Monday, September 18, 2017

LPGA Player Profile: Ai Miyazato (and much more)

Let me start off this week by giving a big congratulations to Anna Nordqvist for winning the Evian Championship in a playoff over Brittany Altomare. Both players were not even in the mix as we approached the turn on Sunday, but all the players ahead of them folded to the major championship pressure. Moriya Jutanugarn, who had the lead for most of the round, could not make a single birdie on the back nine and finished in a third place tie. Lydia Ko looked like she would be in the playoff until she bogeyed the final hole to miss out by one shot. Sung Hyun Park, who looked like a runaway winner earlier in the tournament, had a complete meltdown shooting a six over par 42 on the back nine. She failed to even finish in the top twenty-five. For Nordqvist it was her 10th career victory, and 2nd major championship win.


With the LPGA schedule having very few breaks in it the last four months (they played 12 consecutive weeks at one point), I have not done an LPGA profile in quite some time.
As the tour is off this week, it is as good a time as any to fit one in now.

The player I have chosen is Ai Miyazato. As most of you know, she announced at the beginning of the season that she is calling it quits after this year (She played her last tournament this past week at the Evian Championship).

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Ai Miyazato 

Born:  June 19, 1985
Hometown:  Okinawa, Japan
Resides: Okinawa, Japan
Rookie Year:  2006

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Ai Miyazato (2nd from left) was a member of team Japan at the 2014 UL International Crown.

Ai has won 9 times on the LPGA tour.
  • 2012 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship
  • 2012 LPGA Lotte Championship
  • 2011 Evian Ladies Masters
  • 2010 Safeway Classic
  • 2010 ShopRite LPGA Classic
  • 2010 Tres Marias Championship
  • 2010 HSBC Women's Champions
  • 2010 Honda LPGA Thailand
  • 2009 Evian Ladies Masters
Image result for Ai Miyazato
Ai Miyazato holds her 2012 Lotte Championship trophy.

Best finishes in major championships:
  • ANA Inspiration - 15th in 2007
  • KPMG Women's PGA Championship - 3rd in 2006 and 2010
  • U.S. Women's Open - 6th in 2009 and 2011
  • Ricoh Women's British Open - 3rd in 2009
  • The Evian Championship - 15th in 2013

Ai stopped to take this photo with me at the Ricoh British Open in Carnoustie, Scotland in 2011

Career Stats 
  • 265 career starts
  • 215 cuts made (81.1%)
  • 63 top tens (23.8%)
  • Has earned $8,302,365 in prize money (23rd on the all-time LPGA career money list).
Other Career Highlights:
  • Held the #1 spot in the Rolex Rankings for 11 weeks during the 2010 season when she won 5 times.
  • Became the first player since 1966 to win the first two events of a season, winning 2010 Honda LPGA Thailand and the 2010 HSBC Women's Champions.
  • Qualified for the LPGA tour in her first attempt, winning the 2005 LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament by 12 strokes.
  • Won 12 events on the JLPGA tour prior to joining the LPGA.

Links to Previous Player profiles:
Natalie Gulbis
Belen Mozo
Hee Young Park


Other Tidbits:
The Alisports LPGA tournament that was scheduled to be played October 5th through October 8th, has been canceled and is no longer on this year's LPGA schedule.

The last ten LPGA major championships have produced ten different winners.

It was announced this past week that golf has now been added to the 2024 Olympic games.
So Yeon Ryu was the winner of the Annika Major Award, which signifies the player who did the overall best in the 5 major championships this year.

How good have the players from South Korea been this year? This is the first time all season that three tournaments were played without one of them getting a win.


Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week

We have some huge jumps this week. Anna Nordqvist makes the most important move, jumping from #13 to #4. Moriya Jutanugarn surges from #32 to #23, Brittany Altomare makes one of the biggest moves of the year, leaping from #102 to #40, while Katherine Kirk vaults from #77 to #49.

Race to the CME Globe:   (1 million dollars)
Lexi Thompson still has a sizable lead with 3,221 points. She is followed by So Yeon Ryu with 2,691 and Sung Hyun Park with 2,619.

Who's Hot:
Moriya Jutanugarn's third place finish was her 20th top twenty-five finish of the year. That is three more than runner-up Brooke Henderson. 

Non LPGA player Georgia Hall earned her third top ten finish this year in six starts.

Mi Hyang Lee may have gotten off to a terrible start this year, but she sure has made up for it. She has finished in the top 25 in eight of her last ten starts, with four top tens.

Flying under the radar? Ally McDonald has four top 16 finishes in her last five starts.

