Sunday, February 12, 2017

ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open Preview & Pairings

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

Image result for ISPS 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 2014, nine players finished within 3 strokes of the lead with Karrie Webb becoming the eventual winner. In 2015, Lydia Ko brought home the trophy with a two stroke win over runner up Amy Yang. Last year Haru Nomura shot a final round 65, to come out three shots ahead of Lydia Ko.

Image result for Haru nomura wins the isps australian open
Haru Nomura will be trying to defend her ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open Championship

This will be tournament #2 of 34 on this year's LPGA schedule.

Here are the key details:

Course:  The Royal Adelaide Golf Club
Location:  Grange, South Australia
Defending Champion: Haru Nomura
Winning Score:  69-68-70-65 = 272 (-16)

Final Field: 132 players
Par:  73
Yardage:  6,681
Purse:  $1,300,000

My strength of field rating is 44% (up from 31.50% last year). Twenty-five of the top 50 players from the LPGA priority list, and 14 of the top 50 players from the current Rolex Rankings will be teeing it up. The field will be led by World #1 Lydia Ko and #2 Ariya Jutanugarn. Other big names teeing it up this week include: Ha Na Jang, Brooke Henderson, Charley Hull, Minjee Lee, Carlota Ciganda, and defending champion Haru Nomura. Most of the American players are sitting this one out, with #31 Mo Martin the highest ranked American in the field.

Here are the first round pairings:

Here are the television times: (16 hour time differential between East Coast and Australia)
Feb 15 - GC   9:00 PM - 2:00 AM ET
Feb 16 - GC 11:00 PM - 2:00 AM ET
Feb 17 - GC 11:00 PM - 2:00 AM ET
Feb 18 - GC   9:00 PM - 2:00 AM ET

Players most likely to win: (Top players in the field)
  • Lydia Ko
  • Ariya Jutanugarn
  • Ha Na Jang
  • Brooke Henderson
Players to watch out for: (I'm feeling it this week)
  • Carlota Ciganda
  • Charley Hull
  • Jenny Shin
Longshot Picks: (Not likely, but not impossible)
  • Megan Khang
  • Nelly Korda
  • Mo Martin
In the last tournament (The Pure Silk Bahamas Classic), winner Brittany Lincicome was my longshot pick.

Other Tidbits:
Stacy Lewis announced that she will be cutting down on her schedule this year to concentrate on "family." Among the tournaments she will be skipping will be the Evian Championship.

2017 will be the final year for Manulife as title sponsor of the Manulife LPGA Classic.  “We thank Manulife for being such a wonderful title sponsor and partner to the LPGA for the past six years,” said LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan. “The Waterloo Region is full of tremendous golf fans and the support shown by the community has helped to make this a very successful event both on and off the golf course. We look forward to another great Manulife LPGA Classic this June and will continue to work to bring an LPGA tournament back to this area in the future.”

This Week's Trivia Question:

Twenty-seven points are needed to become a Hall of Fame member. What four active players (who are not already in the Hall of Fame) have the most points. 

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

Here are the final results:

1 Ha-Na Jang -10
2 Nanna Madsen -7
3 Minjee Lee -6
3 Ariya Jutanugarn -6
3 Haru Nomura -6
3 Sarah Jane Smith -6
7 Beth Allen -5
7 Hannah Green -5
7 Hye Jin Choi -5
7 Marina Alex -5
7 Maude-Aimee Leblanc -5
7 Pornanong Phatlum -5
7 Lizette Salas -5
14 Chella Choi -4
14 Su-Hyun Oh -4
16 Moriya Jutanugarn -3
16 Kim Kaufman -3
16 Pei-Yun Chien -3
16 Xi Yu Lin -3
16 Alena Sharp -3

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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