Monday, February 29, 2016

HSBC Women's Champions Preview & Pairings

A big congratulations goes out to Lexi Thompson for winning the Honda LPGA Thailand. It was quite a performance, and although she was pressed by In Gee Chun for most of the final round, she won by a very comfortable six strokes. It was the 7th LPGA Victory for the 21 year old superstar.

Lexi Thompson has now added a 7th LPGA trophy to her fast growing collection.

This week the LPGA moves to Singapore for the playing of the HSBC Women's Champions.
This tournament was won in 2015 by Inbee Park, who held off the charging Lydia Ko for a two stroke victory.

Defending Champion Inbee Park

This will be tournament #5 of 33 on the 2016 LPGA schedule.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Sentosa Golf Club, The Serapong Course.
Location:  Singapore
Defending Champion:  Inbee Park
Winning Score:  66-69-68-70 = 273 (-15)

Final Field: 63 players
Par:  36/36 = 72
Yardage:  6,600
Purse:  $1,500,000

My strength of field rating is a very strong 79% (up from 70% last year). This will be one of the stronger non major championship fields that you will see this year. Forty-nine of the top 50 players on the LPGA Priority List (Line Vedel is out with an injury) will be teeing it up this week. Forty-three of the top 50 players from the Rolex Rankings will also be in attendance. The only reason why my field rating isn't higher, is that this is a small field of 63 players, and lacks the the depth of a major championship. Players that did not get into the field include: Q-Baek, Jaye Marie Green, Wei-Ling Hsu, Caroline Masson, Danielle Kang, Catriona Matthew, and Moriya Jutanugarn. Those players, and a few others, are good enough that their absence does lower my rating.

Here are the pairings for round 1:

Here are the television times:
GC Wednesday March 2 - 10:30 pm - 2:30 a.m. ET
GC Friday  March 4 - 12:00 mid. - 2:30 a.m. ET
GC Saturday March 5 - 12 mid - 2:30 a.m. ET 
GC Sunday March 6 - 12:00 mid. - 2:30 a.m. ET

Here are my Pak Picker Picks for this week's tournament:
1-In Gee Chun
2- Lydia Ko
3- Ha Na Jang
4- Lexi Thompson
5- Amy Yang
6- Inbee Park
7- Stacy Lewis
8- Sei Young Kim
9- Minjee Lee
10- Hyo Joo Kim
11- Brooke Henderson
12- Charley Hull
My alternates are: Shanshan Feng, Haru Nomura, and Chella Choi.

For those serious LPGA fans (Colon N.Z, SLG) why not give Pak Picker a try. It's all in good fun and it's free. For those interested, here is the link to the website. http://seoulsisters.freeforums.net/
It is still early as we still have 29 more contests this year.

Other Tidbits:
Ariya Jutanugarn was assessed a 2 stroke penalty for showing up late at at the first tee of the first round.

Xi Yu Lin won a brand new automobile when she aced the 16th hole of round 2.

The battle to qualify for the Korean International Crown team is a fierce one. They currently have 7 players in the top 15, but the maximum per country is 4 players. As of today's rankings Inbee Park (#2), Sei Young Kim (#5), In Gee Chun (#6), and Amy Yang (#7), would make the team. So Yeon Ryu (#8), Ha Na Jang (#10), and Hyo Joo Kim (#11), would not make the team. This is going to change on a weekly basis, and definitely bears watching.  

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Lexi Thompson became the highest ranked American player this week as she passes Stacy Lewis and moves up to #3 in the world. In Gee Chun leaps up from #10 to #6, while Amy Yand jumps up from #12 to #7. On the downside, Hyo Joo Kim falls out of the top 10, falling from #8 to #11.

Race to the CME Globe: (1 Million Dollars)
Ha Na Jang leads with 790 points. She is followed by Haru Nomura with 730, and Lexi Thompson with 634.

Who's Hot:
Lexi Thompson has 3 wins and 9 top ten finishes in her last 13 starts, dating back to last year. Only Lydia Ko with 3 wins and 10 top tens over that same period has done better. 

Ha Na Jang and Haru Nomura are the only players to finish in the top 15 in all four of this year's tournaments.

Who's Not:
Morgan Pressel has failed to register a top 50 finish so far this year.

Here are the final results:

1Ha-Na Jang-19F
2Pornanong Phatlum-15F
3Amy Yang-11F
4Candie Kung-10F
4Chella Choi-10F
4Na Yeon Choi-10F
4Ariya Jutanugarn-10F
4Mirim Lee-10F
9Gerina Piller-9F
9Suzann Pettersen-9F
9Stacy Lewis-9F
9Brooke Mackenzie Henderson-9F
13Sandra Gal-8F
13Shanshan Feng-8F
15Mika Miyazato-7F
15Lydia Ko-7F
15Hyo Joo Kim-7F
15Paula Creamer-7F
19Morgan Pressel-6F
19Lexi Thompson-6F
19Karrie Webb-6F
19Jessica Korda-6F
19Cristie Kerr-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.