Who's Not:
Ariya Jutanugarn has now missed the cut in six of her last 7 starts (3 in a row). 

Catriona Matthew has missed four consecutive cuts, and in 17 starts this year has not finished better than 30th.



This Week's Trivia Question: 

What LPGA player has made the most money this season without winning a single tournament?

For the answer to this week's trivia question press here.

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Evian Championship Preview, Pairings and More

Congratulations go out this week to Lexi Thompson for winning the Indy Women In Tech Championship. Lexi and Lydia Ko entered the final round tied for the lead, but Lexi took control early and never looked back. She shot a final round 4 under par 68, which was good enough for an easy 4 shot victory. For the 22 year old Thompson, it was her second win of the season, and 9th of her career. For Ko, it was just her 2nd top five finish of the year. She is still searching for that allusive first victory of the season.

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This week the LPGA travels to France for the playing of the Evian Championship.

In Gee Chun will be trying to defend the title she won last year when she cruised to a four shot victory over So Yeon Ryu and Sung Hyun Park.

The first four major championships of the 2017 season have been won by four different players.
  • ANA Inspiration - So Yeon Ryu
  • KPMG Women's PGA Championship - Danielle Kang
  • U.S. Women's Open - Sung Hyun Park
  • Ricoh Women's British Open - I.K. Kim
Will we get our first repeat major championship winner of 2017?


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In Gee Chun will be trying to successfully defend the Evian Championship title she won in 2016

This will be tournament #26 of 34 on the 2017 LPGA schedule. It is also the fifth and final major of the year. 

Here are the key details:

Course:  Evian Resort Golf Club
Location:  Evian-les-Bains, France
Defending Champion:  In Gee Chun
Winning Score:  63-66-65-69 = 268 (-21)


Final Field:  120 players
Par:  35/36 = 71
Yardage:  6,453
Purse:  $3,650,000 (Increase of $400,000 from last year)



Image result for Evian Resort Golf Club
Evian Resort and Golf Club

My strength of field rating is 79.5 ( down from 85% last year) making it the weakest field of the 5 major championships this year. It is also only the 8th strongest field of the year. Part of the reason for this is the fact that this is a limited field (just 120 players), and doesn't have the firepower from players from other tours (Hye Jin Choi, and Georgia Hall are the exceptions) that the other majors have. Also hurting my rating is the fact that Stacy Lewis, Michelle Wie, Inbee Park, and Lizette Salas are not teeing it up.

That said, this tournament will still have lots of drama. So Yeon Ryu will be trying to hang onto the #1 position, knowing Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park could take her place there with a victory.  There will still be lots of firepower here as 47 of the top 50 players from the LPGA Priority List, and thirty-eight of the top 50 players from the Rolex Rankings will be teeing it up.

Here are the pairings for round one.


Here are the television times:
GC   Thurs. Sept.14  5:00 a.m.- 8:00 a.m. ET
GC   Thurs. Sept.14  9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ET
GC   Friday Sept.15  5:00 a.m.- 8:00 a.m. ET
GC   Friday Sept.15  9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. ET
GC   Saturday Sept.16  6:30 a.m.- 11:30 a.m. ET
GC   Sunday Sept.17  8:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. ET (tape delay)
NBC Sunday Sept.17  12:00 - 1:30 pm. ET (tape delay)

Players most likely to win: (Top players in the field)
1- So Yeon Ryu - Still #1.
2- Lexi Thompson - A win here will put her on top.
3- Sung Hyun Park - Plays big in big events.

Players to watch out for: (I'm feeling it this week)
In Gee Chun - 5 runner-up finishes this year makes her overdue.
Shanshan Feng -  Has finished 4th, 3rd, 10th, 11th, and 4th, the last 5 years.
Cristie Kerr - Because she is still very hungry for those Hall of Fame points.

Longshot picks: (Not likely, but not impossible)
Anna Nordqvist - If she is healthy she will play well here.
Caroline Masson - She has been playing very well the last month.
Emily Pedersen - Because she is not playing well and no one else will be picking her.

Other Tidbits:
Olafia Kristinsdottir's 4th place finish this week was the best finish of her young career. It moved her from #106 to #67 on this year's money list, and guarantees her full time playing privileges in 2018.


Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Not much movement from LPGA players this week. Lexi Thompson moves past Sung Hyun Park into the #2 position. Both Lexi and Park could reach that #1 spot next week with a win at the Evian Championship. Lizette Salas jumps 4 spots to #44, while way down in the rankings Olafia Kristinsdottir makes a huge jump from #300 to #197.

Race to the CME Globe:   (1 million dollars)
Lexi Thompson takes a big lead this week with 3,192 points. She is followed by So Yeon Ryu with 2,652 and Sung Hyun Park with2,563.

