Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mizuno Classic Preview/Predictions/Pairings

35 of the JLPGA's finest tee it up tomorrow in the Mizuno Classic, looking to follow in Momoko Ueda's footsteps and get LPGA membership without going through Q-School. Yuko Mitsuka, currently 5th on the JLPGA money list, still has a chance to break into the 100 Million Yen Club in season winnings; a win this week would save her a trip to Florida in December. Miki Saiki, who failed miserably at last year's LPGA Q-School, would find sweet vindication in a victory this week. But the biggest threats to preempt the LPGA showdown between Ji-Yai Shin, Lorena Ochoa, and Ai Miyazato are the JLPGA's Big 4, all of whom have already joined the 100 Million Yen Club: ex-LPGAer Shinobu Moromizato, Sakura Yokomine, Mi-Jeong Jeon, and Chie Arimura. Don't discount the chances of Ji-Hee Lee or Miho Koga, either. Sure, Koga is coming off a missed cut, but she's an explosive player who finished last season by sandwiching a missed cut between 2 wins and taking the money title from Lee.

Golf Observer's historical stats are most relevant for the last 3 years, when the tournament has been played on this rather long course. But I'm going to ignore recent history and go with the players I think are hottest right now in my PakPicker entry this week.

1. Miyazato Ai
2. Shin Ji-Yai
3. Kim Song-Hee
4. Tseng Ya Ni
5. Choi Na Yeon
6. Hjorth, Maria
7. Ochoa, Lorena
8. Lang, Brittany
9. Moromizato Shinobu
10. Lee Jee Young
11. Jeon Mi-Jeong
12. Yokomine Sakura

Alts: Ueda Momoko; Fudoh Yuri; Koga Miho

The tournament organizers did a nice job with the pairings. Meena Lee and Teresa Lu, who will be playing in the 3rd stage of JLPGA Q-School later this month, are paired with up-and-coming JLPGA stars. Na Yeon Choi, Candie Kung, Eun-Hee Ji, Seon Hwa Lee, Inbee Park, and Amy Yang, who get byes into the final stage, are mainly playing with fellow LPGAers, except for Choi, who's in the next-to-last pairing on the front with Karrie Webb and Yokomine, and Yang, who goes off early with Yuri Fudoh and Rikako Morita.

This should be good!

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