Monday, May 29, 2017

ShopRite LPGA Classic Presented by Acer Preview, Pairings and More

Before I get to this week's tournament, let me give a big congratulations to Shanshan Feng for winning the LPGA Volvik Championship. She took control early, and though she won by just one shot, the issue was never really ever in doubt.

Image result for ShopRite LPGA Classic logo

This week the LPGA moves to the state of New Jersey for the playing of the ShopRite LPGA Classic Presented by Acer. This tournament has been a mainstay on the LPGA schedule since 1992. Winners of this tournament include: Annika Sorenstam (3 times), Stacy Lewis (twice), Karrie Webb, Ai Miyazato, Se Ri Pak and Cristie Kerr. It was won last year (for the second consecutive year),by Anna Nordqvist. Her final round 64 was good enough to come out on top over runner-up Haru Nomura by one stroke. Nordqvist will be trying to three-peat this year. This tournament is just 54 holes.

Image result for Annika wins ShopRite classic
Anna Nordqvist holds her ShopRite LPGA Classic trophy for the second consecutive year.

This will be tournament #13 of 34 on the 2017 LPGA schedule.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Stockton Seaview Hotel & Golf Course, Bay Course
Location:  Galloway, NJ.
Defending Champion:  Anna Nordqvist
Winning Score:  64-68-64 = 196 (-17)

Final Field:  144 players
Par:  37/34 = 71
Yardage:  6,177
Purse:  $1,500,000

My strength of field rating is 59% ( up from 43% last year, when it was followed by a major championship). Thirty-five of the top 50 players from the LPGA Priority List, and 13 of the top 25 players from the Rolex Rankings will be teeing it up. Top players in the field include: So Yeon Ryu, Inbee Park, Sei Young Kim, Amy Yang, Sung Hyun Park, Cristie Kerr, Brooke Henderson, Stacy Lewis, and of course, Anna Nordqvist.

I will post the pairings as soon as they are made available.

Here are the television times:
June 2 - GC 12:00 PM-2:00 PM ET 
June 3 - GC 3:00 PM-6:00 PM ET 
June 4 - GC 2:30 PM-5:00 PM ET

Players most likely to win: (Top players in the field)
So Yeon Ryu - Fighting to get to the top of the Rolex Rankings.
Inbee Park - Always dangerous when well rested.
Sung Hyun Park - All those second place finishes; she is overdue.

Players to watch out for: (I'm feeling it this week)
Stacy Lewis - She's forgotten how to win, but knows how to win here.
Cristie Kerr - Has won here before and is having a terrific season.
Anna Nordqvist - Don't bet against her doing it again.

Longshot picks: (Not likely, but not impossible)
Marina Alex - Playing solid golf, and this is her home state.
Gerina Piller - Might overpower this course.
Jeong Eun Lee - Has suddenly got our attention.

Other Tidbits:
Ai Miyazato has announced that she is retiring at the end of the year. One of the nicest players ever to pick up a golf club, she will be missed.

How good is the competition on the LPGA tour? In the 12 tournaments played thus far this year, we have has 12 different winners. Maybe even more shocking is the fact that Lydia Ko and Ariya Jutanugarn are not among them.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Lots of movement this week! Ariya Jutanugarn moves into 2nd place and within a whisker of the top spot. So Yeon Ryu, who drops to 3rd is also within striking distance of first place. Sung Hyun Park moves into the top ten (11-8). Lizette Salas jumps up from #62 to #54, Marina Alex soars from #86 to #72, while Jeong Eun Lee Leaps up from #109 to #89, and Nelly Korda continues her charge with a leap from #129 to #110.

Race to the CME Globe:   (1 million dollars)
In the closest race in the short history of this event, So Yeon Ryu continues to lead with 1,695 points. She is followed closely by Ariya Jutanugarn with 1,628, and Lexi Thompson with 1,486.

Who's Hot:
Cydney Clanton has finished in 9th place three times in the last 5 weeks.

Marina Alex has 3 top tens and 6 top 25 finishes in her 10 starts this year.

Minjee Lee and Sung Hyun Park picked up their 4th top five finish this year. Nobody on tour has more.

Rookies continue to be a factor on the LPGA Tour this season, Sung Hyun Park (2nd), Nelly Korda (9th), and Laura Gonzalez Escallon (11th), all contended this week in Michigan.

Ariya Jutanugarn and So Yeon Ryu have been in position to take over the #1 spot in the Rolex Rankings in each of the past 5 weeks. Needless to say, they came up short each time.

Who's Not:
Yani Tseng has now missed 8 cuts this year. No one on the LPGA has missed more. 

Azahara Munoz has failed to record a top 25 finish in her last 10 starts.

Megan Khang has failed to finish in the top 30 in her last 11 starts, with 7 missed cuts.

Misleading Statistic of the week:
Brooke Henderson now has finished in the top 25 ten times this year. Only Ariya Jutanugarn (11) has more. Why is that misleading? Because she has finished 21st on four different occasions, and has just 2 top tens. 

This Week's Trivia Question:

What LPGA player won the most tournaments via playoff?

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

I will be attending this tournament the entire week. I will be posting some pictures later on in the week.

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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