This is it: the first tournament of the LPGA's second half of the season and the last before the U.S. Women's Open, the Wegmans LPGA, which features the best webcasting in professional golf this side of free streaming video of tv feeds, plus some of the best local media coverage in the country.
The field is quite strong; although Momoko Ueda will be taking the week off after her roller-coaster birthday win on the JLPGA and Se Ri Pak and Na Yeon Choi will also be sitting this one out after competing on the KLPGA this past week, just about everyone you'd hope to be there will be there, including Vicky Hurst, who just got her second Futures Tour win, and Michelle Wie, who's been playing her best golf since mid-2006 over the past few weeks. Hound Dog has just come up with a system for rating fields, so be sure to check out his preview (as he notes, Karrie Webb is also skipping the event).
The Locust Hill course is short, tight, and tree-lined, just the kind of layout Paula Creamer loves--but surprisingly, she hasn't cracked the top 20 here in the past two seasons. The weather is going to be cool and possibly wet through Thursday--which is bad news for players like Jeong Jang with her bad wrist and Mi Hyun Kim with her rehabbing knee--but it should warm up by Friday, so scoring conditions should be perfect. Expect a winning score in the double digits under par, although the final 6 holes may have as much of a braking effect on low scores this year as they did last.
So who should do well this week? Here are my picks:
1. Kim Mi Hyun
2. Jang Jeong
5. Lee Seon Hwa
6. Han Hee-Won
7. Kim Song-Hee
10. Tseng Ya Ni
11. Miyazato Ai
12. Park Jane
Alts: Hurst Vicky, Kim In-Kyung, Park Angela
I'm going for win #3 on the Pakpicker--here's hoping my run of good luck continues....