Monday, November 6, 2017

Blue Bay LPGA Preview, Pairings and Much More

Let me start out by giving a big round of applause to Shanshan Feng for winning the Toto Japan Classic. Shanshan's final round 68 was good enough for her to win the title for the second consecutive year. Ai Suzuki, who bogeyed the final hole, finished in second place two strokes back.

Related image
Beautiful Jian Lake Blue Bay Golf Club

This week the LPGA moves to China for the playing of the Blue Bay LPGA. Many of you may remember last year's nail biting finish when Minjee Lee's birdie on the 72nd hole, was enough to defeat a charging Jessica Korda by one stroke. Ariya Jutanugarn finished just one stroke further back.

Image result for Minjee lee wins 2017 blue bay
Minjee Lee will be trying to successfully defend the Blue Bay LPGA title she won in 2016

This will be tournament #32 of 33 on this year's LPGA schedule, and the 5th of five events on the current Asian swing.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Jian Lake Blue Bay Golf Course
Location:  Hainan Island, China
Defending Champion:  Minjee Lee
Winning Score:  65-67-73-70 = 275 (-13)

Final Field:  81 players
Par:  36/36 = 72
Yardage:  6,778
Purse:  $2,100,000

It will have a Wednesday start (with the time difference it will be Tuesday night in the USA) and finish up on Saturday.

My strength of field rating is 42% (down from 44% last year). The field will be led by the new #1 player in the world, Sung Hyun Park. It will also include current top ten players: Shanshan Feng, Anna Nordqvist, I.K. Kim, and Ariya Jutanugarn. Players skipping the event this week include: Lydia Ko, Brooke Henderson, In Gee Chun, Sei Young Kim, So Yeon Ryu, Stacy Lewis, and Lexi Thompson.

Here are the first round pairings.

Here are the television times:
GC   Tues.  Nov. 7,   11:00 p.m.- 3:00 a.m. ET 
GC   Wed.   Nov. 8,  11:00 p.m.- 3:00 a.m. ET
GC   Thurs. Nov. 9,   11:00 p.m.- 3:00 a.m. ET
GC   Fri.      Nov. 10, 11:00 p.m.- 3:00 a.m. ET

I believe all the above broadcasts are scheduled to be shown live.

Players most likely to win: (Top players in the field)
Sung Hyun Park - New #1 may demolish this weak field
Shanshan Feng - Hottest player on tour right now
Anna Nordqvist - Moves into the top five this week in the world rankings

Players to watch out for: (I'm feeling it this week)
I.K. Kim - Biggest surprise this year will be looking for win #4
Minjee Lee - Defending Champion is playing well

Longshot picks: (Not likely, but not impossible)
Jessica Korda - Ideal course for her to break out of her slump
Lizette Salas - Playing her best golf of the year


Other Tidbits:
With just 2 tournaments remaining, both the Player of the Year award and Vare Trophy are still up for grabs.  So Yeon Ryu (182 points) leads Sung Hyun Park (148) and Lexi Thompson (147) for the P.O.Y award. Park is the only player of the three who is teeing it up this week. Lexi Thompson (69.147) leads Sung Hyun Park (69.169) for the Vare Trophy. Each winner will receive a Hall of Fame point.


Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Sung Hyun Park takes over the #1 ranking this week by a very slim margin over So Yeon Ryu. Shanshan Feng moves into the #3 spot. Lizette Salas continues her upward surge, moving from #38 to #32. LPGA player Aditi Ashok, who won on the LET this past week, is now part of my field rating as she surges from # 105 to #81.

Race to the CME Globe:   (1 million dollars)
Lexi Thompson still leads with 3,304 points. So Yeon Ryu moves into second with 3,064. They are followed by Sung Hyun Park (3,029), Brooke Henderson (2,785), and Shanshan Feng (2,647).

Who's Hot:
Shanshan Feng has finished 3rd, 2nd, and 1st, in her last 3 starts.

Who's Not:
Ariya Jutanugarn has not finished better than 30th in her last 11 starts.

This Week's Trivia Question: 

This is the fourth year that this tournament is being played. The first three years brought us 3 winners from 3 different countries. Can you name the three winners and the countries that they are from?

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

Here are the final standings:

1 Shanshan Feng -9
2 Moriya Jutanugarn -8
3 Megan Khang -4
3 Jessica Korda -4
3 Sung Hyun Park -4
3 Ashleigh Buhai -4
7 Sun Young Yoo -3
7 Sandra Gal -3
7 Na Yeon Choi -3
10 Mi Hyang Lee -2
10 Austin Ernst -2
10 Jeong Eun Lee -2
10 Lizette Salas -2
14 Sarah Jane Smith -1
14 Hyo Joo Kim -1
16 Michelle Wie E
16 Ariya Jutanugarn E
18 Karine Icher 1
19 Ryann O'Toole 2
19 Ayako Uehara 2
21 Morgan Pressel 3
21 Pernilla Lindberg 3
21 Lee-Anne Pace 3
24 Gaby Lopez 4
25 In-Kyung Kim 5
25 Pornanong Phatlum 5
25 Pei-Yun Chien 5
25 Minjee Lee 5
25 Azahara Munoz 5

Be sure to check back here daily for any LPGA news or updates.  They will be posted here at the bottom of this blog. Tournament results will be posted here at the end of each round. Links to all Women's Tour scoreboards can be found at the top of this page.

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