Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Manulife LPGA Classic Preview, Pairings, and More

Congratulations go out to I.K. Kim for winning the ShopRite LPGA Classic. Although she had pressure on her throughout the final round, she stayed calm and nearly played flawless golf. It was her 5th win on the LPGA tour.

This week the LPGA moves to Ontario, Canada for the playing of the Manulife LPGA Classic.
You can expect lots of birdies this week as the winning score for this tournament has always been between 16 and 26 under par. Caroline Masson won here last year by just one single stroke over Mi Hyang Lee, Karine Icher, and Minjee Lee.

Image result for caroline masson wins manulife
Caroline Masson won this tournament in 2016. It was her first and only LPGA victory.

This will be tournament #14 of 34 on the 2017 LPGA schedule.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Whistle Bear Golf Club
Location:  Cambridge, Ontario, Canada
Defending Champion:  Caroline Masson
Winning Score:  68-69-68-67 = 272 (-16)

Final Field:  150 players
Par:  36/36=72
Yardage: 6,613
Purse: $1,700,000

My strength of field rating is 49% ( down from 67% last year). Twenty-eight of the top 50 players from thr LPGA Priority List, and 13 of the top 25 players from the Rolex Rankings will be teeing it up. The field will be led by Ariya Jutanugarn who with a good showing can take over the #1 spot in the world rankings.

Here are the pairings for round 1:

Here are the television times:
June 8 - GC 1:30 PM-3:30 PM ET 
June 9 - GC 1:30 PM-3:30 PM ET 
June 10 - GC 3:00 PM-5:00 PM ET
June 11 - GC 3:00 PM-5:00 PM ET

Players most likely to win: (Top players in the field)
Ariya Jutanugarn - Should take over the #1 spot.
Lexi Thompson - Currently #4 in the world, but within striking distance of top spot.
In Gee Chun - Number 5 player in the world is always a threat.

Players to watch out for: (I'm feeling it this week)
Suzann Pettersen - Has won here before.
Brooke Henderson - Hometown favorite.
Minjee Lee - Finished 2nd and 4th here the 

last two years.

Longshot picks: (Not likely, but not impossible)
Angel Yin - Trying to create attention and become a Solheim Cup pick.
Caroline Masson - Because she is the defending champion.
Mi Jung Hur - Has played well most of the year.

Other Tidbits:
So Yeon Ryu missed the cut this week and had her streak come to an end at 64. Stacy Lewis now has the longest streak with 49.

We have now had thirteen different winners in the first 13 weeks of the LPGA season.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
In spite of what you heard on TV during the broadcast, Lydia Ko does indeed keep her #1 ranking by .001 of a point over Ariya Jutanugarn. She will not be playing the next 2 weeks and will almost certainly lose that top ranking.

Race to the CME Globe:   (1 million dollars)
In what has turned out to be the closest race in the history of this race, So Yeon Ryu currently leads with 1,695 points. She is followed by Ariya Jutanugarn (1,628), Lexi Thompson (1,486), Cristie Kerr (1,233), and In Gee Chun (1,215).

Who's Hot:
Moriya Jutanugarn's 9th place finish this past week was her 11th top 25 finish this year, tying her sister Ariya for the LPGA lead.

Inbee Park has finished in the top 25 in all of the 9 tournaments she has entered this year.

Jeong Eun Lee has finshed 3rd and 4th in her last 2 starts. 

Who's Not:
HeeYoung Park has now missed eight consecutive cuts. I have been told that she has been experimenting with new clubs this year. Am I the only one who thinks that maybe she should go back to the old ones before it's too late to salvage this season?

Azahara Munoz has not had a top 20 finish in her last 13 starts dating back to last year.

Although Candie Kung has made 20 consecutive cuts, she has not finished better than 33rd in her eleven starts this year.

This Week's Trivia Question:

Who holds the LPGA record for most official prize money in one season?

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

Here are the final results:
1 Ariya Jutanugarn -17 (won)
2 In Gee Chun -17
2 Lexi Thompson -17
4 Jodi Ewart Shadoff -16
5 Laura Gonzalez Escallon -14
5 Mi Hyang Lee -14
7 Perrine DeLacour -13
7 Minjee Lee -13
7 Lindy Duncan -13
10 Suzann Pettersen -12
11 Austin Ernst -11
11 Chella Choi -11
11 Brooke Henderson -11
11 Hyo Joo Kim -11
15 Mi Jung Hur -10
15 Lizette Salas -10
15 Angel Yin -10
15 Tiffany Joh -10
15 Shanshan Feng -10
15 Paula Reto -10
15 Alena Sharp -10
22 Alison Lee -9
22 Charley Hull -9
22 Emily Pedersen -9
25 Karine Icher -8
25 Candie Kung -8
25 Ashleigh Buhai -8

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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