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U.S. Women's Open Preview, Pairings, and More

Before I get started on this week's tournament, let me give a big congratulations to Minjee Lee for winning the LPGA Volvik Championship. Minjee's final round -4 under par 68, was good enough to win by one stroke over runner-up In Kyung Kim.

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This week the LPGA travels to the state of Alabama for the playing of the U.S. Women's Open Conducted by the USGA. This is the second Major Championship of the 2018 season.

Sung Hyun Park will be trying to successfully defend the title she won last year at Trump National Golf Club by two strokes over Hye Jin Choi.

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Sung Hyun Park holds up her 2017 U.S. Women's Open Championship trophy.

This will be tournament #14 of 33 on this year's LPGA schedule. It is also the 2nd of five Major Championships to be held this year.

Course:  Shoal Creek
Location:  Shoal Creek, Alabama
Defending Champion:  Sung Hyun Park
Winning Score:  73-70-67-67 = 277 (-11)

Final Field:  156 players
Cut: Top 60 and ties
Par:  36/36 = 72
Yardage:  6,732
Purse:  $5,000,000

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Shoal Creek Golf Clubhouse

My strength of field rating is a mighty 87% (down from 91% last year). The reason for the drop in strength is because of the absence of highly rated players Suzann Pettersen and Gerina Piller who are both out on maternity leave. Forty-eight of the top 50 players on the LPGA Priority List, and 45 of the top 50 players on this week's Rolex Rankings will be teeing it up. What makes this field so extraordinarily high is the inclusion of so many high ranked players from other tours. They include: Hye Jin Choi (#11), Ai Suzuki (#20), Jeongeun Lee (#27), Teresa Lu (#38), Min Young Lee (#39), Ji Hyun Kim (#63), and Fumika Kawagishi (#66).

Here are the pairings for round 1 and 2.

Here are the television times:
May 31 - FOX Sports1 3:00 PM-8:00 PM ET 
June   1 - FOX Sports1 3:00 PM-8:00 PM ET 
June   2 - FOX 2:00 PM-7:00 PM ET 
June   3 - FOX 2:00 PM-7:00 PM ET

Players Most Likely to Win: (Top players in the field)
Inbee Park - Always one of the favorites to win.
Shanshan Feng - Never count her out in a Major Championship.
Lexi Thompson - Hasn't played well of late, but a win could vault her to the top of the Rolex Rankings.

Players to Watch Out For: (I'm feeling it this week)
Minjee Lee - I picked her last week and she came through. Why not again?
So Yeon Ryu - She will be top ten. Only question is where in the top ten?
In Gee Chun - Only knows how to win majors (has never won a non-major).

Longshot Picks: (Not likely, but not impossible)
Lindy Duncan - Because she is playing better every week.
Emma Talley - When was the last time a rookie won this event? Oh... it was last year!
Megan Khang - Coming off two top six finishes.

Other Tidbits:
There have been 13 tournaments played on the LPGA tour so far this season and there have been13 different winners.

In case anyone missed the news a few days ago, the LPGA announced the addition of a second tournament to be played in South Korea. BMW Group Korea will be the sponsor of the two million dollar event to be held at LPGA International in Busan in 2019 in Busan Metropolitan City. The LPGA 2019 schedule will now include at least four tournaments that are not on this year's schedule. The LPGA had previously announced new tournaments in Florida (Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions) and Michigan (Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational), and the return to the schedule in 2019 of the MCKAYSON New Zealand Women's Open. 

Hard to Believe Stat of the Week:
Six of the last seven winners on the LPGA Tour have been from countries other than the USA or South Korea. The only exception was Sung Hyun Park's rain shortened 36 hole victory.

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Minjee Lee makes the most important move this week jumping up from #15 to #8. Lindy Duncan continues her recent surge, jumping up ten more spots to #65. Su Oh jumps into the top 100, moving up from #104 to #91. Candie Kung falls out of the top 100 and therefore will no longer be part of my field rating

Race to the CME Globe:   (1 million dollars)
Ariya Jutanugarn extends her lead with 1,825 points. She is followed by her sister Moriya with 1,562 and Inbee Park with 1,498. Minjee Lee (1,463) and Brooke Henderson (1,259) fill out the top five.

Who's Hot:
Ariya Jutanugarn's 7th place finish at the LPGA Volvik Championship was her 9th top ten finish this year. No other player has more than six.

Included in Lindy Duncan's last six starts are finishes in 6th, 2nd, 25th, and 4th place. 

Nasa Hataoka has three consecutive top ten and five consecutive top twenty finishes.

Who's Not:
After having made 24 consecutive cuts, Chella Choi has missed her last three.

Haru Nomura has not seen the weekend in her last five starts.

This Week's Trivia Question: 
Who are the youngest and oldest players to win the U.S. Women's Open?

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

Here are the final results:

1 **Ariya Jutanugarn -11 F
2 Hyo Joo Kim -11 F
3 Carlota Ciganda -7 F
4 Danielle Kang -3 F
5 Lexi Thompson -2 F
5 Patty Tavatanakit -2 F
5 Wei Ling Hsu -2 F
5 Sarah Jane Smith -2 F
9 Inbee Park -1 F
10 Michelle Wie E F
10 Charley Hull E F
10 Nasa Hataoka E F
10 Angela Stanford E F
10 Nelly Korda E F
10 Megan Khang E F
10 Ji-Hyun Kim E F
17 Jin Young Ko 1 F
17 Lizette Salas 1 F
17 Su-Hyun Oh 1 F
17 Jeongeun6 Lee 1 F
17 Eun-Hee Ji 1 F
17 Madelene Sagstrom 1 F
23 So Yeon Ryu 2 F
24 Albane Valenzuela 3 F
25 Jennifer Song 4 F
25 Brittany Lincicome 4 F
** Won in playoff

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 on the right side of this page (or on pull down menu on mobile website).


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