Monday, March 21, 2016

Kia Classic Preview & Pairings

Congratulations go out Sei Young Kim for winning the JTBC Founders Cup. It was a very dominant performance as she took control early in the fourth round and never looked back, winning by 5 strokes over Lydia Ko. In doing so, she tied the all time LPGA record of -27 under par.

This week the LPGA moves to the state of California for the playing of the Kia Classic. Cristie Kerr will be trying to defend the title she won last year, when she birdied the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th holes on Sunday, to finish 2 strokes better than Mirim Lee, and 3 strokes better than Lydia Ko. Her score of -20 under par was a new tournament record.

In the previous six years that this tournament has been played, we have had winners from 6 different countries:

2010 - Hee Kyung Seo - South Korea
2011 - Sandra Gal - Germany
2012 - Yani Tseng - Taiwan
2013 - Beatriz Recari - Spain
2014 - Anna Nordqvist - Sweden
2015 - Cristie Kerr - U.S.A.

Cristie Kerr holds up her 2015 Kia Classic Trophy

This will be tournament #7 of 33 tournaments on this year's LPGA schedule.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Aviara Golf Club
Location: Carlsbad, California
Defending Champion: Cristie Kerr 
Winning Score:  67- 68 - 68 - 65 = 275 (-20)

Final Field:  144 players
Par 36/36 = 72
Yardage:  6,593 yards
Purse:  $1,700,000

My strength of field rating is a very strong 84% (down from 88.5% last year), making it the strongest field of the year so far. Last year this tournament had the strongest field of any non major championship. The players missing in action this week include: Amy Yang, In Gee Chun, and So Yeon Ryu. 

Here are the first round pairings.

Here are the television times:
Mar 24 - GC 8:00 PM-10:00 PM ET (Tape)
Mar 25 - GC 8:00 PM-10:00 PM ET (Tape)
Mar 26 - GC 6:00 PM-9:00 PM ET
Mar 27 - GC 6:00 PM-9:00 PM ET

Here are my Pak Picker Picks for this week's tournament:
1- Lydia Ko
2- Stacy Lewis
3- Ha Na Jang
4- Sei Young Kim
5- Lexi Thompson
6- Brooke Henderson
7- Hyo Joo Kim
8- Inbee Park
9- Anna Nordqvist
10- Cristie Kerr
11- Paula Creamer
12- Minjee Lee
My alternates are: Shanshan Feng, Jessica Korda, and Sung-Hyun Park.

Other Tidbits:
The cut at the Founders Cup this past week was -3 under par. The LPGA record is -4 under par. The cut was not kind to many of the LPGA stars. Inbee Park, Jessica Korda, Suzann Pettersen, Chella Choi, Karrie Webb, Ilhee Lee, and Hee Young Park, all did not make it to the weekend. It also was not kind to players who had existing cut streaks as: Lizette Salas (20), Danielle Kang (16), and Sandra Gal (15), all saw those streaks come to an end. On the other hand, Vicky Hurst, who had missed her last 18 cuts, made the cut this week.

Brooke Henderson has four consecutive top ten finishes. The only player on the LPGA to do so. 

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Sei Young Kim made the most important move jumping from #7 to #5. Other big moves include: Brooke Henderson (10 to 8), Paula Creamer (54 to 40), Kim Kaufman (77 to 67), and Ryann O'Toole (107 to 87). 

Race to the CME Globe: (1 Million Dollars)
Hana Jang continues to lead with 1,350 points. She is followed by: Sei Young Kim (1,027), Lydia Ko (846), Haru Nomura (775), and Lexi Thompson (686).

Who's Hot:
Just about everyone playing under the South Korean Flag.

Who's Not:
Michelle Wie does not have a top 20 finish this year. Julietta Granada's best finish this year is a tie for 38th, with 3 missed cuts.

UPDATE 1 - The Monday local qualifiers are Dewi Clair Schreefel and Hannah Collier.

UPDATE 2 - Alison Lee after shooting +14 over par, has withdrawn from the tournament.
Here are the Final Scores:

1Lydia Ko-19F
2Inbee Park-15F
3Ai Miyazato-12F
4Jenny Shin-11F
4Sung Hyun Park-11F
6Gerina Piller-10F
6Shanshan Feng-10F
6Hyo Joo Kim-10F
6Jessica Korda-10F
10Brooke Mackenzie Henderson-9F
10Brittany Lang-9F
12Anna Nordqvist-8F
12Mi Jung Hur-8F
12Suzann Pettersen-8F
12Na Yeon Choi-8F
16Carlota Ciganda-7F
16Ha-Na Jang-7F
16Candie Kung-7F
16Haru Nomura-7F
20Lizette Salas-6F
20Holly Clyburn-6F
20Gaby Lopez-6F
20Minjee Lee-6F

Be sure to check back here daily for any LPGA news or updates.They will be posted here at the bottom of this blog.  Links to all Women's Tour scoreboards can be found at the top of this page.

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  1. With so many Koreans playing such good golf at the start of the season I pretty much expect one of them to win the Kia. My predictiion is Koreans will have 20 or more victories this season on the tour.

  2. Hey thanks for the updates, always entertaining. Do you have a source to follow streaks for consecutive cuts made? I would like to see the top 20 or something like that. thanks again. Bruce

    1. No source. I just chart all the player results myself.

    2. thanks. If you could publish a top 20, I would be very interested. Thanks for all your work. Bruce

    3. If you look back on my Stats & Facts blog I did a couple of weeks back, the cut leaders are listed there.

  3. Yes, Brooke M is on a streak of 4 Top 10s and up to #8 in the Rolex Rankings. Saw her interview after the Founder's Cup and she sounds really hungry for a Win! You're still picking Lewis over BMH48?

  4. Michelle hasn't had a top 10 in over a year.

  5. I'd love to see rookie Rachel Rohanna have a big finish this weekend and earn her way into the ANA Inspiration. Right now I think Megan Khang and Gaby Lopez are the only two rookies who have earned their way into the major by being in the top 80 on the current money list. Rachel is a great kid. She needs to make about 20K this week to get into top 80.

  6. Both Monday qualifiers have missed the weekend. Dewi by one and Collier by a bunch. After a 75% success rate at the first two events it seems the qualifiers are reverting back to historic form and not sniffing the weekend.
    Mr Gee