Monday, May 23, 2016

LPGA Volvik Championship Preview & Pairings

Congratulations go out to Ariya Jutanugarn for winning the Kingsmill Championship. Ariya's final round 67 was was good enough to win by a single stroke. It was Ariya's 2nd consecutive victory, and vaulted her to #2 on the year's money list.

The biggest winner this past weekend however, may have been the runner-up Su Oh. She is a player with limited playing status, who shot a final round 65 to take home the second place purse of almost $120,000. The LPGA will have a second reshuffle in 2 weeks, and Oh (from Australia) will then get to play much more regularly. It also means that she will finish in the top 80 this year, and have full playing privileges in 2017.

LPGA Player Victoria Elizabeth was on hand to announce this new event.

This week the LPGA moves to the state of Michigan for the inaugural playing of the Volvik Championship. Michigan will now be the host to two tournaments on the LPGA schedule. This tournament will be played in Ann Arbor, while the Meijer Classic will be held in Grand Rapids in a few weeks.

This will be tournament #14 of 33 on the 2016 LPGA schedule.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Travis Pointe Country Club
Location:  Ann Arbor, Michigan
Defending Champion:  This is the inaugural event
Winning score:  N/A

Final Field:  144 players
Par:  36/36 = 72
Yardage:  6,709
Purse:  $1,300,000

My strength of field rating is a mediocre 63%. Thirty-five of the top 50 players from the LPGA Priority List, and 28 of the top 50 players from the Rolex Rankings, will be teeing it up. The field will include such big names as Lydia Ko, Inbee Park (who is still in the field as of now), Lexi Thompson, Sei Young Kim, Brooke Henderson, and Ariya Jutanugarn (trying to win her 3rd straight tournament). Missing from this week's field include: Stacy Lewis, Anna Nordqvist, Morgan Pressel, Ha Na Jang, Na Yeon Choi, Jenny Shin, and Gerina Piller.

Here are the pairings for round 1.

Here are the television times:
May 26 - GC 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM ET (Tape)
May 27 - GC 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM ET (Tape)
May 28 - GC 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM ET
May 29 - GC 3:00 PM - 6:00 PM ET

Here are my Pak Picker Picks for this week's tournament:
1- In Gee Chun
2- Lydia Ko
3- Lexi Thompson
4- Ariya Jutanugarn
5- Sei Young Kim
6- Minjee Lee
7- Amy Yang
8- So Yeon Ryu
9- Shanshan Feng
10- Brooke Henderson
11- Hyo Joo Kim
12- M.J. Hur
My streak of excellent picking continued last week with my 2nd consecutive win (and 3rd in 5 weeks). After the first 13 weeks of the season, I am currently tied for first place among the 18 contestants.

Other Tidbits:
So Yeon Ryu has now made 50 consecutive cuts. 
Carlotta Ciganda had her cut streak stopped at 19.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Sei Young Kim makes the most important move, jumping from #7 to #4. Ariya Jutanugarn leaps from #21 to #13, while Su Oh catapults from #165 to #61.

Race to the CME Globe: (1 Million Dollars)
Lydia Ko still leads with 2,172 points, but Ariya Jutanugarn has now moved into second place with 1,545. Haru Nomura is third with 1,502.

Fight for Olympic Spots:
Gerina Piller moves into the #15 spot in the world rankings, which now qualifies her for an Olympic spot. There were no changes on the South Korean side, as Inbee Park, Sei Young Kim, In Gee Chun, and Amy Yang continue to hold onto spots. That leaves Ha Na Jang (by the smallest of margins), So Yeon Ryu, and Hyo Joo Kim on the outside.

Strange Stat of the week
Seven of the last eight LPGA winners are neither from the USA or South Korea.

Symetra Tour:
Madelene Sagstrom fell one stroke short of getting immediate LPGA playing privileges. She finished second at the Gosling's Dark 'n Stormy Classic. A win would have been her third of the season. She did set a new Symetra Tour record for money earned in a season ($103,181), and incredibly she did it in just 7 starts. Look for her to be up in the big show very soon.  

Who's Hot:
Gerina Piller now has 6 top 10 finishes in a row, and 7 in her last 8 starts. Only Brooke Henderson (8) has more top tens this year.

Who's Not:
Alison Lee has missed 4 straight cuts (in spite of leading the tour in putting average). Kris Tamulis has missed 8 cuts in 11 starts.

Here are the Final Results:

1Ariya Jutanugarn-15F
2Christina Kim-10F
3Brooke Mackenzie Henderson-9F
3Suzann Pettersen-9F
3Jessica Korda-9F
6Lexi Thompson-7F
6Azahara Munoz-7F
6Marina Alex-7F
6Hyo Joo Kim-7F
10Angela Stanford-6F
11Brittany Altomare-5F
11In Gee Chun-5F
11Gaby Lopez-5F
11Lindy Duncan-5F
11Sadena Parks-5F

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. What about Kerr/Lincicome? I feel length is very imperative when it comes to this course and the shots necessary to win!

  2. If it plays 6700 yards like the website says, length will be a factor. Lincicome played well last week but has had trouble putting 2 good starts together. She is certainly capable. Kerr needs to win to get an Olympic spot, but hasn't played all that well this year.

  3. This should be a good course for Brooke M and her Ping-48. Just needs to heat up that putter (like Lincicome) and a pairing with Lincicome and Kerr might be good. So far this month, Brooke has missed 3 chances to pass Lewis in the Rolex rankings but a top 10 this week should do it. Finally, the 2015 rookie class has really performed this year with 7 wins in 13 events. Still no one with a major, yet.

  4. Chun made the top of my rankings as well base on her stats this year and the way it correlates to the course. I was watching the GC and it personally seems to me there's no chance Lincicome or Kerr surpass Piller in the Olympic rankings, but if Lincicome were to win, would she be in the top 15 necessary to make the Olympics?