Who's Hot:
Lexi Thompson now has 7 top two finishes, and 8 top fives. Both figures lead the LPGA tour.

Brooke Henderson's 5th place finish was her 17th top twenty-five finish of the year. Only Moriya Jutanugarn (19) has more.

Who's Not:
Ssu-Chia Cheng and Julie Yang have both missed 15 consecutive cuts.

This Week's Trivia Question:

The Last American player to win the Evian Championship was in 2007. Can you name that player?

For the answer to this week's trivia question press here.

Update: The first round has been canceled due to rain. All scores have been wiped out. This will now be a 54 hole event starting Friday. 

Here are the final results:

1 *Anna Nordqvist -9
2 Brittany Altomare -9
3 Lydia Ko -8
3 Katherine Kirk -8
3 Moriya Jutanugarn -8
6 Sei Young Kim -7
6 Shanshan Feng -7
8 Jennifer Song -6
9 Mi Hyang Lee -5
10 Georgia Hall -4
10 In-Kyung Kim -4
10 Ayako Uehara -4
13 Ally McDonald -3
14 Hye Jin Choi -2
14 Hyo Joo Kim -2
14 Sandra Gal -2
14 Su-Hyun Oh -2
18 Gaby Lopez -1
18 Cristie Kerr -1
18 Danielle Kang -1
18 Morgan Pressel -1
18 In Gee Chun -1
18 Nicole Broch Larsen -1
18 Eun-Hee Ji -1
18 Angela Stanford -1

* Won playoff



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

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Monday, September 4, 2017

Indy Women In Tech Championship Preview, Pairings, and More

Congratulations go out this week to Stacy Lewis for winning the Cambia Portland Classic. For those who may have missed it, here is the link to my recap.

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This week the LPGA travels to the state on Indiana for the playing of the Women in Tech Championship Presented by Guggenheim. This is the inaugural playing of this event, and it will be played in and around the famed oval racetrack.

This will be tournament #25 of 34 on this year's LPGA schedule:

Here are the key details:

Course:  Brickyard Crossing Golf Club
Location:  Indianapolis, Indiana
Defending Champion:  This is the inaugural playing of this event
Winning Score:  N/A

Final Field: 144 players
Par:  36/36 = 72
Yardage:  6,599
Purse:  $2,000,000

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Brickyard Crossing Golf Club
My strength of field rating is 52%. Thirty-one of the top 50 players from the LPGA Priority List, and twenty of the top 50 players from the Rolex Rankings will be teeing it up. Star players teeing it up this week include: Lexi Thompson, Lydia Ko, Brooke Henderson, Sei Young Kim, and Anna Nordqvist. Players skipping the event this week include: So Yeon Ryu, Sung Hyun Park, Ariya Jutanugarn, In Gee Chun, and Shanshan Feng.

Here are the first round pairings.


Here are the television times:
GC September 7  3:00 PM - 6:00 PM ET
GC September 8  3:00 PM - 6:00 PM ET
GC September 9  12:30 PM - 3:30 PM ET

This is a three day event this year only! It will start on Thursday and end on Saturday.

Back in April the LPGA released the following statement:

"The $2 million tournament will be played from Sept. 7-9, giving the world's top female golfers the incentive to come to Indy and still have time to travel to France for the season’s final major, the Sept. 14-17 Evian Championship."
"Alternative date options will be considered by LPGA officials and tournament organizers for future years with a time frame that suits both the LPGA travel schedule and the Indianapolis sporting calendar while also allowing for four rounds of competition."

Players most likely to win: (Top players in the field)
Lexi Thompson - Highest ranked player in field could close in on #1 position.
Lydia Ko - Second highest ranked player in field has not been playing well.
Brooke Henderson - Has moved up to #4 on this year's money list.

Players to watch out for: (I'm feeling it this week)
Anna Nordqvist - Should beat up on this field.
Cristie Kerr - Ditto.
Stacy Lewis - New found confidence?

Longshot picks: (Not likely, but not impossible)
Gerina Piller - Coming off top 5 finish.
Angel Yin - Nobody is really a longshot in this mediocre field.
Chella Choi - Could sneak in this week.


Other Tidbits:
The LPGA announced that the Kingsmill Championship contract has been extended three more years, through the year 2020.

Brittany Altomare's 3rd place finish this past week was the best finish in her career.

The win by Stacy Lewis was the 5th win by a USA player this season. They only had two all of last year.

Ai Miyazato played her final tournament on American soil. She went out in style with a 5th place finish. It was her first top ten in 30 tournaments.


Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Not much movement this week. Sung Hyun Park (although she was idle) sneaks into the #2 position. Stacy Lewis moves up a couple of spots to #16, while Brittany Altomare leaps up from #126 to #98. Lydia Ko drops yet another spot to #8.

Race to the CME Globe:   (1 million dollars)
Lexi Thompson takes over the lead with 2,692 points. She is follwed by So Yeon Ryu with 2,652 and Sung Hyun Park with 2,563.

Who's Hot:
In Gee Chun finished in 2nd place for the fifth time this year. Lexi Thompson also has 5 second place finishes. 

Jane Park's 9th place finish was her 2nd consecutive top ten finish.

Who's Not:
Na Yeon Choi has failed to finish better than 43rd place in any of her 16 starts this season, missing 10 cuts.

This Week's Trivia Question:

Who holds the record for winning the Vare Trophy with the lowest per round average in LPGA history?


For the answer to this week's trivia question press here.


UPdate #1 - The local qualifiers are:
Louise Stahle (SWE) -4 69
Erica Shepherd - (USA) -2 71

Here are the final results :

1 Lydia Ko -15 F
1 Lexi Thompson -15 F
3 Candie Kung -14 F
4 Ashleigh Buhai -11 F
5 Cristie Kerr -10 F
5 Amy Olson -10 F
7 Olafia Kristinsdottir -9 F
7 Marissa Steen -9 F
7 Moriya Jutanugarn -9 F
7 Lizette Salas -9 F
7 Minjee Lee -9 F
7 Brooke Henderson -9 F
13 Ayako Uehara -8 F
13 Holly Clyburn -8 F
13 Haeji Kang -8 F
16 Ally McDonald -7 F
16 Mi Hyang Lee -7 F
16 Kim Kaufman -7 F
16 Marina Alex -7 F
16 Hannah Burke -7 F
16 Sandra Gal -7 F
16 Thidapa Suwannapura -7 F
23 Melissa Reid -6 F
23 Kris Tamulis -6 F
23 Austin Ernst -6 F
23 Brittany Lang -6 F
23 Beth Allen -6 F
23 Sei Young Kim -6 F
23 Caroline Masson -6 F


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





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Sunday, September 3, 2017

Stacy Lewis Wins Cambia Classic. Donates Purse to Hurricane Relief.

Stacy Lewis won the Cambia Portland Classic today and donated her entire winnings ($195,000) to the hurricane relief fund in her hometown of Houston, Texas.

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Stacy Lewis donated her entire winner's check to the hurricane relief fund.

Stacy took a 4 shot lead into the final round on Sunday. When she increased that lead to 5 strokes early in the round, it looked like it was going to be easy.

It was anything but!

When In Gee Chun birdied the 13th hole she crept to within 2 strokes of the lead. She then had a very makeable putt on 14 to get within one, but couldn't get it to drop. When both players parred the 15th hole, Stacy still had a two stroke lead.

In Gee Chun then made a long birdie putt on the 16th hole, to cut the lead to just one stroke. When Lewis missed the green on 17 it looked like she would lose her lead. She would then make a great chip to within 5 feet of the cup and sink the putt for her par. Chun then missed a chance to tie things up when her 10 foot putt slid by the hole.

When Lewis bunkered her drive on the 18th hole, it gave Chun another golden opportunity. Once again she failed to take advantage as her approach shot sailed over the green, ending any reasonable chance she had of winning. Lewis would then two putt for the victory.

For Lewis it was her first victory in over 3 years covering 83 starts.

This was a much calmer Lewis this week (maybe the calmist we have ever seen her). She focused on winning for the hurricane victims in Houston, and did just that.

Stacy gets a lot of negative press for her intensity on the golf course, but should be applauded for what she did this week.

KPMG (one of Stacy's major sponsors) announced that they would match Stacy's winnings, meaning that almost $400,000 will go towards the relief fund.

This Week's Trivia Question:  (for those who missed it earlier)

Since 2006 (11 tournaments) only 1 South Korean player has won this tournament. Can you name her and the year she won?



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Monday, August 28, 2017

Cambia Portland Classic Preview, Pairings, and More


Congratulations go out this week to Sung Hyun Park for winning the Canadian Pacific Women's Open. Park shot a final round seven under 64 to finish two strokes better than runner-up Mirim Lee. It was Park's second victory of the season. 
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This week the LPGA travels to the state of Oregon for the playing of the Cambia Portland Classic. Founded in 1972, this tournament is the oldest continuous event on the LPGA tour. 


