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Toto Japan Classic Preview, Pairings, and More

I would like to start off today by congratulating Nelly Korda for winning the Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan. Here is the recap of how she accomplished her first career win.

Seta Golf Club

This week the LPGA travels to Japan for the playing of the Toto Japan Classic. Many of you may remember last year's exciting finish when Shanshan Feng's final round 68 was good enough to bring home the championship trophy. Ai Suzuki finished in second place just two shots back. Shanshan also won this championship in 2016 when she finished one stroke ahead of runner-up Ha Na Jang.

Image result for Shanshan feng wins 2017 toto japan classic
Shanshan Feng will be trying to win this tournament for the third year in a row.

This will be tournament #30 of 32 on this year's LPGA schedule, and the 4th of 5 events on the current Asian swing.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Seta Golf Club (this is a change of venue from last year's event).
Location:  Sjoga, Japan
Defending Champion:  Shanshan Feng
Winning Score:  66-63-68 = 197 (-19)

Final Field:  78 players
Par:  36/36 = 72
Yardage:  6,608
Purse:  $1,500,000

This is a 54 hole tournament!

My strength of field rating is 57% (down from 60% last year). Twenty-nine of the top 50 players from the LPGA Priority List (not used on the Asian swing) and 25 of the top 50 players from the Rolex Rankings will be teeing it up. Players not in the field this week include: Sung Hyun Park, Cristie Kerr, Moriya Jutanugarn, Jessica Korda, Georgia Hall and Brittany Lincicome.The construction of this field is very different from any other field on the LPGA schedule. There are only 43 players in the field that are LPGA members. There are however some very strong non-members in the field. They include: Jiyai Shin (#28 in the Rolex Rankings), Ai Suzuki (#29), Sun-Ju Ahn (#33), Mamiko Higa (#44), Teresa Lu (#47), Misuzu Narita (#57) Ericka Kikuchi (#83), Momoko Ueda (#87) and Eri Okayama (#94).

The first round pairings have now been posted.

Here are the television times: 
GC Thursday November 1   11:00 PM -  2:00AM ET 
GC Friday      November 2   11:00 PM -  2:00AM ET 
GC Saturday  November 3   11:00 PM -  2:00AM ET 

Players most likely to win: (Top players in the field)
1- Ariya Jutanugarn - New #1 player in the world will want to stay there.
2- So Yeon - World #3 is always a threat.
3- Minjee Lee - Finishes in the top 5 every week, it's time to take home the trophy.

Players to watch out for: (I'm feeling it this week)
1- Lexi Thompson - Has not played well in awhile. Time to break out.
2- Brooke Henderson - Lots of top twenties of late. Time for a better showing.
3- Nelly Korda - Back to back wins?

Longshot picks: (Not likely, but not impossible)
1- Sun- Ju Ahn - Non LPGA member is someone to watch.
2- Teresa Lu - If she wins she will refuse LPGA membership again.
3- Bronte Law - One of the most consistent players on tour is still looking for that first win.

Other Tidbits:
Stacy Lewis gave birth to a daughter, Chesnee Lynn Chadwell, on October 25.

At the start of the 2018 season, who would have though that eight different American players would be winners, but none with the name Lexi Thompson?

Rolex Rankings Movers of the Week:
Ariya Jutanugarn takes over the #1 spot this week and deservedly so, as she leads the tour in almost everything. Nelly Korda jumps up from #39 to #32. Ryann O'Toole continues her assualt on the top 100, leaping up another 19 spots to #48.

Race to the CME Globe:   (1 million dollars)
Ariya Jutanugarn remains the runaway leader with 4,002 points. Minjee Lee is a distant second with 2,785 points. Brooke Henderson sits in the third spot with 2,616 points. 

Who's Hot:
Minjee Lee has four top four finishes in her last six starts.

Who's Not:
Hyo-Joo Kim has failed to finish in the top 40 in her last four starts and has just one top ten finish this entire season.

This Week's Trivia Question:
Only one American player has won this tournament in the last 24 years. Can you name her?

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

Here are thefinal results:
1 Nasa Hataoka -14 F
2 Carlota Ciganda -12 F
2 Saki Nagamine -12 F
2 Momoko Ueda -12 F
5 Jin Young Ko -11 F
5 Ji-Hee Lee -11 F
7 Amy Yang -10 F
8 In-Kyung Kim -9 F
8 Jae-Eun Chung -9 F
8 Sakura Koiwai -9 F
11 Megan Khang -8 F
11 So Yeon Ryu -8 F
11 Jennifer Song -8 F
11 Jiyai Shin -8 F
15 Yu Liu -7 F
15 Charley Hull -7 F
15 Hee-Kyung Bae -7 F
15 Minjee Lee -7 F
19 Marina Alex -6 F
19 Ariya Jutanugarn -6 F
19 Mami Fukuda -6 F
19 Nelly Korda -6 F
19 Lexi Thompson -6 F
24 In Gee Chun -5 F
24 Jacqui Concolino -5 F
24 Eun-Hee Ji -5 F
24 Lizette Salas -5 F
24 Teresa Lu -5 F
24 Wei Ling Hsu -5 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. 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).

Comments

  1. Sun-ju Ahn could hardly be considered a longshot. A dark horse, perhaps, but not a longshot. She's the current leader of the JLPGA money list and Player of the Year standings and she has won this event before, electing in 2015 as Teresa Lu did 2 years earlier not to accept the LPGA tour card that came with the victory.

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