Skip to main content

Kia Classic Preview, Pairings, and More

A huge congratulations goes out to Anna Nordqvist for winning the Bank of Hope Founders Cup. Her final total of -25 under par was two shots better than runner-ups, Stacy Lewis, In Gee Chun, and Ariya Jutanugarn. For Jutanugarn, it was her second consecutive runner-up finish.

Image result for kia classic logo

This week the LPGA moves to the state of California for the playing of the Kia Classic. Lydia Ko will be trying to defend the title she won last year when she finished 4 strokes better than runner-up Inbee Park. Her -19 under par total was one shot off the tournament record that is held by Cristie Kerr.

Image result for Lydia Ko wins kia
Lydia Ko holds up her 2016 winning trophy

This will be tournament #6 of 34 on this year's LPGA schedule.

Here are the Key Details:

Course:  Aviara Golf Club

Location: Carlsbad, California
Defending Champion: Lydia Ko
Winning Score:  68-67-67-67 = 269 (-19)

Final Field:  144 players

Par 36/36 = 72
Yardage:  6,593 yards
Purse:  $1,800,000

My strength of field rating is an incredibly strong 88% (up from 84% last year), making it the strongest field of the year so far. The past two years this tournament had the strongest field of any non major championship. It will have it again this year! Every player from the top 100 LPGA Priority List (Nicole Castrale is retired) will be teeing it up. Forty of the top 50 players from the Rolex Rankings will be in attendance. The only reason that some of the upcoming major championships might have a higher field rating, is that they invite stars from other tours that are ranked high on the Rolex Rankings, therefore raising my field rating.

Here are the first round pairings;

Here are the television times:
Mar 23 - GC 8:30 PM-10:30 PM ET (Tape)
Mar 24 - GC 8:30 PM-10:30 PM ET (Tape)
Mar 25 - GC 6:00 PM-9:00 PM ET
Mar 26 - GC 6:00 PM-9:00 PM ET

Players most likely to win: (Top players in the field)

Lydia Ko - The world's #1 player.
Ariya Jutanugarn - Number 2 and gaining on Lydia.
In Gee Chun - Takes back the #3 position.

Players to watch out for: (I'm feeling it this week)

Stacy Lewis - Playing her best golf in over 2 years.
Ha Na Jang - Because she seems to be on the first page of the leaderboard every week.
Sung Hyun Park - Is this the week she gets that first win?
Jessica Korda - Has 4 top 25 finishes.

Longshot Picks: (Not likely, but not impossible)

Jeong Eue Lee - Don't know who she is? You will soon.
Michelle Wie - Her game seems to have re-appeared.
Moriya Jutanugarn - Can she chase down her sister?
Nelly Korda - She is playing better now than she did on the Symetra Tour.

Other Tidbits:

Minjee Lee missed her first cut in her last twenty tournaments.
Only at the Founders Cup.... can a player (Lydia Ko) have 52 pars, 20 birdies, and 0 bogeys, and never really be in contention.
Only at the Founders Cup.....can a player (Maude-Aimee Leblanc) shoot the low round on Friday, an -8 under par 64, and miss the cut.
Only at the Founders Cup.....can players play the first 2 rounds in -4 under par (Madelene Sagstrom, Cristie Kerr, Lexi Thompson, Natalie Gulbis, among others) and not get to play the weekend.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Inbee Park moves up from #9 to #7, while Anna Nordqvist jumps from #13 to #11.
Nelly Korda, who started the year at #341, continues to impress leaping 40 more spots to #199.

Race to the CME Globe:   (1 million dollars)

Ariya Jutanugarn leads with 899 points, she is followed by Ha Na Jang with 784, and Anna Nordqvist with 629. Inbee Park placed 4th with 610, and Brittany Lincicome 5th with 607. Keep in mind that unlike in the past, the top 5 finishers will hold their fate completly in their own hands (A win at the CME will guarantee them the million). In the past it was the top three. 