For full scoreboard see link on top of this page.


Update - In Gee Chun withdrew before the start of play with a back injury

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Sunday, February 28, 2016

Lexi Thompson Becomes New #1 American Golfer!

When the official Rolex Rankings come out tomorrow, Lexi Thompson will be the new #1 American ranked player in the world.

Lexi will pass Stacy Lewis, who held the #1 American title since May of 2012 (195 weeks), and move up to #3 in the overall world rankings.


Lexi holds up her winning trophy.


She won the Honda LPGA Thailand by the amazing margin of 6 strokes over 2nd place finisher In Gee Chun. But it was not anywhere near as easy as that margin indicates. Lexi started the final round with a four stroke lead, but when In Gee birdied the first 3 holes, it was quickly down to one. Lexi turned it on from there, playing almost perfect golf the rest of the way. Her birdies on 6 and 8 gave her a 2 stroke advantage at the turn. When she eagled the par 5 10th hole, she increased her lead to three strokes, which seemed to take In Gee out of her game. In Gee would then bogey holes 11, 14, and 16 thus playing to maintain second place. She bounced back nicely with a birdie on the final hole to take the runner-up position. Lexi would birdie again on #15 to get to -20.

Lexi gets a champagne bath from Paula Creamer and Jaye Marie Green.

It was an awesome performance by the just turned 21 year old Thompson, as she won for the 7th time on the LPGA Tour. Her winning score of 64-72-64-68 = 268 (-20), was the best winning score of her career.

When asked when she thought she had the tournament won, she replied "I never like to count it as a win until it is over. She (In Gee) was playing unbelievable with a three birdie start there, and I knew I had to make birdies to stop her. I was just trying to focus on my game and nobody else's out there."

Lexi also became the first American player to win this tournament in its 10 year history.

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Monday, February 22, 2016

Honda LPGA Thailand Preview & Pairings

A big congratulations goes out to Hara Nomura who won the ISPS LPGA Australian Open. It was her first victory on the LPGA Tour. She did it in spectacular fashion, taking down the world's #1 player Lydia Ko. Nomura birdied the 10th, 13th, 15th, 16th, and 17th hole to finish 3 strokes ahead of Ko.


Hara Nomura is all smiles as she wins her first LPGA trophy

The LPGA moves to the Thailand for the playing of the Honda LPGA Thailand. Many of you may remember last year's exciting finish when Amy Yang won this event by 2 strokes over Yani Tseng, Stacy Lewis, and Mirim Lee.

Amy Yang will be trying to defend her title this week in Thailand

This will be tournament #4 of 33 on this year's LPGA schedule.

Here are the key details:

Coarse:  Siam Country Club, Pattaya Old Course
Location:  Chonburi, Thailand
Defending Champion:  Amy Yang
Winning Score:  67-66-71-69 = 273 (-15)

Final Field:  70 Players
Par:  36/36 = 72
Yardage:  6,548
Purse:  $1,600,000

My strength of field is a very solid 78.50%. In spite of the fact that it is missing the #1 player in the world, most all the other top players will be there. The only reason my field rating isn't even higher than it is, is because the small field of just 70 players lacks depth. Forty-seven of the top 50 players from the LPGA Priority List, and 42 of the top 50 players from this week's Rolex Rankings will be teeing it up. Those not in attendance this week include: Lydia Ko, Brooke Henderson, and Alison Lee.

Here are the pairings for round one.

Here are the television times:
GC Thursday February 25 - 1:00 a.m. - 5:00 a.m. ET
GC Friday  February 26 - 1:00 a.m. - 5:00 a.m. ET
GC Saturday February 27 - 1:00 a.m. - 5:00 a.m. ET 
GC Sunday February 28 - 1:00 a.m. - 5:00 a.m. ET
There is a 12 hour time differential between Thailand and U.S. ET. All broadcasts should be live.

Here are my Pak Picker Picks for this week's tournament:
1- Stacy Lewis (She's overdue)
2- Inbee Park (Is her back an issue?)
3- Yani Tseng (Has always had success here)
4- Ha Na Jang
5- Sei Young Kim
6- Hyo Joo Kim
7- Lexi Thompson
8- Shanshan Feng
9- Amy Yang
10- Suzann Pettersen
11- Anna Nordqvist
12- In Gee Chun
My 3 alternates are: Charley Hull, Mirim Lee, and Minjee Lee.
After the first 3 tournaments of the year, I am currently in 5th place among the 17 contestants.

Other Tidbits:
Wei-Ling Hsu missed the cut this past week for the first time in her last 14 starts.
Stephanie Kono made the cut this past week after missing her last 18.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Hara Nomura vaults up from #67 to #48, while Karrie Webb jumps from #34 to #29.

