Tuesday, March 3, 2009

HSBC Women's Champions Preview/Predictions/Pairings

It's finally time for the Showdown in Singapore! What's not to love about this event? Boasting one of the best fields in the world, it's Asia's answer to the Evian Masters. If it were a full-field event with a cut, it would lay serious claim to being the LPGA's 5th major. As it is, I rank it slightly behind Evian because the tournament organizers haven't instituted a cut. (And I'm disappointed at their announcement that this event supercedes the Women's World Match Play.)

Be that as it may, I have to give the tournament organizers credit for putting together a fantastic website. The pre-tournament profiles and interviews are fantastic, for one thing, and I'm not just saying that because they feature my favorite golfer and ratify my comeback call for her. In addition to Ai Miyazato, the website features a veritable who's who of the hottest players in the world of women's professional golf, from Lorena Ochoa, Paula Creamer, and Ya Ni Tseng to Angela Stanford and Katherine Hull. They also profile players who have been struggling of late like Morgan Pressel, Inbee Park, and Laura Davies. And they even give some props to their sponsor exemptions, Shiho Oyama and Russy Gulyanamitta. But also check out their course guide, which is impeccable, and their overview of Ochoa's monster win last season.

Can Lorena Ochoa defend her title and win her 2nd straight event of 2009? I don't see why not.

1. Ochoa
2. Creamer
3. Stanford
4. Tseng
5. Lang
6. Choi Na Yeon
7. Shin
8. Kerr
9. Lee Jee Young
10. Miyazato
11. Hull
12. Park, Jane

Alts: Park Hee Young; Ji; Hurst, Vicky

Hound Dog likes Lorena's chances, too. For the rest of the Pakpickers' picks, head over to Seoul Sisters.com.

Just like last week's limited-field event in Thailand, every pairing is incredible. And what's lost by going out in threesomes instead of actual pairs this week is gained by the tournament organizers' excellent taste. Here are my favorites:

1st tee, 10:10 AM
Christina Kim
Morgan Pressel
Ai Miyazato

1st tee, 10:50 AM
Ji-Yai Shin
Momoko Ueda
Suzann Pettersen

1st tee, 10:20 AM
Paula Creamer
Helen Alfredsson
Eun-Hee Ji

1st tee, 11:00 AM
Seon Hwa Lee
Katherine Hull
Stacy Prammanasudh

1st tee, 10:40 AM
Lorena Ochoa
Hee Young Park
Cristie Kerr

1st tee, 10:30 AM
Ya Ni Tseng
Karrie Webb
Angela Stanford

10th tee, 10:10 AM
Jee Young Lee
Inbee Park
Hee-Won Han

1st tee, 9:00 AM
Sophie Gustafson
Brittany Lang
Sun Young Yoo

With half the JLPGA's top 10 from 2008 in this event, I'll be very curious to see how my #1 Ji-Hee Lee kicks off this season. The other half of the top 10 will be competing in the season-opening JLPGA event, the Daikin Ladies Open in Okinawa. Just as it hurts women's golf for the LPGA to have scheduled its SBS Open against the ALPG/LET's Women's Australian Open, it's bad for everyone when as big a tournament as the HSBC conflicts with any JLPGA event. I'm hoping that in 2010 the various women's professional tours will do a better job of coordinating--and perhaps consolidating through co-sponsorship--their winter seasons.

In the meantime, I can't wait to see if anyone is ready to stand up to Lorena in Singapore!


IceCat said...

If you can figure out how to sign up for free at J-Golf's website (http://www.jgolfi.com) you can watch 4 hours of LIVE coverage each night Wednesday-Saturday starting at 11pmEST.

IceCat said...

...in Korean, of course.