Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Longs Drugs Challenge Preview/Predictions/Pairings

Check out Hound Dog's preview of and pre-tournament interviews for the Longs Drugs Challenge, a small-purse event at an unpopular course that had been the gateway to the LPGA's Asian Swing until the creation of the Kapalua Classic. The field, as a result, is a bit thinner than it ought to be, but only a little. I'm just pleased that my fave Ai Miyazato, fresh off last week's "win" on the JLPGA, is back on the LPGA for the next 2 events at least. And yet, I'm surprised that onechan's fave Karrie Webb, who's had a fair bit of success at this course and event of late, won't be going for it this week.

With Golf Observer's performance chart as my guide, here are my guesses for this week's Pakpicker. I'm going to need the same kind of charge Paula Creamer needs to catch Ochoa if I want to get into the top 3 this season.

1. Pettersen
2. Ochoa
3. Creamer
4. Kerr
5. Tseng
6. Inkster
7. Ji Eun-Hee
8. Kim Mi Hyun
9. Choi Na Yeon
10. Kim In-Kyung
11. Miyazato
12. Park Jane

Alts: Feng, Kung, Lu

Yeah, I'm going with the all-Taiwanese/Chinese [thanks, Jamie!] back-ups and guessing Tseng's triceps and Kim's knee will bother them less than Stanford's shoulder or Jang's wrist, that Maria Hjorth and Nicole Castrale won't keep up their good history at Blackhawk, that this will not be Stacy Lewis's or Kim Welch's week, and that Super Soph qualifiers Kristy McPherson and Irene Cho won't be able to sustain their Monday momentum.

Speaking of whom, let's look at the pairings, which are remarkably well-balanced. Sure, the world #1 highlights the early-morning back-9 prime-time quadrant:

Start Time: 8:14 AM
Jeong Jang
Julieta Granada
Meaghan Francella

Start Time: 8:25 AM
Sung Ah Yim
Young Kim
Irene Cho

Start Time: 8:36 AM
Na Yeon Choi
Laura Davies
Laura Diaz

Start Time: 8:47 AM
Maria Hjorth
Juli Inkster
Leta Lindley

Start Time: 8:58 AM
Shanshan Feng
Lorena Ochoa
Brittany Lincicome

But her highest-ranked contenders can mostly be found in the early-afternoon front-9 quadrant:

Start Time: 11:45 AM
Teresa Lu
Sophie Gustafson
Eun-Hee Ji

Start Time: 11:56 AM
Lorie Kane
Diana D'Alessio
Mi Hyun Kim

Start Time: 12:07 PM
Giulia Sergas
Janice Moodie
Hee Young Park

Start Time: 12:18 PM
Stacy Prammanasudh
Angela Stanford
Christina Kim

Start Time: 12:29 PM
Morgan Pressel
Suzann Pettersen
Paula Creamer

Don't assume, though, that the other quadrants can't produce a winner. Check out the early-morning front-9 one:

Start Time: 8:14 AM
Candie Kung
Karen Stupples
Helen Alfredsson

Start Time: 8:25 AM
Brandie Burton
Ai Miyazato
Allison Fouch

Start Time: 8:36 AM
Nicole Castrale
Jane Park
Wendy Ward

Start Time: 8:47 AM
Becky Morgan
Carin Koch
Seon Hwa Lee

Start Time: 8:58 AM
Michele Redman
Kristy McPherson
Ji Young Oh

Unlike in Ochoa's quadrant, there's nobody enduring a season-plus-long slump here. Similarly, the early-afternon back-9 quadrant is full of people who played their way into prime-time:

Start Time: 11:45 AM
Hee-Won Han
Karine Icher
Liselotte Neumann

Start Time: 11:56 AM
In-Kyung Kim
Silvia Cavalleri
Ya Ni Tseng

Start Time: 12:07 PM
Rachel Hetherington
Kyeong Bae
Pat Hurst

Start Time: 12:18 PM
Joo Mi Kim
Sun Young Yoo
Brittany Lang

Start Time: 12:29 PM
Christa Johnson
Sandra Gal
Kim Hall

There are a lot of bubble girls going out in the non-prime-time slots. Moira Dunn (#78) and Meredith Duncan (#85) get to be the last off the front, while Jennifer Rosales (#81) and Mikaela Parmlid (#96) have similar honors on the back. Check out Hound Dog's Navistar update for the big picture. With only 108 players in the field, competition should be especially intense at every level of the LPGA's performance hierarchy this season.

[Update 1 (10/8/08, 1:33 am): Of course Golf Channel is right to focus on this week's Creamer/Pettersen/Ochoa showdown, but would it have killed them to add another 15 seconds to their segment, follow Hound Dog's lead, and focus on the Rookie of the Year race, which Ya Ni Tseng could clinch this week?]


Anonymous said...

Feng Shanshan is not Taiwanese, she is from the mainland..

The Constructivist said...

Oh, geez--stupid mistake!