyo Joo Kim
5- Lydia Ko
6- Lexi Thompson
7- Shanshan Feng
8- Minjee Lee
9- Sei Young Kim
10- So Yeon Ryu
11- Anna Nordqvist
12- Ilhee Lee
My excellent picking last week was good enough for first place. I am now up to #4 in the overall standings among the 23 contestants.

Other Tidbits:
With Stacy Lewis missing the cut this week, Lydia Ko now has the longest current cut streak. Lydia has made the cut in her last 53 tournaments. Mirim Lee also saw her cut streak come to an end at 23.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Suzann Pettersen makes the most important move, jumping up from #10 to #5. Brittany Lang leaps from #65 to #46, while Mariajo Uribe bolts from #87 to #64.

Race to the CME Globe: (1 million dollars)
Lydia Ko leads with 2,134 points. She is followed by Inbee Park with 2,046 and Sei Young Kim with 1,682.

Who's Hot:
Mariajo Uribe's 3rd place finish this week was her 3rd consecutive top 20.

Who's Not:
Kristy McPherson has missed the cut in her last 8 tournaments.

My wife & I will be attending this event. Hope to see some of you there.

Be sure to check back here daily for any updates. They will be posted here, at the end of this blog.
Links to all live scoreboards appear at the top of this page. 

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Manulife LPGA Classic Preview & Pairings

Congratulations go out to Anna Nordqvist for winning the Shoprite Classic. Anna's score of eight under par was good enough to top Christel Boeljon by one stroke.

Anna Nordqvist conquered the heavy winds and took home the ShopRite Classic trophy

This week the LPGA moves to Canada for the playing of the Manulife LPGA Classic. Many of you may remember last year's tournament when Inbee Park shot a final round 61 to defeat Cristie Kerr by 3 strokes.

Inbee Park will be trying to defend her 2014 Manulife title

This will be tournament #14 of 32 on the 2015 LPGA schedule.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Whistle Bear Golf Club
Location:  Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
Defending Champion:  Inbee Park
Winning Score:  69-66- 65-61 = 261 (-23)

Final Field: 150 players
Par:  36/36=72
Yardage: 6,613
Purse: $1,500,000

My strength of field rating is a very strong 79.0 %, making it the fourth strongest field of the year. This is a complete turn around from last year when the field rating was a very weak 50.5%. Sixty-eight of the top 75 players on the LPGA priority list, and 20 of the top 25 players from the Rolex Rankings will be teeing it up this week. It certainly appears that the change in venue is responsible for attracting a much stronger field. Players missing from this week's field include: Lexi Thompson, Michelle Wie, Paula Creamer, Amy Yang, and I.K. Kim.

This week's Monday qualifiers are Cindy LaCrosse and Natalie Gleadall.

Here are the first round pairings.

Here are this week's television times:
Jun 4 - GC 12:00 PM-2:00 PM ET
Jun 5 - GC 12:00 PM-2:00 PM ET
Jun 6 - GC 2:30 PM-5:30 PM ET
Jun 7 - GC 2:00 PM-5:00 PM ET

Here are my Pak Picker picks for this week's tournament:
1- Suzann Pettersen
2- Inbee Park
3- Lydia Ko
4- Mirim Lee
5- Hyo Joo Kim
6- Stacy Lewis
7- Shanshan Feng
8- Anna Nordqvist
9- So Yeon Ryu
10- Morgan Pressel
11- Minjee Lee
12- Sei Young Kim
My accurate pickings last week moved me up to #5 in the year's overall standings among the 23 participants. 

Other Tidbits:
Playing in just 5 tournaments this year, Brooke Henderson has made $184,745.00. This would rank her #31 on the LPGA money list. She has used up 3 of her 6 sponsor exemptions. She will be using her fourth this coming week in Canada.

Brittany Lincicome had her cut streak snapped at 26.

The Symetra Tour, Road to the LPGA, begins the Midwest swing with the second annual FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship from Friday, June 5 through Sunday, June 7 at Battle Creek Country Club in Battle Creek, Michigan. After a week off, the Tour starts a stretch of five weeks in a row and eight events in the next nine weeks. This is the ninth event of the season.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Anna Nordqvist jumps up from #14 to #7, while Christel Boeljon leaps over 163 players and moves from #254 to #91.

Race to the CME Globe: (1 million dollars)
Lydia Ko continues to lead with 2,090 points. She is followed by Inbee Park with 1,976 and Stacy Lewis with 1,632.

Who's Hot:
Maria McBride has 2 top 10 finishes and 3 top 20 finishes in her last 3 starts.

Who's Not:
Chella Choi has missed the cut in her last 3 tournaments.

Be sure to check back here daily for any updates. They will be posted here, at the end of this blog.
Links to all live scoreboards appear at the top of this page. 

Here are the final results:
1Suzann Pettersen-22F
2Brittany Lang-21F
3Mariajo Uribe-18F
4Minjee Lee-16F
4Jacqui Concolino-16F
4So Yeon Ryu-16F
4Cristie Kerr-16F
8Shanshan Feng-15F
9Hyo Joo Kim-14F
9Ilhee Lee-14F
11Jenny Shin-13F
11Inbee Park-13F
11Charley Hull-13F
11Julieta Granada-13F
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