Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Kraft Nabisco Championship Preview, Predictions, Pairings

The best of the LPGA have been joined by last week's winner Hee Kyung Seo, her top KLPGA rival So Yeon Ryu, 8 of the top 10 among the JLPGA's finest, and some of the best U.S. women amateurs this week at the 1st major of 2010, the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Since I have two years of preview posts under my belt and plenty of guidance from others (including Golfweek), I'm jumping right in with my predictions in this week's PakPicker at Seoul I'm going with the players whose games seem the sharpest right now and who have a history of playing Mission Hills well.

1. Shin
2. Miyazato Ai
3. Kerr
4. Seo
5. Wie
6. Kim Song-Hee
7. Choi Na Yeon
8. Park Inbee
9. Tseng
10. Pettersen
11. Webb
12. Ochoa

Alts: Ueda; Yokomine; Lee Jee Young

As for the pairings, with Shanshan Feng, Maria Hjorth, and Helen Alfredsson DQed for missing their pro-am starting times, it remains to be seen whether the tournament organizers will reshuffle them. But assuming they won't, here are my top 12 pairings:

1. Ai Miyazato and Karrie Webb (#10, 8:34 am)
2. In-Kyung Kim and Mi-Hyun Kim (#1, 12:32 pm)
3. Seon Hwa Lee and Amy Yang (#1, 8:42 am)
4. Momoko Ueda and Vicky Hurst (#10, 8:58 am)
5. Chie Arimura and Hee Kyung Seo (#10, 8:02 am)
6. Ya Ni Tseng and Jeong Jang (#10, 12:48 pm)
7. Se Ri Pak and Na Yeon Choi (#1, 8:34 am)
8. Song-Hee Kim and Hee Young Park (#1, 8:58 am)
9. Suzann Pettersen and Anna Nordqvist (#10, 8:42 am)
10. Cristie Kerr and Morgan Pressel (#10, 8:26 am)
11. Angela Stanford and Stacy Lewis (#1, 8:26 am)
12. Lorena Ochoa and Juli Inkster (#1, 12:08 pm)

Check out the tournament preview and pre-tournament interviews from before the action begins!

[Update 1 (6:18 pm): Here's Ron Sirak's preview! And just as Hound Dog predicted, Paula Creamer had surgery yesterday to deal with her thumb/wrist issues.]

[Update 2 (4/1/10, 4:16 am): Ryan Ballengee strikes twice, first with a video interview with Suzann Pettersen and then with a report on Maria Hjorth's tweets on her DQ.]

[Update 3 (4:20 am): Here's Mike from Ruthless Golf with an embed of the Ladies of the Lake video of champions' leaps and take on the pre-tournament news. And here's Jamie at Snap Hook Herald with his mini-profiles of the KNC sponsor exemptions and tournament preview.]

[Update 4 (4:51 am): Here's Patti Myers in The Desert Sun on Ai Miyazato's quest for that 1st win on U.S. soil (outside Q-School, that is).]

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