Monday, March 19, 2012

Kia Classic Preview

At the risk of sounding repetitious, I want to give Yani Tseng a big congratulations for her victory at the RR Donnelly Founders Cup. For most of the weekend it didn't even seem that Yani was playing up to her usual level of golf. The fact that she was still able to win, shows us how great a player she has become.

The tour moves to California this week for the playing of the Kia Classic. The last two ladies to emerge victorious in this event were first time winners. In 2010, Hee Kyeong Seo shocked us all by winning as a non LPGA winner. Last year Sandra Gal made this event her maiden victory.

Here are some details:

Course: La Costa Resort and Spa
Location: Carlsbad, California
Defending Champion: Sandra Gal
Winning Score: 67-68-70 71 +276 (-16)

Final Field: 144 players
Par 72
Yardage: Info not currently available
Purse $ 1.7 Million

This will be the strongest field of the year so far. My strength of field is 68%.
Every LPGA member ranked in the top 45 of the Rolex Rankings will be in attendance.
The only notable LPGA member missing from the field is Momoko Ueda. Returning to the field this week is Jessica Korda, who was a winner in her only start this year.
Mellissa Reid and Ha Neul Kim, have been granted sponsor exemptions.

Here is the television schedule:
March 22 6:30-9:00 PM ET GC
March 23 6:30-9:00 PM ET GC
March 24 6:30-9:00 PM ET GC
March 25 7:00-9:00 PM ET GC

Rolex Movers of the Week:
Ai Miyazato moves from #9 to #7. Caroline Hedwall moves from #32 to #24.

Titleholders Update:
So Yeon Ryu, Hee Young Park, and Caroline Hedwall become the latest to qualify.

Hard to Believe stat of the week:
You would think it impossible to have 16 birdies and only 7 bogeys in a 72 hole tournament and finish 8 over par. That is exactly what Ryann O'Toole did this past weekend. Unfortunately for her she also had 3 double bogeys, and 3 triple bogeys on her scorecard.

Other Tidbits:

Paula Creamer moves to #8 on the career money list, as she passed Beth Daniel.
Here is a look at the career top 10 of all time:

1 Annika Sorenstam $22,573,192.00
2 Karrie Webb $16,587,476.75
3 Lorena Ochoa $14,863,331.00
4 Cristie Kerr $13,607,874.75
5 Juli Inkster $13,394,109.98
6 Se Ri Pak $11,437,047.50
7 Meg Mallon $9,044,059.00
8 Paula Creamer $8,802,101.00
9 Beth Daniel $8,786,562.80
10 Laura Davies $8,737,720.50
Paula, only 25 years old, is the only player on the list under 30.

Sophomore Jinx?
Tiffany Joh who had an excellent rookie season in 2011 when she recorded a per round average of 72.75, has seen that figure balloon to 74.78 this year. Look for her to snap out of it sooner rather than later.

Consistently mediocre; Suzann Pettersen has been just that with her finishes resulting in 22nd, 21st, 25th, and 26th place this year.

Momoko Ueda withdrew after two rounds this past weekend. She was in the top 20 at the time with a 4 under par score. She has now pulled out of the Kia Classic.

Brittany Lincicome missed the cut this past weekend. She had made an LPGA leading 44 consecutive cuts. Karrie Webb now has the longest streak with 28.

Yani Tseng is the only player to finish in the top ten in all four tournaments this year. Ai Miyazato has finished in the top 10 in all three that she has played in. Honorable mention should go to Caroline Hedwall, who has not finished outside the top 12 this year.

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