Who's Hot:

Ariya Jutanugarn is the only player to record 4 top ten finishes this year. Her sister Moriya, is the only player to record 5 top twenties. 

Who's Not:

Hee Young Park has failed to register a top 35 finish yet this year. Karrie Webb has not finished better than 48th.

This Week's Trivia Question: 

What 3 LPGA players have the most total top ten finishes in the last five completed seasons (2012- 2016)

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

Update #1 - Margarita Ramos and Savannah Vilaubi were the Monday Qualifiers.

Update #2 - Sydnee Michaels is no longer in the field, she has been replaced with Amelia Lewis.
Update #3 - Charley Hull injured her wrist during the pro-am and was replaced with Ashleigh Buhai.

Here the final results:

1 Mirim Lee -20 F
2 So Yeon Ryu -14 F
2 Austin Ernst -14 F
4 Sung Hyun Park -12 F
4 Gerina Piller -12 F
4 Karine Icher -12 F
4 Cristie Kerr -12 F
4 Mi Jung Hur -12 F
9 Shanshan Feng -11 F
10 In Gee Chun -10 F
11 Lizette Salas -9 F
11 Lexi Thompson -9 F
11 Pei-Yun Chien -9 F
11 Caroline Hedwall -9 F
11 Moriya Jutanugarn -9 F
11 Mo Martin -9 F
11 Brittany Lincicome -9 F
18 Angela Stanford -8 F
18 Caroline Masson -8 F
18 Jackie Stoelting -8 F
21 Pornanong Phatlum -7 F
21 Beatriz Recari -7 F
21 Jodi Ewart Shadoff -7 F
21 Sarah Jane Smith -7 F
21 Anna Nordqvist -7 F
21 Sei Young Kim -7 F
21 Inbee Park -7 F
21 Carlota Ciganda -7 F
21 Ariya Jutanugarn -7 F
21 Michelle Wie -7 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.  Links to all Women's Tour scoreboards can be found at the top of this page.

   (Currently 1,538 followers)


Popular posts from this blog

LPGA Player Profile - Natalie Gulbis

The player I have chosen this time around, may very well be in the twilight of her career, but has been a crowd favorite for many years. I have chosen:

Born: 1/7/83 (36 years old)
Hometown: Sacramento Calif.
Resides: Lake, Las Vegas, Nev.
Rookie Year: 2002

Natalie has won once on the LPGA tour:

2007 Evian Masters

 Natalie has had many of her best finishes in Major Championships!

Best Finishes in Major Championships:
ANA Inspiration - Finished 3rd in 2006KPMG Women's PGA Championship - Finished 5th in 2005U.S. Women's Open - Finished 4th in 2005Ricoh British Open - Finished 9th in 2013The Evian Championship - Finished 52nd in 2013 (It was not a Major Championship when she won this event).

Career Stats:   (Updated through the 2018 season)

329 career starts238 cuts made (72.3%)37 top tens (11.2%)Has $4,898,508 in career earnings through the 2018 season (67th on the all time LPGA career money list).

Other Career Highlights: A three time U.S. Solheim Cup Team member (2005, 2…

Most Popular Photos of the Year - 2018

1/24/19 Bonus photos added at bottom of page.

As many of my readers know, my wife and I go to quite a few LPGA tournaments each year. Since 2009 we have gone to almost 60 events, including two in Scotland (St. Andrews being our favorite), and 8 Canadian Opens.

I do all the writing on here, and my wife (who is a schoolteacher) is my proofreader and takes many of the photos. Neither of us are professional photographers, but once in a while we get lucky and capture a moment that is very popular with my viewers.

Below I have reposted the most popular photos of 2018. I based this on the number of website hits, and the number of comments each photo received. Some came as quite a surprise to me, as when they were taken I was not expecting such a reaction.


My Top Ten LPGA Blogs of All-Time

Let me start out today by saying that I am looking forward to next week when the LPGA resumes it's schedule for real this time. They will play four consecutive weeks before the next break that will take them back to the USA. 
Needless to say with all the off time, I have been running out of things to write about. 
This week is the 9th anniversary of my blogging about the LPGA!

