Monday, May 22, 2017

LPGA Volvik Championship Preview, Pairings, and More

A big congratulations go out to Lexi Thompson for winning the Kingsmill Championship. She did it in a very convincing style, finishing up 5 strokes better than runner-up In Gee Chun. The issue never seemed to be in doubt, as Lexi took the lead early in the opening round and kept it throughout. Her -20 under par total was a new tournament record! It was the 22 year old Thompson's 8th LPGA victory. She now has won at least once in 5 consecutive years.

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This week the LPGA moves to the state of Michigan for the playing of the LPGA Volvik Championship. This will be the second year for this tournament on the LPGA schedule. Last year, Ariya Jutanugarn blew away the field with a 5 stroke victory over runner-up Christina Kim.

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Ariya Jutanugarn holds up her 2016 LPGA Volvik Championship trophy

This will be tournament #12 of 34 on this year's LPGA schedule.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Travis Pointe Country Club
Location:  Ann Arbor, Michigan
Defending Champion:  Ariya Jutanugarn
Winning score:  65-68-73-67 = 273 (-15)

Final Field:  144 players
Par:  36/36 = 72
Yardage:  6,709
Purse:  $1,300,000

My strength of field rating is 67% (up from 63% last year). Thirty-nine of the top 50 players from the LPGA Priority List, and 17 of the top 25 players from the Rolex Rankings will be teeing it up. Top players skipping the event include: Lydia Ko, Ha Na Jang, Brittany Lang, Amy Yang, Mirim Lee, Gerina Piller, Cristie Kerr, and Inbee Park.

The first round pairings have now been posted.

Here are the television times:
May 25 - GC 7:00 PM-9:00 PM ET (Tape)
May 26 - GC 7:00 PM-9:00 PM ET (Tape)
May 27 - GC 3:00 PM-6:00 PM ET
May 28 - GC 3:00 PM-6:00 PM ET

Players most likely to win: (Top players in the field)
So Yeon Ryu - #2 player in the world
Ariya Jutanugarn - #3 and overdue to break into the win column
Lexi Thompson - #4 and getting closer to the top spot

Players to watch out for: (I'm feeling it this week)
In Gee Chun - Because we all want to see that smile on TV again this week
Stacy Lewis - Rested and always a threat to break her winless streak
Sei Young Kim - She is streaky, and on a good one now

Longshot picks: (Not likely, but not impossible)
Angel Yin - Look for a bounce back this week
Madelene Sagstrom - Seventh place finish this past week should be a confidence builder
Sung Hyun Park - Because I want 3 rookies here

Other Tidbits:
Ha Na Jang has announced that she is leaving the LPGA Tour. 

Minjee Lee was DQ'D for not signing her scorecard.

Chella Choi had her consecutive cut streak stopped at 21. Azahara Munoz had her streak stopped at 19.

Lexi Thompson's win was the third win for a USA player this year in 11 events. They had only 2 wins last year in 33 events. 

This year's rookie crop appears to be getting stronger with each new week. Besides Sung Hyun Park (who was a star before she got here), we have seen strong play from Nelly Korda, Angel Yin, and now Madelene Sagstrom. 

In Gee Chun has now finished second, three times already this year.

Jessica Korda and Nelly Korda were paired together in the final round. In a statistical oddity, they both shot the same exact score in all four rounds.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
So Yeon Ryu takes back the #2 spot from Ariya Jutanugarn, while Lexi Thompson moves up to #4. The top 5 players are now all within striking distance of the #1 position. Danielle Kang continues her rise, leaping up from #53 to #39. Outside the top 100, Madelene Sagstrom soars 77 spots, leaping from #202 to # 125.

Race to the CME Globe:   (1 million dollars)
For the first time since this started a few years back, we have a real fight for the top. So Yeon Ryu (1,680), Ariya Jutanugarn (1,578), Lexi Thompson (1,480), Cristie Kerr (1,222), and In Gee Chun (1,215) are the current leaders.

Who's Hot:
So Yeon Ryu has not finished outside of the top ten in any of her 8 starts this year.

Who's Not:
Hee Young Park, Maude-Aimee Leblanc, P.K. Kongkraphan, Julie Yang, and Ssu-Chia Cheng, have all missed six cuts in a row.

This Week's Trivia Question:

What is the record for most players to take part in a sudden death playoff?

UpDate #1 - Julieta Granada and Celine Boutier are the Monday qualifiers. Each shot a -3 under par score of 69.

Here the final results:
1 Shanshan Feng -19 F
2 Minjee Lee -18 F
2 Sung Hyun Park -18 F
4 Jeong Eun Lee -17 F
4 Lizette Salas -17 F
6 Moriya Jutanugarn -16 F
6 Suzann Pettersen -16 F
8 Marina Alex -15 F
9 Cydney Clanton -14 F
9 Nelly Korda -14 F
11 Jessica Korda -13 F
11 Chella Choi -13 F
11 Sarah Jane Smith -13 F
11 Laura Gonzalez Escallon -13 F
11 Jennifer Song -13 F
16 Lindy Duncan -12 F
16 Wei Ling Hsu -12 F
16 Giulia Molinaro -12 F
16 Sun Young Yoo -12 F
16 Stacy Lewis -12 F
21 Brooke Henderson -11 F
21 Ariya Jutanugarn -11 F
23 Carlota Ciganda -10 F
23 Jane Park -10 F
23 Mi Hyang Lee -10 F
23 Emily Pedersen -10 F
23 Haru Nomura -10 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.

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1 comment:

  1. Surprised to hear about Ha Na Jang leaving the LPGA. Reportedly she will give her reasons tomorrow at a press conference. I suspect she will still play in the U S Women's Open.