Wednesday, June 3, 2009

State Farm Classic Preview/Predictions/Pairings

The State Farm Classic is back at Panther Creek for the 3rd straight year--and let's hope that the tournament is back for its 35th anniversary next season! Last year was a memorable event, not only because Ji Young Oh upset Ya Ni Tseng in a playoff, but also because Michelle Wie was in contention until it came to light that she failed to sign her card in the scorer's tent after her 2nd round and she was DQed after the 3rd. The tournament's moved up from July to be the lead-in to the LPGA Championship, so of course the field is being touted as the strongest in the tournament's history. As I noted in last year's preview, water comes into play on a good number of holes, so the big hitters will need to be pretty accurate to win. Based on recent results at Panther Creek and this year on the LPGA, here are my picks in this week's PakPicker.

1. Miyazato Ai
2. Creamer
3. Tseng Ya Ni
4. Pettersen
5. Kerr
6. Kim In-Kyung
7. Lang
8. Kim Song-Hee
9. Choi Na Yeon
10. Stanford
11. Shin
12. Wie

Alts: Lee Seon Hwa, Lee Jee Young, Kim Christina

Here's hoping my picks come through this week. I need them to to have a hope of catching Hound Dog, who came through with strong picks again this week. We'll see if I can extend my winning streak to 2!

Speaking of winning streaks, wouldn't it be cool if Tseng can make up for her playoff loss last year at Panther Creek this week? She's paired with 2 of her chief rivals for the coveted #2 spot on the LPGA Tour in the back-side early-afternoon prime-time quadrant, which itself is loaded:

Start Time: 12:10 PM
Michelle Wie
Natalie Gulbis
Ji Young Oh

Start Time: 12:21 PM
Cristie Kerr
Paula Creamer
Ya Ni Tseng

Start Time: 12:32 PM
Suzann Pettersen
Ji-Yai Shin
Angela Stanford

Start Time: 12:43 PM
Katherine Hull
Seon Hwa Lee
Morgan Pressel

Start Time: 12:54 PM
Laura Diaz
Juli Inkster
Brittany Lincicome

Love the Lee-Pressel former-Top Young Gun #1-#2 pairing! But the best of the Young Guns' pairings has to come in the late-morning back-side prime-time quadrant:

Start Time: 8:32 AM
Lorie Kane
Louise Friberg
Young Kim

Start Time: 8:43 AM
Song-Hee Kim
Momoko Ueda
Angela Park

Start Time : 8:54 AM
Soo-Yun Kang
Shiho Oyama
Hee-Won Han

Start Time: 9:05 AM
Candie Kung
Maria Hjorth
Na Yeon Choi

Start Time: 9:16 AM
Sun Young Yoo
Pat Hurst
Jee Young Lee

Kim, Ueda, and Park should be going head-to-head for years to come, and they all have good reason to be gunning for the top spot in their generation. But don't be surprised if the Young Guns in the front-side early-afternoon prime-time quadrant happen to outshine them this week:

Start Time: 12:10 PM
Brittany Lang
Eun-Hee Ji
Jane Park

Start Time: 12:21 PM
Meena Lee
Kristy McPherson
Se Ri Pak

Start Time: 12:32 PM
Christina Kim
Ai Miyazato
Sandra Gal

Start Time: 12:43 PM
Laura Davies
Mi Hyun Kim
Vicky Hurst

Start Time: 12:54 PM
Helen Alfredsson
Karrie Webb
In-Kyung Kim

Let's hope the time off did Jane Park's back some good. Thankfully, it looks like Meaghan Francella is healthy again; it's good to see her back in the late-morning front-side prime-time quadrant:

Start Time: 8:32 AM
Hee Young Park
Inbee Park
Rachel Hetherington

Start Time: 8:43 AM
Michele Redman
Wendy Ward
Mika Miyazato

Start Time: 8:54 AM
Louise Stahle
Jimin Kang
Sophie Gustafson

Start Time: 9:05 AM
Nicole Castrale
Lindsey Wright
Meaghan Francella

Start Time: 9:16 AM
Teresa Lu
Brandie Burton
Stacy Prammanasudh

Now to see if I'll be able to get up early enough to watch any of this tournament on Japanese TV. The jet lag has pretty much worn off, so it's going to be a challenge this week!

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