Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Lorena Ochoa Invitational Preview, Predictions, Pairings

Can't wait for the Lorena Ochoa Invitational to get started! The field is, of course, amazing, even without last week's winner Ji-Yai Shin, and every single season-long race for LPGA honors (and Hall of Fame points)--money list, scoring average, Player of the Year--is very much up for grabs, except, that is, for Rookie of the Year, which has been clinched by Azahara Munoz (although it carries no HOF points, unfortunately).

Tournament hostess Lorena Ochoa is relaxed and ready to play the pro-am today with Greg Norman and have fun competing with her husband on the bag from Thursday through Sunday. Coming off an exhibition win against a mixed field in China, I'd say she's got better odds of walking away with her 28th career LPGA victory than defending champion Michelle Wie has of getting her 3rd. Given that Guadalajara Country Club doesn't seem to favor any particular style of play--the '08 champion Angela Stanford is a classic straight shooter, Wie is a classic bomber, and there have been plenty of precision players in the top 10 in the event's short history--and given that the hottest 5 players in the field (in Hound Dog's system) will be dealing with jet lag, picking a top 12 is especially difficult this week. Hound Dog's guess is probably going to be much better than mine in this week's PakPicker, because I'm throwing caution to the winds and going with my gut:

1. Miyazato Ai
2. Miyazato Mika
3. Creamer
4. Kerr
5. Kim In-Kyung
6. Tseng
7. Choi
8. Pettersen
9. Ochoa
10. Hull
11. Kim Song-Hee
12. Wie

Alts: Pressel, Lewis, Munoz

Yep, I think Ai-sama's final-round 68 in the Mizuno Classic is a sign of better things to come for her. I'm hoping that memories of winning the hilly, elevated Evian event last season and winning in Mexico this season give her hope and that playing with Lorena inspires her. Speaking of which, here are the complete pairings:

Start Time: 10:50 AM
Candie Kung
Kristy McPherson
Catriona Matthew

Start Time: 11:01 AM
Stacy Lewis
M.J. Hur
Azahara Munoz

Start Time: 11:12 AM
Morgan Pressel
Amy Yang
Sophia Sheridan

Start Time: 11:23 AM
Carling Coffing
Hee Young Park
Angela Stanford

Start Time: 11:34 AM
Meena Lee
Brittany Lang
Anna Nordqvist

Start Time: 11:45 AM
Gwladys Nocera
Song-Hee Kim
Mika Miyazato

Start Time: 11:56 AM
Christina Kim
Karine Icher
Vicky Hurst

Start Time: 12:07 PM
Karrie Webb
Ya Ni Tseng
Beatriz Recari

Start Time: 12:18 PM
Lorena Ochoa
Ai Miyazato
Pat Hurst

Start Time: 12:29 PM
In-Kyung Kim
Na Yeon Choi
Katherine Hull

Start Time: 12:40 PM
Suzann Pettersen
Paula Creamer
Brittany Lincicome

Start Time: 12:51 PM
Juli Inkster
Michelle Wie
Cristie Kerr

I really like how the tournament organizers grouped players of different nationalities (except for the made-for-tv final pairing, that is) and styles of play, but I can't help but think the leader in the Player of the Year race ought to have traded places with fellow bomber Brittany Lincicome.


courtgolf said...

Here's some fodder for debate...According to Beth Ann Baldry, Ochoa is going to have hubby on the bag this week.

SO - does that mean she's not taking the tournament seriously ?

Is she throwing in the towel on competing as hard as she can because she's going to be distracted with her hostess duties ?

OR - is she going in with the mental attitude that she'll play better not trying to force herself back into her old "#1 player in women's golf" focus routine and just try to play relaxed and have fun ?

(and I still think she'll finish ahead of Wie)

The Constructivist said...

I think it's a sign that she's not trying to get back in that "race for #1" mindset. But wouldn't it be badass if she was able to beat everyone who was in that mindset anyway?

Sports Medic said...

Maybe she feels she can get away with it because she knows the course so well.