Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Corning Classic Preview/Predictions/Pairings

With the weather forecast surprisingly awesome for NY's Southern Tier in late May, look for lots of fireworks during the final playing of the Corning Classic. The last 5 holes of the front side, which I ever-so-cleverly dubbed "birdie alley" last year, may well be the key to victory, although it was clutch performances on the back 9 on Sunday that lifted Leta Lindley and Jeong Jang ahead of the field and into a playoff that Lindley won. We'll see if any of the past champions can join Rosie Jones and Betsy King as the only 2-time winners in the 31-year history of the event. I can understand why Annika won't be there to give it a try, and why Lindley can't, but why not Young Kim and Juli Inkster? For that matter, where are Lorena Ochoa and Karrie Webb? Come on, people--there's even a week off before the LPGA returns to action at the State Farm!

Despite these glaring absences, the field is packed. As I emphasized in last year's preview, and as Hound Dog concurs, the course favors the precision players on tour--at least those who can handle its undulating greens. So with my last 2 weeks of PakPicking getting me nowhere, I'm going with my gut this week:

1. Miyazato Ai
2. Kim In-Kyung
3. Shin Ji-Yai
4. Creamer
5. Kim Song-Hee
6. Kerr
7. Ueda
8. Pettersen
9. Miyazato Mika
10. Lee Seon Hwa
11. Yoo
12. Oyama

Alts: Oh, Gulbis, Park Angela

As for the pairings, I find them to be remarkably well-balanced. You can go off any of the prime-time quadrants and follow multiple players with a great chance to win this week. Probably the strongest of them is going off the back in the morning:

Start Time: 8:40 AM
Ya Ni Tseng
Seon Hwa Lee
Wendy Ward

Start Time: 8:50 AM
Helen Alfredsson
Brittany Lang
In-Kyung Kim

Start Time: 9:00 AM
Meaghan Francella
Brittany Lincicome
Song-Hee Kim

Start Time: 9:10 AM
Suzann Pettersen
Lindsey Wright
Morgan Pressel

Start Time: 9:20 AM
Paula Creamer
Ji-Yai Shin
Na Yeon Choi

Unless of course you think those going off the front in the afternoon are more impressive:

Start Time: 12:10 PM
Laura Davies
Eun-Hee Ji
Shanshan Feng

Start Time: 12:20 PM
Rachel Hetherington
Teresa Lu
Alena Sharp

Start Time: 12:30 PM
Christina Kim
Vicky Hurst
Natalie Gulbis

Start Time: 12:40 PM
Cristie Kerr
Angela Stanford
Ji Young Oh

Start Time: 12:50 PM
Kristy McPherson
Michelle Wie
Laura Diaz

Sure, there are a few more players who have been struggling in this quadrant, but how could you not be bowled over by the 12:30 group? I'm sure Golf Channel will be, if they can spare any cameras away from the 12:50 one!

That leaves the Japanese, Korean, and European media to get psyched for the morning front-side pairings:

Start Time: 8:40 AM
Lorie Kane
Liselotte Neumann
Maria Hjorth

Start Time: 8:50 AM
Louise Friberg
Hee Young Park
Silvia Cavalleri

Start Time: 9:00 AM
Carin Koch
Momoko Ueda
Pat Hurst

Start Time: 9:10 AM
Inbee Park
Meena Lee
Ai Miyazato

Start Time: 9:20 AM
Jee Young Lee
Hee-Won Han
Se Ri Pak

If only Jeong Jang's wrist were fully healed from surgery, I'm sure she would have been in that 9:20 pairing. The Japanese media, in particular, had better be in good shape, as their other 2 countrywomen on tour are going off the back in the afternoon. And Shiho Oyama even gets in the prime-time pairings:

Start Time: 12:10 PM
Nicole Castrale
Brandie Burton
Mi Hyun Kim

Start Time: 12:20 PM
Stacy Prammanasudh
Katherine Hull
Angela Park

Start Time: 12:30 PM
Sophie Gustafson
Il Mi Chung
Jimin Kang

Start Time: 12:40 PM
Candie Kung
Meg Mallon
Louise Stahle

Start Time: 12:50 PM
Sun Young Yoo
Michele Redman
Shiho Oyama

And Mika Miyazato's going off right after Oyama. Other notables include LET wunderkind/LPGA slow-starter Amy Yang (8:10 am off #1), comeback-trailer Aree Song (8:20 am off #10), New Yorker Moira Dunn (8:30 am off #1), sponsor exemption Anna Nordqvist (8:30 am off #10, cruel to someone who just jetted over from the Swiss Alps and a top 10 on the LET!), and rookie M.J. Hur (1:30 pm off #1, coming off her best-ever LPGA finish last week), among many others.

The Constructivist family heads off to Japan this Friday morning--we'll be back just in time for the Wegmans Featuring Cheyenne Woods, which I hope to see in person, if jet lag (and the Full Metal Archivist) permits. We'll see how our summer vacation (and my summer writing schedule) affects the golf blogging....


Hound Dog said...

Our first four picks are eerily similar. We'll either battle for the trophy or the cellar!

Have a good and safe trip!

The Constructivist said...

Thanks, man! We must be on the same wavelength!

The Florida Masochist said...


Just a wild guess on why Juli is not here. It could be related to her daughters. Its prom time.

Frankie C said...

9 of your top 12 picks are Asian. I'm guessing that the top 12 will contain less than 3! A few years ago your theory held water but the Americans, Europeans, Hispanics, etc. have risen to the challenge, much like PGA golfers have risen to Tiger's level.

The bigger question is CAN CHARLES BARKLEY DUNK?

Frankie C