Wednesday, June 9, 2010

State Farm Classic Preview, Predictions, Pairings

As usual, Hound Dog has produced a wonderful preview of the State Farm Classic, while the LPGA's own preview continues to improve--although their pre-tournament interviews page is where they drop the bombshell that world #1 Ji-Yai Shin had to withdraw due to emergency appendicitis surgery. Best wishes to her for a full and quick recovery. I'm hoping that Suzann Pettersen's decision to sit this week out is not due to a slower-than-expected recovery from last month's nagging injuries. Oh, and I'm hoping that Paula Creamer's thumb is healing nicely post-surgery and that rehab is going well. And while I'm at it, I'm also hoping that Grace Park's pulling out from the tournament is not due to injury and that Momoko Ueda's decision to play in the Suntory Ladies Open this week doesn't mean that she's decided to make the LPGA her "other" tour.

But enough about who's not in the field this week. Let's focus on who's most likely to go low and stay low this week. What I'm looking for is players who have been driving for show and putting for dough thus far this season. With all the water Panther Creek has taken on in the last few days, and the chance of thunderstorms on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday, I don't see too many precision players being able to keep up with the straight shooters and bombers who have already proven they can sink a lot of birdie putts. Toss in the historical results (keeping in mind that the tournament's 1st 31 years were played at The Rail), and you have my entry in this week's PakPicker:

1. Lee Jee Young
2. Yang, Amy
3. Kim Song-Hee
4. Kerr, Cristie
5. Tseng Ya Ni
6. Stupples, Karen
7. Choi Na Yeon
8. Wie, Michelle
9. Miyazato Ai
10. Hjorth, Maria
11. Stanford, Angela
12. Han Hee-Won

Alts: Park Inbee; Yoo Sun Young; Pak Se Ri

As for the pairings, I'm curious to see if Christina Kim can take advantage of being the 1st off the 10th and finally get her game in 2010 headed in the right direction in an event she's historically done well in. I'm hoping Moira Dunn can do the same in the 1st group off the 1st. And I'd like to see fellow NYer Danielle Downey do well from her 1:49 pm start off of the 1st tee, not to mention Mina Harigae do the same at the same time from the 10th. But of course I'm focused on the prime-time pairings, starting with Ai Miyazato's late-morning back-side quadrant:

Start Time: 8:33 AM
Stacy Lewis
Kristy McPherson
Karrie Webb

Start Time: 8:44 AM
Se Ri Pak
Amanda Blumenherst
Ai Miyazato

Start Time: 8:55 AM
Tanya Dergal
Brittany Lincicome
Maria Hjorth

Start Time: 9:06 AM
Eun-Hee Ji
Michele Redman
Lorie Kane

Start Time: 9:17 AM
Ya Ni Tseng
Catriona Matthew
Laura Davies

Wonder how Dergal ended up here.... Anyway, love the mix of young guns and veteran stars in this quadrant, as well as those going off the 1st tee:

Start Time: 8:33 AM
Song-Hee Kim
Shanshan Feng
Laura Diaz

Start Time: 8:44 AM
Jeong Jang
Sherri Steinhauer
Amy Yang

Start Time: 8:55 AM
Candie Kung
Sophie Gustafson
Mika Miyazato

Start Time: 9:06 AM
Pat Hurst
In-Kyung Kim
Ji Young Oh

Start Time: 9:17 AM
Karen Stupples
Meg Mallon
Stacy Prammanasudh

Would absolutely love to see Jeong Jang and NYer Laura Diaz get it going this week! It seems the tournament organizers wanted the LPGA's youngsters to be the 1st to deal with the afternoon heat, both off the front:

Start Time: 12:10 PM
Angela Stanford
Cristie Kerr
Helen Alfredsson

Start Time: 12:21 PM
Michelle Wie
Azahara Munoz
Anna Nordqvist

Start Time: 12:32 PM
Natalie Gulbis
Juli Inkster
Morgan Pressel

Start Time: 12:43 PM
Hee-Won Han
Leta Lindley
M.J. Hur

Start Time: 12:54 PM
Wendy Ward
Louise Friberg
Mi Hyun Kim

and the back:

Start Time: 12:10 PM
Seon Hwa Lee
Inbee Park
Sun Young Yoo

Start Time: 12:21 PM
Brandie Burton
Kyeong Bae
Katherine Hull

Start Time: 12:32 PM
Brittany Lang
Eunjung Yi
Karine Icher

Start Time: 12:43 PM
Na Yeon Choi
Hee Young Park
Rachel Hetherington

Start Time: 12:54 PM
Haeji Kang
Jee Young Lee
Vicky Hurst

(although come to think of it there are a fair number of veterans in those ranks).

Onechan has a half-day of school tomorrow and I'll be taking her to the Easiest Golf Course in the World for a few holes if the weather holds up, so no not-quite-live-blogging for me tomorrow. But I am hoping to post my updated Best of the LPGA ranking before play starts. Look for it!

[Update 1 (8:48 pm): One of my favorite things about the State Farm is Dave Kane's reporting!]

[Update 2 (6/10/10, 8:28 am): Here's Jeff Skinner's reaction to Shin's appendectomy.]

[Update 3 (3:54 pm): Nice reminders from both Brent Kelley and Golf Babes that Minea Blomqvist's maternity leave ends today!]

[Update 4 (3:58 pm): Randall Mell looks at the significance of the next 8 weeks, in which the LPGA has 7 events and 3 majors. Shin's agent says she wants to be back for the LPGA Championship, but I just don't see it.]

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