Monday, May 2, 2016

Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic Preview & Pairings

Congratulations go out to Jenny Shin for winning the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout. Jenny shot a final round 4 under par 67, and came out on top by 2 strokes over a trio of players. It was the first victory on the LPGA tour for Shin.

The LPGA moves to the state of Alabama this week for the playing of the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic. Many of you might recall last year's shocking finish, when Kris Tamulis shot a final round 65, to beat Yani Tseng by a single stroke. It was her first career victory since joining the tour in 2005.

Kris Tamulis holds up the winning trophy after her shocking victory.

This will be tournament #12 of 33 on this year's LPGA schedule.

Here are the key details:

Course:  RTJ Golf Trail, Capitol Hill, Senator Course
Location:  Prattville, Alabama
Defending Champion: Kris Tamulis
Winning Score:  71-68-67-65 = 271 (-17)

Final Field:  144 players
Par:  36/36 = 72
Yardage:  6,599
Purse:  $1,300,000

My strength of field rating is 55%. Although it is the second weakest field of the year, it is up considerably from last year when it had a rating of just 37%.
Twenty -nine of the top 50 players from the LPGA Priority List, and 23 of the top 50 players from this week's Rolex Rankings will be teeing it up. This week's field will include the #4 and #5 players in the world, Stacy Lewis and Brooke Henderson. Not in attendance this week include the following players: Lydia Ko, Inbee Park, Sei Young Kim, Lexi Thompson, In Gee Chun, Shanshan Feng, Suzann Pettersen, Ha Na Jang, Na Yeon Choi, Cristie Kerr, and this past week's winner, Jenny Shin.

Here are the pairings for round 1.

Here are the television times:
May 05 - GC 12:30 PM-2:30 PM ET 
May 06 - GC 12:30 PM-2:30 PM ET 
May 07 - GC 3:00 PM-5:00 PM ET
May 08 - GC 3:00 PM-5:00 PM ET

Here are my Pak Picker picks for this week's tournament:
1- Amy Yang
2- Brooke Henderson
3- Gerina Piller
4- Ariya Jutanugarn
5- Haru Nomura
6- Stacy Lewis
7- Hyo Joo Kim
8- Minjee Lee
9- Charley Hull
10- M.J. Hur
11- So Yeon Ryu
12- Candie Kung
My alternates this week are  Carlotta Ciganda, Cristie Kerr, and Anna Nordqvist.
My spot on picking last week was good for a top 3 finish. I am currently in 2nd place for the year among the 19 participants.

Other Tidbits:
Both Minjee Lee and Lexi Thompson saw their cut streaks come to an end this week at 22 straight.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Gerina Piller makes the most important move this week, jumping from #20 to #17. She is now just 2 spots away from making the Olympic team. Jenny Shin rises from # 38 to #24, and M. J. Hur leaps from #71 to #53.

Race to the CME Globe: (1 Million Dollars)
Lydia Ko continues to lead with 2,119 points. She is followed by Ha Na Jang with 1,449, Haru Nomura with 1,442, Sei Young Kim with 1,254, and Brooke Henderson with 1,078.

Fight for Olympic Spots:
Cristie Kerr remains in the #16 position in the Rolex Rankings, she will have to move up one more spot to qualify. As mentioned above, Gerina Piller moves up to #17, just 2 spots short of qualifying for the team. Even more intriguing is the jockeying going on among the South Korean players. Amy Yang jumps past Ha Na Jang this week, knocking Ha Na out of both the Olympic and International Crown teams. Amy joins Inbee Park, Sei Young Kim, and In Gee Chun as players who would be on both those teams as of today. It would appear that the slipping So Yeon Ryu would need a quick victory to get back into those races.  

Who's Hot:
Gerina Piller who has still not gotten that first LPGA win, has finished 6th, 6th, 3rd, and 2nd in her last 4 tournaments. She has also not finished worse than 13th in her last 6.

Who's Not:
Julieta Granada has missed the cut in 6 of her 11 starts this year, with a best finish of 38th place. Sun Young Yoo has missed the cut in her last 3 starts.

Here are the Final Results:

1Ariya Jutanugarn-14F
2Amy Yang-13F
2Morgan Pressel-13F
2Stacy Lewis-13F
5Caroline Hedwall-12F
6Candie Kung-11F
6Hee Young Park-11F
6Minjee Lee-11F
6Ryann O'Toole-11F
10Brittany Lang-10F
10Gerina Piller-10F
10So Yeon Ryu-10F
13Carlota Ciganda-9F
13Pornanong Phatlum-9F
15Sarah Jane Smith-8F
15Jing Yan-8F
15Cydney Clanton-8F
15Laetitia Beck-8F
19Lindy Duncan-7F
19Anna Nordqvist-7F
19Jodi Ewart Shadoff-7F

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. Brooke M's top 10 streak ended but is primed this week to move into the Rolex #4 slot. The T19 enabled her to gain points on Lewis and is now only .01 behind. Also best wishes to Stephanie Meadow do well this week and take a step towards the form she displayed at the 2014 USWO.

  2. The field strength is poor and it says a lot when past winner and American Lexi Thompson prefers to go to Japan and play in the World Ladies Championship Salonpas Cup this week despite all the points to be possibly gained here. Maybe this is where her game is at at the moment..