I'm psyched that the organizers of the HSBC Women's Champions decided to reshuffle the 1st-round pairings for tomorrow's 2nd round. When you've got 63 of the best female players on the planet competing on the same course, I'm all in favor of maximizing the chances for them to play with and get to know a wide range of their fellow competitors. Consider tomorrow's key permutations, for instance:
10:04 am, 1st tee: Ya Ni Tseng, Karrie Webb, Sun Young Yoo. All eyes will be on Tseng's attempt to get her 5th worldwide win in her 5th 2011 start, but Webb is playing well enough to win and Yoo mowed down some of the best in the world last year when she won the Sybase Match Play Championship--plus she played bogey-free golf in today's winds. Don't be surprised to see Yoo make some serious noise this week.
8:36 am, 1st tee: Suzann Pettersen, Michelle Wie, Amy Yang. How cool is it to see these 3 power players in the same pairing? 5 shots back with no cut means that Friday has to be moving day for them. The point is to win, right?
10:15 am, 1st tee: Na Yeon Choi, Chie Arimura, Karen Stupples. Choi seems to play her best when she's bouncing back from a big disappointment. After she missed the 1st cut of her LPGA career midway through last season, she went on a tear that brought her the money-list title and the Vare Trophy. Well, last week on moving day, she dropped out of contention in a big way and fell further behind Tseng, who edged her out for Rookie of the Year back in 2008. You think she's going to take that lying down? No way! As for Arimura and Stupples, it'll be interesting to see if they can hang with Choi and stay ahead of their lead chase pack in the final pairing off the front.
9:31 am, 1st tee: Hee Kyung Seo, Lindsey Wright, Eun-Hee Ji. Call this trio the comeback kids. Seo disappeared after winning the Kia Classic at the start of last season, Wright fell apart at the end of last season and has gotten off to a bad start this one, and Ji is finally getting major swing changes grooved after a year and a half in the wilderness following her U.S. Women's Open win in 2009. They're right in the thick of things, only 4 back, but they'll need to make a move tomorrow and/or the next day to not just follow but surpass the leaders.
9:09 am, 1st tee: Stacy Lewis, Mika Miyazato, Gwladys Nocera. All are looking for their 1st LPGA wins and all can point to evidence that they're getting closer and closer to breaking through. Nocera couldn't outdo Beatriz Recari toward the end of last season in Northern California, Lewis was hanging with Ya Ni Tseng shot for shot Down Under on the LET earlier this month, and Miyazato's victory at the Japan Women's Open last year has given her loads of confidence. Nocera's 5 back and Lewis and Miyazato are 4 back, so it'll be interesting to see if they can feed off each other's play tomorrow. Lewis was -4 over her last 6 holes today, Miyazato -2 over her last 8, and Nocera -2 over her last 5, so they've definitely got some mo' goin'.
8:47 am, 1st tee: Morgan Pressel, Angela Stanford, Momoko Ueda. They, too, are 5 behind Arimura, so will need to be taking dead aim tomorrow. This is a threesome that's had to deal with the weight of high expectations for a long time. Let's see if they can come through when the spotlight's a little bit off them.
8:25 am, 10th tee: Inbee Park, Anna Nordqvist, Seon Hwa Lee. Park has been upping her power levels (even at the cost of accuracy off the tee) in recent years, while Nordqvist is a surprisingly short hitter for someone of her height and Lee has always been a precision player. None of them have won in a while and being 6 off the lead after only 18 holes isn't the way to break that streak, but it'll be interesting to see who among them can turn things around tomorrow.
These are the 7 that stand out to me. How about you?