Thursday, June 2, 2011

ShopRite LPGA Classic Preview, Predictions, Pairings

There's some pretty important information about the ShopRite LPGA Classic in Hound Dog's preview and Hot 20,'s preview and pre-tournament interviews, and preview and update. First, the field consists of 150 players, with Suzann Pettersen (flu) and Inbee Park (resting after competing on the JLPGA last week) the only significant absentees. Second, Ya Ni Tseng had to withdraw from the pro-am yesterday with shoulder pain. Third, Seaview's Bay course is short, tight, and open to the wind (although the forecast is for the winds to die down over the weekend). So expect scoring to be low this week and the tour's precision players to have a pretty significant advantage.

Of course, I'm super-excited because Ai Miyazato is the defending champion and another fave of mine, Seon Hwa Lee, won here in 2006. Both players showed signs during the Sybase Match Play Championship of coming out of their slumps--let's see if they can keep moving in the right direction this week. Going by results from 2010 and earlier, I'm putting both of them in my PakPicker entry for the week:

1. Kim In-Kyung
2. Shin Ji-Yai
3. Creamer
4. Miyazato Ai
5. Lewis, Stacy
6. Pressel
7. Webb
8. Kerr
9. Stanford
10. Lee Seon Hwa
11. Choi Na Yeon
12. Yoo

Alts: Nordqvist, Hull, Kim Song-Hee

If you're looking for dark horses this week, I'd recommend Ryann O'Toole, a multiple winner on developmental tours this season and a good ball-striker, Harukyo Nomura, who's coming off her 1st-ever JLPGA victory and is also hitting the ball well, and Shanshan Feng, who's also been hitting a lot of fairways and greens in 2011. Others playing well coming into this week include Sandra Gal, Amy Yang, Michelle Wie, Momoko Ueda, Mika Miyazato, Jennifer Song, Chella Choi, Paige Mackenzie, and Karen Stupples.

In fact, when you look at the pairings, you realize the winner could come from almost anywhere this week. Here's just a smattering of the most fascinating threesomes:

1st tee, 12:44 pm: Ai Miyazato, Na Yeon Choi, Stacy Lewis
1st tee, 9:01 am: Mi Hyun Kim, Michelle Wie, Anna Nordqvist
10th tee, 12:00 pm: Ya Ni Tseng, Se Ri Pak, Jee Young Lee
1st tee, 12:33 pm: Ji-Yai Shin, Sandra Gal, Azahara Munoz
10th tee, 9:01 am: Cristie Kerr, Grace Park, Amanda Blumenherst
10th tee, 8:17 am: Paula Creamer, Brittany Lang, Hee Young Park
10th tee, 8:39 am: Karrie Webb, Sun Young Yoo, Stacy Prammanasudh
10th tee, 12:44 pm: In-Kyung Kim, Karen Stupples, Kristy McPherson
10th tee, 8:28 am: Song-Hee Kim, Mika Miyazato, Candie Kung
1st tee, 12:22 pm: Juli Inkster, Laura Davies, Laura Diaz
10th tee, 8:50 am: Seon Hwa Lee, Shanshan Feng, Amy Hung
10th tee, 7:33 am: Jessica Korda, Jennifer Johnson, Stephanie Sherlock
1st tee, 7:33 am: Lindsey Wright, Nicole Castrale, Ryann O'Toole
10th tee, 7:44 am: Jennifer Song, Moira Dunn, Dori Carter
1st tee, 7:00 am: Lexi Thompson, Pernilla Lindberg, Birdie Kim
10th tee, 2:01 pm: Julieta Granada, Jane Park, Louise Friberg

Too bad Golf Channel puts off 1st-round coverage until midnight Saturday!

[Update 1 (6/3/11, 6:48 am): Nice piece on Ai Miyazato by Beth Ann Baldry.]

1 comment:

Terminally Curious said...

I have a hunch about Jennifer Song this week. It's going to be a breakthrough tournament for her at the ShopRite