Monday, October 31, 2016

Toto Japan Classic Preview, Pairings, and More

Congratulations go out to Shanshan Feng for winning the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia. Shanshan shot a final round 67 to finish up with a total of 267 (-17), which was three strokes better than runner up Suzann Pettersen.

A few weeks ago I asked for some suggestions to make this blog better. I have gotten a number of e-mails on the subject. Some of the ideas I actually like and will be incorporating them starting next season. One of the ideas I would like to start now. A number of people suggested a quiz question, as they thought it might not only be fun, but also educational. So here goes:

With Shanshan Feng 's win this past week, the LPGA has now had winners from 11 different countries this season. How many countries can you name (Answer will be at bottom of page).

This week the LPGA moves to Japan for the playing of the Toto Japan Classic.
Many of you may remember last year's exciting finish which resulted in a three way playoff. Sun-Ju Ahn birdied the first playoff hole to claim her first LPGA victory.  Ji-Hee Lee and Angela Stanford both missed their birdie putts.

Image result for ahn wins toto japan classic
Sun-Ju Ahn holds up her trophy afer winning the 3-way playoff.

This will be tournament # 31 of 33 on this yea's LPGA schedule.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Taiheiyo Club - Minori Course (this is a change of venue from last year's event).
Location:  Ibaraki, Japan
Defending Champion:  Sun-Ju Ahn
Winning Score:  68-65-67 = 200 (-16)

Final Field:  78 players
Par:  36/36 = 72
Yardage:  6,506
Purse:  $1,500,000

This is a 54 hole tournament!

Image result for Haru nomura
Japanese star Haru Nomura will be trying to win for the 3rd time on the LPGA tour this year.

My strength of field rating is 57%, up from just 44% last year. The construction of this field is very different from any other field on the LPGA schedule. There are only 43 players in the field that are LPGA members. The field will be led by Lydia Ko, Ariya Jutanugarn, In Gee Chun, and Lexi Thompson. Top tier players skipping the event this week include: Brooke Henderson (finally taking a week off), Amy Yang, Anna Nordqvist, Mirim Lee, Gerina Piller, and Chella Choi.

The field will have an unusual number of highly ranked International stars. They will include:
  • Bo-Me Lee (#16 in Rolex Rankings)
  • Jiyai Shin (#26)
  • Teresa Lu (#30)
  • Sun-Ju Ahn (#33) 
  • Ha-Nuel Kim (#41)
  • Ritsuko Ryu (#42)
  • Ai Suzuki (#47)
  • Ji-Hee Lee (#54)
  • Shiho Oyama (#62)
  • Ayaka Wantanabe (#66)
  • Mi-Jeong Jeon (#68)
  • Erica Kikuchi (#71)
  • Momoko Ueda (#95)
  • Mizuza Narita (#97)
Here are the first round pairings.

Here are the television times:
GC Friday November 4 - 10:00 a.m. - 12:30 a.m. ET (tape delay)
GC Saturday November 5 - 10:00 a.m. - to 12:30 a.m. ET (tape delay)
GC Sunday November 6 - 8:30 a.m. - to 11:30 a.m. ET (tape delay)

The rounds will be long over before they are televised by GC. They did have  some live streaming for this past weekend's tournament, hopefully they will do the same for this.

Here are my Pak Picker Pics for this week's tournament:
1- Ariya Jutanugarn
2- Lydia Ko
3- Shanshan Feng
4- In Gee Chun
5- Lexi Thompson
6- Sei Young Kim
7- Jiyai Shin
8- Ji Hee Lee
9- Haru Nomura
10- So Yeon Ryu
11- Ha Na Jang
12- M.J. Hur
My alternates are: Sun-Ju Ahn, Suzann Pettersen, and Jessica Korda

Other Tidbits:
Shanshan Feng's victory this year was her first since winning the same event 2 years ago. She had 23 top 10 finishes in between those 2 wins.

Rolex Movers of the Week:
Shanshan Feng makes the most important move, jumping jumping from #11 to #8, knocking Amy Yang out of the top ten. We had a number of players jump up exactly six spots this week they include: Azahara Munoz (54-46), Danielle Kang (77-71), and Kim Kaufman (90-84).

Race to the CME Globe:
Ariya Jutanugarn continues to lead with 4,416 points. She is followed by Lydia Ko with 4,365, and Brooke Henderson with 3,186. The top 3 finishes are the only players that have their fate in their own hands (A victory for any one of them at the CME will win the million dollar bonus).

Who's Hot:
Shanshan Feng has finished in the top four the last five weeks. Carlota Ciganda has three consecutive top ten finishes.

Who's Not:
Na Yeon Choi has failed to finish better than 50th in her last 14 starts on the LPGA tour. She has now been dropped from this week's field list.
Stacy Lewis has failed to register a top twenty finish in her last 4 starts.

Trivia Answer:
The eleven countries are - The United States, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Canada, Sweden, Germany, Spain, and Mainland China.

Here are the final results:
1 Shanshan Feng -13
2 Ha-Na Jang -12
3 So Yeon Ryu -10
3 Kotone Hori -10
3 Sun Ju Ahn -10
3 Soo-Yun Kang -10
7 Pornanong Phatlum -9
7 Mi Hyang Lee -9
7 Suzann Pettersen -9
10 Minjee Lee -8
10 Sandra Gal -8
10 Jenny Shin -8
10 Ariya Jutanugarn -8
14 Lexi Thompson -7
14 Charley Hull -7
14 Megumi Kido -7
14 Ritsuko Ryu -7
14 Jiyai Shin -7
19 Jessica Korda -6
19 Akane Iijima -6
19 Mo Martin -6
19 Xi Yu Lin -6
19 In Gee Chun -6
19 Haru Nomura -6
19 Jodi Ewart Shadoff -6
19 Danielle Kang -6

Be sure to check back here daily for any 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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