Monday, February 13, 2012

Korda Got It Done, In Tournament Number One

What a start to the 2012 LPGA season!
A huge congratulations goes out this week to 18-year-old Jessica Korda, who won the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open in a 6-player playoff.

For those of you who did not watch the telecast (maybe because of the tape delay), you missed one of the greatest LPGA tournaments ever! The Royal Melbourne Golf Course was one of the toughest courses the ladies have ever had to play. The cut, which came in at 7 over par, proved how difficult the course played. The only course I could compare this to in recent years is Oakmont, where Paula Creamer came away victorious 2 years ago. Korda struggled last season as a rookie, never contending in a single tournament. Her best finish last year was a tie for 19th place.

Last year brought a number of first-time winners. Stacy Lewis making her first win a major, taking down Yani Tseng comes to mind. Sandra Gal's win on the 72nd hole defeated Jiyai Shin at the Kia Classic. Lexi Thompson became a 16-year-old first time winner at the Navistar Classic, and Hee Young Park stunned an all-star field with her victory at the Titleholders. This stunning victory by Korda, in my mind at least, is as shocking as any of those.

Titleholders Update:
Jessica Korda, Stacy Lewis, and Brittany Lincicome become the first three members to qualify.

Rolex Ranking Mover of the Week:
Jessica Korda Moves from #285 to #82

Hard to believe stat of the week:
Beatriz Recari was one of only 3 LPGA players to play all 23 tournaments last year. She did not have a top 10 finish. She finished tied for 10th this week.

Oh, My My:
Ji Young Oh missed her 10th consecutive cut.
Angela Oh missed her 8th cut in a row.

Extra Stuff:
Song-Hee Kim, who's 2011 struggles were well documented, shot 80-78=158 and missed the cut by 5 strokes. Surely not the start she was hoping for.

Juli Inkster had surgery performed on her elbow. She will likely miss most, if not all of the 2012 season. I certainly hope she will make it back, as it would be a shame if she went out this way.

Honda LPGA Thailand preview:
The tour moves to Thailand this week, here are some details:

Course: Siam Country Club, Pattaya Old Course
Location: Chonburi, Thailand
Defending Champion: Yani Tseng
2011 Winning Score: 66-71-70-66=273 (-15)

Final Field: 70 players
Par: 72
Yardage: 6477 Yards
Purse: 1.5 Million

In spite of its limited field of 70 players (up from 60 last year), this is a very strong field. The only player among the top names that appears to be missing is So Yeon Ryu. My strength of field rating is 62%, up from 48% last week.

Here is the television schedule:
Feb 16 12:30-2:30 PM ET GC
Feb 17 12:30-2:30 PM ET GC
Feb 18 3:00-6:00 PM ET GC
Feb 19 3:00-6:30 PM ET GC

Once again because of the 12-hour time difference, the broadcast will not be live. I remind you once again to stay away from the LPGA website, which will have results posted before the telecast. I will hold off on posting any spoilers until after the telecast is completed.

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