Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Avnet LPGA Classic Preview, Pairings, Predictions

With LPGA.com, Hound Dog, and Tony Jesselli already coming through with excellent previews of the Avnet LPGA Classic, and with Tommy Hicks doing his usual amazing job (see his profiles of Karrie Webb, Paula Creamer, Brittany Lincicome, and Na Yeon Choi), I don't have all that much to add except to say that although moving this event before the JLPGA's Salonpas Cup was a good idea, that move did put it in conflict with a JLPGA event at which Ji-Yai Shin is obligated to defend her title, the CyberAgent Ladies Cup BAD Ladies (great name!) [update: but now they're using the original name!]. Given that this is the only LPGA event in April and there's another big break before the Sybase, I'm actually a little bit surprised that only Shin, Inbee Park, Momoko Ueda, Shiho Oyama, Meena Lee, and Teresa Lu among the dual LPGA/JLPGA members are not making the trip over to Mobile. Kudos to Ai Miyazato, Hee Young Park, Shanshan Feng, and Lindsey Wright for sticking with the LPGA this week! Oh, and it's interesting that Harukyo Nomura was one of the 2 Monday qualifiers for the event, given that Mika Miyazato, who blazed the path for Japanese golfers starting their pro careers on the LPGA, is also in the Avnet field.

Hound Dog's Hot 20 and last year's results should give you a good sense of who's got the best odds of doing well on the Robert Trent Jones-designed Magnolia Grove Crossings course. Me, I'm going to rely on yesterday's Best of the LPGA rankings, which is now much more heavily weighted toward recent results with the addition of a pair of 2011-only systems (including Tony Jesselli's) to my own mash-up of 4 others, to generate my predictions for this week's PakPicker:

1. Tseng
2. Webb
3. Lincicome
4. Creamer
5. Wie
6. Choi Na Yeon
7. Lewis
8. Stanford
9. Pettersen
10. Kerr
11. Yoo
12. Pak Se Ri

Alts: Morgan Pressel, Song-Hee Kim, Lexi Thompson

The 1st-round pairings are a great mix of marquee and up-and-coming groups (former winners at Magnolia Grove are bolded). My top big-name pairings include:

1st tee, 8:29 am: Ai Miyazato, Paula Creamer, Angela Stanford
10th tee, 12:12 pm: Ya Ni Tseng, Karrie Webb, Beatriz Recari
1st tee, 8:40 pm: Michelle Wie, Morgan Pressel, Hee Kyung Seo
1st tee, 8:18 am: Se Ri Pak, Brittany Lincicome, Natalie Gulbis
10th tee, 12:01 pm: Cristie Kerr, Suzann Pettersen, Christina Kim
10th tee, 11:50 am: Stacy Lewis, Sandra Gal, Azahara Munoz
1st tee, 12:23 pm: Na Yeon Choi, Hee Young Park, Eun-Hee Ji
10th tee, 8:51 am: Grace Park, Hee-Won Han, Seon Hwa Lee
1st tee, 8:07 am: Juli Inkster, Laura Davies, Amanda Blumenherst
1st tee, 11:50 am: Mi Hyun Kim, Amy Yang, Sun Young Yoo

My top "no-name" (just kidding, y'all!) pairings include:

1st tee, 12:45 pm: Moira Dunn, Ryann O'Toole, Chella Choi
10th tee, 12:56 pm: Tiffany Joh, Jessica Korda, Kimberly Kim
10th tee, 1:18 pm: Mina Harigae, Mariajo Uribe, Young-A Yang
10th tee, 1:07 pm: Leta Lindley, Jennifer Song, Mindy Kim
1st tee, 7:56 am: Lexi Thompson, Pernilla Lindberg, Stephanie Louden
1st tee, 7:45 am: Alison Walshe, Jaclyn Sweeney, Sara Brown
1st tee, 7:34 am: Cindy LaCrosse, Pornanong Phatlum, Dorothy Delasin

I'll also be keeping an eye on Jane Park (10th tee, 7:12 am), Mika Miyazato (10th tee, 8:18 am), and the dark horse pairings of Maria Hjorth, Shanshan Feng, and Shi Hyun Ahn (10th tee, 12:23 pm) and Song-Hee Kim, Karine Icher, and Amy Hung (1st tee, 12:34 pm). But perhaps my closest focus will be on Jee Young Lee (10th tee, 12:34 pm), who hasn't yet made a cut on the LPGA in 2011 but fired 2 66s here last year on the way to a T4 finish. She played decently in Korea last week, so I'm hoping she's getting over whatever caused her to cut last season so short and start this season so slow.

2 comments:

diane said...

The most interesting pairing I see is: 10th tee, 12:56 pm: Tiffany Joh, Jessica Korda, Kimberly Kim.

TJoh and Kimberly Kim were members of the 2008 US Curtis Cup team; KimKim and Jessica were members of the team in 2010. As far as I can tell this will be the first time they've teed it up together as professionals after they had concurrent stellar amateur careers. Hopefully GC will give them some coverage either Thursday or Friday.

The Constructivist said...

Amen!