Thursday, November 6, 2008

Mizuno Classic Preview/Pairings/Predictions

Momoko Ueda returns to the Mizuno Classic to defend her title against a strong field. The event has a long history, but it has only been played at the current course for the past 2 seasons. Karrie Webb was the 1st to post a victory at Kashikojima--and break Annika Sorenstam's 5-year winning streak in Japan.

Those competing in this week's Pakpicker over at Seoul may wish to consult my September Best Off the LPGA JLPGA rankings, Hound Dog's current JLPGA ranking, the current JLPGA money list (for those who don't like clicking on names, head to my last JLPGA post for the top 30), and my hot-off-the-presses Best of the LPGA ranking.

At least that's what I did in putting together these predictions:

1. Tseng
2. Shin Ji-Yai
3. Ueda
4. Lee Jee Young
5. Lee Ji-Hee
6. Fudoh
7. Kim Christina
8. Miyazato
9. Yokomine
10. Choi Na Yeon
11. Kim In-Kyung
12. Koga

Alts: Oyama, Fukushima, Webb

The pairings are simply amazing for JLPGA fans. As I did for last week's event, I'll list them by tee and relative strength.

1st Tee

Start Time: 10:00 AM
In-Kyung Kim
Yani Tseng
Ji-Hee Lee

Start Time: 9:40 AM
Candie Kung
Mi Hyun Kim
Christina Kim

Start Time: 9:20 AM
Karrie Webb
Kristy McPherson
Ai Miyazato

Start Time: 9:30 AM
Morgan Pressel
Louise Friberg
Momoko Ueda

Start Time: 8:00 AM
Mi-Jeong Jeon
Shiho Oyama
So-Hee Kim

Start Time: 9:00 AM
Miho Koga
Shinobu Moromizato
Janice Moodie

In addition, Sakura Yokomine is going off at 9:10 am, Akiko Fukushima at 9:50 am, and Yuko Mitsuka at 8:20 am.

10th Tee

Start Time: 9:40 AM
Na Yeon Choi
Hee Young Park
Young Kim

Start Time: 9:30 AM
Jee Young Lee
Teresa Lu
Rachel Hetherington

Start Time: 9:50 AM
Lindsey Wright
Minea Blomqvist
Ji Young Oh

Start Time: 8:50 AM
Yuri Fudoh
Miki Saiki
Kim Hall

Start Time: 10:00 AM
Catriona Matthew
Meena Lee
Carin Koch

Start Time: 9:20 AM
Jin Joo Hong
Shanshan Feng
Wendy Ward

It's a bit strange that the tournament organizers didn't aggregate their big names more: Ji-Yai Shin goes off at 8:20 am, Erina Hara at 8:30 am, Ayako Uehara at 9:00 am, and Bo-Bae Song at 8:00 am. Why there were so many LPGA-only pairings is beyond me.

Moira Dunn is the 1st alternate, so I assume she's in Japan waiting to see if she'll get to play. If my faves Ai-chan, Momo-chan, or In-Kyung Kim can't win this week, I'd really love to see someone like Sakura Yokomine, Miho Koga, Ayako Uehara, Yuko Mitsuka, or Erina Hara do it, as I think they'd be top 50 players on the LPGA in '09(and Miyazato, Ueda, and probably Oyama and Saiki could use the company in the U.S. next season). At the same time, I wouldn't mind seeing one of the JLPGA's Korean contingent like Ji-Hee Lee, Mi-Jeong Jeon, Bo-Bae Song, Eun-A Lim, Esther Lee, or Ji-Woo Lee punch their ticket to the LPGA this week. But above all I'd love to see a better showing from the JLPGA's finest than we saw from the top KLPGA stars last week.

[Update 1 (12:52 am): Here's Hound Dog's tournament preview.]

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