Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ricoh Women's British Open Preview, Predictions, Pairings

The LPGA and LET meet up this week at Carnoustie for the 1st time for the Ricoh Women's British Open. Ya Ni Tseng will be striving to defend her WBO title and get her 5th career win at an LPGA major, Karrie Webb will be looking for her 3rd LPGA win of 2011 and 4th WBO title, Ai Miyazato will be aiming fo her 1st major and 8th career LPGA victory, Suzann Pettersen will be going for her 2nd major and 8th LPGA win in an effort to lift the spirits of her grieving country, Stacy Lewis will be trying to take her 2nd major of the year, Cristie Kerr, Ji-Yai Shin, and In-Kyung Kim will be shooting for their 1st win of the season (which would extend their runs of seasons with at least 1 win by another year), Angela Stanford will be looking to end her victory drought, and everyone else will be wanting to put their own stamp on what is always one of the most interesting majors of the year. When held on true links courses, the WBO is probably the most democratic of all majors: it doesn't favor any particular style of play; it just rewards the golfers who bring their best game, use their best judgment, and roll best with the punchges that the terrain and the weather will send their way.

The LGU's website is great, with a detailed history of the WBO, a fascinating interview with Catriona Matthew and Janice Moodie, and lots on the challenges of Carnoustie. There have already been some great previews supplementing's overview, profile of Suzann Pettersen, interview with Karrie Webb, and other pre-tournament interviews, along with the LET's preview focusing on Ai Miyazato, Suzann Pettersen, and several others. Hound Dog packs more information into a few paragraphs than most golf writers do into a full-length article, Emily Kay focuses on Ya Ni Tseng, Ron Sirak on Suzann Pettersen, Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer, and Paige Mackenzie, Alistair Tait on Suzann Pettersen, and Beth Ann Baldry on In-Kyung Kim.

Hound Dog's Hot 20 gives you a great sense of who's been playing well on the LPGA heading into this week and I've updated my lists of the best with 7 or more wins and the best without a major on the LPGA, but, really, all bets are off at Carnoustie. Here are my guesses for this week's PakPicker at Seoul

1. Miyazato Ai
2. Kim In-Kyung
3. Miyazato Mika
4. Tseng
5. Kerr
6. Lewis
7. Creamer
8. Pressel
9. Stanford
10. Pettersen
11. Shin Ji-Yai
12. Hjorth

Alts: Choi Na Yeon, Yang, Yokomine

The pairings are super-cool! There are so many great ones, it's hard to choose which ones to focus on here. How about these (all from the 1st tee)?

7:14 am: Ai Miyazato, Na Yeon Choi, Michelle Wie
11:59 am: Ya Ni Tseng, Morgan Pressel, Mika Miyazato
11:37 am: Suzann Pettersen, Paula Creamer, Sakura Yokomine
6:41 am: Laura Davies, Karrie Webb, In-Kyung Kim
6:52 am: Cristie Kerr, Momoko Ueda, Catriona Matthew
12:21 pm: Sophie Gustafson, Stacy Lewis, Miki Saiki
11:48 am: Juli Inkster, Ji-Yai Shin, Beatriz Recari
12:10 pm: Karen Stupples, Christina Kim, Natalie Gulbis
7:25 am: Angela Stanford, Maria Hjorth, Florentyna Parker
12:32 pm: Se Ri Pak, Sandra Gal, Kristie Smith
9:48 am: Mi Hyun Kim, Kristy McPherson, Sarah Kemp
6:30 am: Anna Nordqvist, Caroline Hedwall, Sophia Popov
9:37 am: Mindy Kim, Paige Mackenzie, Jennifer Johnson
9:15 am: Lorie Kane, Carin Koch, Vicky Hurst
11:15 am: Christel Boeljon, Diana Luna, Danielle Kang [a]
2:55 pm: Moira Dunn, Cindy LaCrosse, Dewi Claire Schreefel

With so many golfers going off at such widely differing times, the luck of the draw may play a big part in the final results, but since the weather is so changeable it should hopefully even out for everyone over 72 holes. TV coverage starts tomorrow morning on ESPN (with bonus early-morning coverage on ESPN3 for those who get it). Can't wait for it to start!

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