Those of you that have been with me from the beginning will remember that the first 3 years I blogged for Mostly Harmless. I created Tony's LPGA Report in 2013.

Over that period of time I have published over 750 blogs. Most have turned out to be quite successful, some have fallen flat. But one thing that you can be sure of is that I have always tried my best to be the "go to" resource for up-to-date and accurate news about the LPGA.

I recently went back through all of my blogs and made a list of the ten most popular. The results were quite surprising. It seems like the pieces that I spend the most t…

LPGA Qualifying Tournament 2018 Final Stage - The Q-Series

The final stage of the LPGA qualifying tournament, the Q-Series, will begin this week.
A field of 102 players will be teeing it up.

At the 2017 CME Group Tour Championship, the LPGA first announced that Q-Series will replace LPGA Qualifying School Final Stage, which was previously held annually in Daytona Beach, Florida. 

Instead of 90 holes like the old Final Stage, the new Q-Series will be 144 holes. Players will compete in two, four-day tournaments with cumulative scores over the eight rounds for a $150,000 purse, which will be distributed at the end of the eight rounds.

The LPGA will debut the new Q-Series at the historic Pinehurst Resort in Pinehurst, North Carolina, which has hosted several prestigious tournaments including the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open. 
The first week of the LPGA Q-Series presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina will be played on the George and Tom Fazio-designed Pinehurst Course No. 6 from Oct. 24-27, while the Q-Series will conclude on the Rees Jon…

Michelle Wie Gets Engaged!

Michelle Wie announced on Instagram last night that she is engaged to marry Jonnie West, the Golden State Warriors' director of basketball operations.

Jonnie is the son of NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West.

Wie, 29, a Punahou School and Stanford graduate, is a five-time winner on the LPGA Tour. West, 30, played basketball at West Virginia, his father’s alma mater. Wie, who has been recovering from hand surgery in October, is expected to play in the Lotte Championship, April 17-20, at Ko Olina.

This Week's Trivia Question:
Who was the only LPGA player to play in 30 events in 2018?

For the answer tothis week's trivia question press here.

KPMG Women's PGA Championship Preview

Congratulations go out to Anna Nordqvist for successfully defending her ShopRite Classic title. She came from behind, shooting a final round 64, which turned out to be one stroke better than runner-up Haru Nomura.

This week the LPGA travels to the state of Washington for the the playing of the KMPG Women's PGA Championship. This is the second Major Championship of the season. It is also the start of an extremely important part of the 2016 LPGA schedule that will include 3 Major Championships and the UL International Crown in the next 8 weeks.

This tournament was won last year in run-away fashion, when Inbee Park smoked the field by 5 strokes. She has won this championship 3 years in a row, and will be trying for a very rare four-peat. However, a recent injury to her thumb, will make that highly unlikely.

This will be tournament #16 of 33 on the 2016 LPGA schedule.
This will also be Major Championship #2 of 5 to be played in 2016.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Sahalee Country Club

LPGA Announces its 2019 Schedule!

The LPGA officially announced its 2019 schedule today, and it well worth the wait!

Here are the highlights:
1- The schedule features 34 events (33 official + The Solheim Cup). There were 33 last year (32 + UL International Crown).

2- The season will start one week earlier than last year, and kick off with two new tournaments.

3- There are a total of four tournaments:
     a) Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions (Jan 17-20)
     b) Vic Open (Feb 7-10)
     c) Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational (July 17-20)
     d) BMW Ladies Championship (October 24-27)

     Tournaments that are no longer on the LPGA schedule:
     a) Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic (Pure Silk will be sponsoring the Virginia Event)
     b) LPGA Volvic Championship
     c) LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship
     d) Blue Bay LPGA

     There will be another tournament announced at a later date, that will take place Nov 14-17.

4- Will feature a record setting $70.55 million in prize money (up from 65.35 last year).

5- There w…