Monday, March 27, 2017

ANA Inspiration Preview, Pairings, and Much More

Before I start with this week's subject, let me give a big congratulations to Mirim Lee for winning the Kia Classic. It was never a contest. Mirim took control towards the end of round number three, and never looked back! She won by 6 strokes over both Seo Yeon Ryu and Austin Ernst.

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This week the LPGA moves to Rancho Mirage, California for the playing of the ANA Inspiration. This is the first Major Championship of the 2017 season.

Most of you will probably remember last year's exciting finish when Lydia Ko birdied the 72nd hole to finish one stroke better than both Charley Hull and In Gee Chun.

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Lydia Ko takes the traditional dive into Poppie's Pond after her ANA victory

This will be tournament #7 of 34 on this year's LPGA schedule, and the first of five Major Championships.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Mission Hills Country Club: Dinah Shore Tournament Course
Location:  Rancho Mirage, California
Defending Champion:  Lydia Ko
Winning Score:  70-68-69-69 = 276 (-12) 

Final Field:  108 players
Par:  36/36 = 72
Yardage: 6,769 yards
Purse:  $2,700,000

Mission Hills Country Club. The home of this year's first Major Championship

My strength of field rating is a very strong 89% (same as last year). The entire top 50 players from the LPGA Priority List will be teeing up, as will 41 of the top 50 players from the current Rolex Rankings. Although my field rating loses a couple of points because this is not a full 144 player field, it more than makes up for it by including Bo-Mee Lee (#17 in the RR) and Jin Young Ko (#34 in the RR). 

Here are the pairings for round 1.

Here are the television times:
Mar 30 - GC 12:00 PM-4:00 PM ET
Mar 30 - GC 7:00 PM-9:00 PM ET
Mar 31 - GC12:00 PM-4:00 PM ET
Mar 31 - GC 7:00 PM-9:00 PM ET
Apr 1 - GC 5:00 PM-9:00 PM ET
Apr 2 - GC 5:00 PM-9:00 PM ET

Players Most likely to win: (Top players in the field)
Lydia Ko - Defending Champion and World's #1player.
Ariya Jutanugarn - Number 2 and gaining fast.
So Yeon Ryu - Number 3 in the Rolex Rankings and due to actually finish one.

Players to watch out for: (I'm feeling it this week)
Brittany Lincicome - Playing well and has won this one twice already.
Lexi Thompson - Always plays well here.
Sung Hyun Park - Course fits her game, and she is overdue.
Ha Na Jang - Because she would be the first player to dance in Poppie's Pond.

Longshot Picks: (Not likely, but not impossible)
Jodi Ewart Shadoff - Has been playing well every week since mid 2016.
Karine Icher - Ditto
Moriya Juanugarn - With everyone watching her sister.........

Other Tidbits:

  • Lydia Ko had her cut streak stopped at 40 straight. It was only the second cut that she has missed in her career. Amy Yang had her streak stopped at 37.
  • The Kia Classic has been brutal to star players over the past few years, and that has been the case once again this year. Besides Ko and Amy Yang, huge stars Brooke Henderson (only her second MC as an LPGA member), Minjee Lee, Jessica Korda, and I.K. Kim also missed the cut. Sandra Gal, Hee Young Park, Mi Hyang Lee, and Lee-Anne Pace, all missed their first cut of the year.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
So Yeon Ryu makes the most important move this week jumping up from #5 to #3. Mirim Lee leaps from #21 to #14, while Austin Ernst vaults from #73 to #41.

Race to the CME Globe:   (1 million dollars)

Ariya Jutanugarn leads with 949 points, she is followed by So Yeon Ryu (800), Ha Na Jang (791), Mirim Lee (725), Anna Nordqvist (679), and Brittany Lincicome (677).

Who's Hot:

  • So Yeon Ryu has finished in the top seven in all four of her starts.
  • Moriya Jutanugarn is the only player to finish in the top 20 in all six tournaments this year.

Who's Not:

  • Lydia Ko has been winless in her last 14 events. She has had just one top five over that period, and her #1 world ranking is now in jeopardy.
  • Yani Tseng has missed the cut in all 4 tournaments that have had a cut this year.
  • Danielle Kang has already missed 3 cuts this season.

This Week's Trivia Question:

There are currently 10 active LPGA players with 10 or more wins. How many can you name?

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

Here are the Results:

1 So Yeon Ryu -14
2 Lexi Thompson -14
3 Inbee Park -13
3 Minjee Lee -13
3 Suzann Pettersen -13
6 Michelle Wie -11
7 Cristie Kerr -10
8 Amy Yang -9
8 Ariya Jutanugarn -9
10 Karine Icher -8
11 Anna Nordqvist -7
11 Lydia Ko -7
11 Jessica Korda -7
14 Austin Ernst -5
14 Brooke Henderson -5
14 In Gee Chun -5
14 Mirim Lee -5
14 Charley Hull -5
14 Sung Hyun Park -5
14 Mi Jung Hur -5
21 Shanshan Feng -4
21 Ha-Na Jang -4
21 Angel Yin -4
21 Jeong Eun Lee -4
21 Pernilla Lindberg -4
21 Marina Alex -4

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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