The last time the Canadian Women's Open was held in Alberta (way back in 2007), Edmonton was the host city and a promising teenage golfer who had recently turned professional and was listed as "Ya-Ni Tseng" got a surprise top 10. Last year in Ottawa, "Yani Tseng" was in a great position to win heading into the final round, but finished in 3rd after Katherine Hull (whom she had tied the previous year) beat her by 8 shots on Sunday. This year, the player I stubbornly continue to refer to as Ya Ni Tseng returns to Alberta in a little bit of a funk--the best finish in her last 4 events is a T20 at the Women's British Open and she's broken 70 only once in that 13-round stretch--but is hoping that Calgary's Priddis Greens course, host of the 1999 du Maurier Classic, will treat her kindly. The course is more likely to do so than her fellow competitors, including a large contingent of prominent Futures Tour players who are skipping its season-ending event because they are too far down the money list to get an LPGA card, even with a win in Albany.
Of course, Tseng's chief challengers are not likely to be Amanda Blumenherst or Maria Hernandez, who had great collegiate careers but are not quite ready to be prime time players. I believe the following players are the most likely to contend this week on a course that strikes me as Alberta's answer to Evian:
1. Miyazato Ai
6. Kim, Christina
9. Kim Song-Hee
10. Kim In-Kyung
11. Lee Seon Hwa
12. Shin Ji-Yai
Alts: Hull, Jang Jeong, Webb
I'm particularly excited about the live streaming video schedule, not least because I got to watch the Safeway Classic's home stretch last weekend. With only 2 players with 2 wins on the LPGA this season, and neither playing particularly well lately, there's a great chance this week for the 14 1-time winners to put themselves in the thick of the Player of the Year race, or for one of the LPGA's best players without a member win to join them by taking victory at one of the largest-purse events on the schedule.
[Update 1 (8:42 pm): Here are Hound Dog's Hot 20 and tournament preview.]
[Update 2 (9/2/09, 5:15 am): Here's Jamie RS's preview.]