Race to the CME Globe: (1 million dollars)
Ha Na Jang leads with 705 points. She is followed by Haru Nomura with 620, and Hyo Joo Kim with 538.

Who's Hot:
Ha Na Jang and Haru Nomura are the only 2 players to finish in the top 15 in all 3 tournaments this year.

Who's Not:
Ayako Uehara and Maria McBride have missed the cut in all 3 of this year's tournaments.

Here are the final scores:

1Lexi Thompson-20F
2In Gee Chun-14F
3Jessica Korda-13F
3Amy Yang-13F
5Chella Choi-11F
5Haru Nomura-11F
5Hee Young Park-11F
8Minjee Lee-10F
8Ha-Na Jang-10F
10Xi Yu Lin-9F
11Kyu Jung Baek-8F
12Pornanong Phatlum-7F
13Angela Stanford-6F
13Kim Kaufman-6F
15Wei Ling Hsu-5F
16Carlota Ciganda-4F
16Pernilla Lindberg-4F
18Na Yeon Choi-3F
18Kris Tamulis-3F
18In-Kyung Kim-3F
18Lee-Anne Pace-3F
18Candie Kung-3F
18Anna Nordqvist-3F

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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Monday, February 15, 2016

ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open Preview & Pairings

After a one week break the LPGA heads to Australia for the playing of the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open.

This tournament has a history of very close and very exciting finishes. Who could ever forget 2012, when Jessica Korda won in a 6 player playoff. Or the following year when Jiyai Shin battled it out with Yani Tseng for 72 holes, with Jiyai winning by 2 strokes. In 2013, nine players finished within 3 strokes of the lead with Karrie Webb being the eventual winner. Last year Lydia Ko brought home the trophy with a two stroke win over runner up Amy Yang.

Lydia Ko holds up her 2015 Australian Open trophy.

This will be tournament #3 of 33 on this year's LPGA schedule.

Here are the key details:

Course:  The Grange Golf Club, West Course
Location: Grange, South Australia
Defending Champion: Lydia Ko
Winning Score:  70-70-72-69 = 283 (-9)

Final Field: 156 players
Par 36/36 = 72
Yardage:  6,600
Purse: $1,300,000

My strength of field rating is a very low 31.50% (down from 48%) last year. Just 15 of the top 50 players on the LPGA Priority List, and 11 of the top 50 players from the Rolex Rankings will be teeing it up. Lydia Ko, Ha Na Jang, Brooke Henderson and Minjee Lee are among the top players who will be teeing it up. Mo Martin (#57 in the Rolex Rankings), is the highest ranked American in attendance.

Here are the pairings for round 1:

Here are the television times:
Wednesday February 17 - GC 11:00 PM - 2:00 AM ET
Thursday February 18 - GC 11:30 PM - 2:00 AM ET
Friday February 19 - GC 11:30 PM - 2:00 AM ET
Saturday February 20 - GC 9:00 PM - 2:00 AM ET

I believe that all the above broadcasts are live. There is a 16 hour time differential between East Coast time and Australia.

Here are my Pak Picker Picks for this week's tournament:
1- Lydia Ko
2- Minjee Lee
3- Brooke Henderson
4- Ha Na Jang
5- Charley Hull
6- Karrie Webb
7- Jiyai Shin
8- Mika Miyazato
9- Chella Choi
10- Jenny Shin
11- Hara Nomura
12- Xi Yu Lin
My 3 alternates this week are: Karine Icher, Catriona Matthew, and Gwladys Nocera
With the weak field this week, this is the first time ever that I did not pick one American player.

Other Tidbits:
The ISPS Handa New Zealand Women's Open was held this weekend, with Lydia Ko taking home the winner's trophy.

Nelly Korda will be making her debut this week as a member of the Symetra Tour.

Update #1 - The following 3 players were local qualifiers:
1- Eunwoo Choi - 69
2- Eun Jeong Seong - 69
3- Hye-Jin Choi - 70

Update #2:
Nelly Korda has just announced that she is turning pro effective immediately. This now means any part of the purse she wins in this week's Symetra event, is hers to keep. 

Here are the Final Standings 3:



1Haru Nomura-16F
2Lydia Ko-13F
3Karrie Webb-9F
4Charley Hull-8F
4Beth Allen-8F
4Min Seo Kwak-8F
4Ha-Na Jang-8F
4Danielle Kang-8F
9Brooke Mackenzie Henderson-7F
9Georgia Hall-7F
9Annie Park-7F
9Catriona Matthew-7F
9Jenny Shin-7F
14Su-Hyun Oh-6F
14Ryann O'Toole-6F
14Caroline Masson-6F
17Lindy Duncan-5F
17Gaby Lopez-5F
17Xi Yu Lin-5F
20Hannah Green-4F
20Minjee Lee-4F
20Kylie Walker-4F
20Jodi Ewart Shadoff-4F


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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.