Brooke Henderson will be trying to win this tournament for the third consecutive year. Last year Brooke won quite easily, as runner-up Stacy Lewis finished four strokes back. In 2015, Brooke destroyed the field, winning by 8 strokes over a trio of players.

Image result for Henderson wins cambia 2015 and 2016 side by side
Brooke Henderson will be trying to three-peat this week in Portland, Oregon

This will be tournament #24 of 34 on this year's LPGA schedule:

Here are the key details:

Course:  Columbia Edgewater Country Club
Location:  Portland, Oregon
Defending Champion:  Brooke Henderson
Winning Score:  65-68-70-71 = 274 (-14)

Final Field:  144 players
Par:  36/36 = 72
Yardage:  6,476
Purse:  $1,300,000


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Columbia Edgewater Country Club

My strength of field rating is 42.5% (up from 39% last year). Twenty-nine of the top 50 players from the LPGA Priority List and nine of the top 25 players from the Rolex Rankings will be in attendance. Top players teeing it up this week will include So Yeon Ryu, Lexi Thompson, In Gee Chun, Amy Yang, Brooke Henderson, and Stacy Lewis. Players skipping the event this week include: Ariya Jutanugarn, Sung Hyun Park, Lydia Ko, Shanshan Feng, I.K. Kim, Inbee Park, Michelle Wie, Anna Nordqvist, and Cristie Kerr.

Here are the first round pairings:


Here are the television times:
GC August 31 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM ET
GC September 1  6:30 PM - 8:30 PM ET
GC September 2  6:30 PM - 8:30 PM ET
GC September 3  5:00 PM - 7:00 PM ET

Players most likely to win: (Top players in the field)
So Yeon Ryu - #1 player in the world
Lexi Thompson - #2 ranked player in the world
In Gee Chun - #6 player in the world and always dangerous

Players to watch out for: (I'm feeling it this week)
Brooke Henderson - Loves this course and could very well three-peat
Austin Ernst - Has finished 4th, 5th, and 1st here in the last 3 years
Gerina Piller - As good a time as any for her first career victory

Longshot picks: (Not likely, but not impossible)
Madelene Sagstrom - Watch out for this solid player in a weak field
Moriya Jutanugarn - Playing without her sister this week
Nelly Korda - Playing without her sister also

Other Tidbits:
Sung Hyun Park has taken over the #1 position on the 2017 LPGA money list. Her total winnings of $1,878,615 leads the tour.

Linnea Strom(a) of Sweden won stage one of LPGA Qualifying Scholol. Her -17 under par 271 was 6 strokes better than runner-up So Jin Lee of Australia. The top 90 (of a field of 361) move on to stage two. Haley Mills was the highest finisher from the USA, finishing tied for third. The very popular Muni He easily advanced.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Sung Hyun Park passes Ariya Jutanugarn and moves into the #3 spot this week. Marina Alex leaps up 10 spots to #50. Lydia Ko, who was #1 at the start of the year, drops all the way down to #7.

Race to the CME Globe:   (1 million dollars)
In the closest race ever, So Yeon Ryu leads with 2,652 points. She is followed closely by Lexi Thompson with 2,642. Sung Hyun Park's total of 2,563 has her a very close third.

Who's Hot:
Sung Hyun Park has teed it up 17 times this year and has finished outside the top 25 just once.

Cristie Kerr's 3rd place finish this week was her 7th top five finish of the year, tying Lexi Thompson for the most on tour.

Who's Not:
Lydia Ko has now missed the cut in two of her last three starts, with the other finish being a tie for 59th.

Ariya Jutanugarn has missed the cut in 5 of her last 6 starts.

This Week's Trivia Question:

Since 2006 (11 tournaments) only 1 South Korean player has won this tournament. Can you name her and the year she won?




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

Update #1 - Nelly Korda is longer in the field.

Here are the leaders after round 3:
1 Stacy Lewis -17
2 Moriya Jutanugarn -14
3 In Gee Chun -13
4 Brittany Altomare -11
5 Gaby Lopez -10
5 Nicole Broch Larsen -10
5 Chella Choi -10
8 Gerina Piller -9
8 Megan Khang -9
8 Dori Carter -9
8 Nasa Hataoka -9
8 Candie Kung -9
13 Mirim Lee -8
13 Wei Ling Hsu -8
13 Beth Allen -8
13 Wichanee Meechai -8
13 Tiffany Joh -8
13 Ai Miyazato -8
13 Brooke Henderson -8
20 Cindy LaCrosse -7
20 Alena Sharp -7
20 Dottie Ardina -7
20 Ilhee Lee -7
20 Kim Kaufman -7
20 Jodi Ewart Shadoff -7

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