My Picks for the CME Group Tour Championship

My Picks for the Lorena Ochoa Invitational

There are only 2 tournaments left on the LPGA schedule and both have even more limited fields than the just-completed Asian Swing.  The Lorena Ochoa Invitational is the most exclusive of all and it has big implications for the $1M Race for the CME Globe, which ends with a bang in the year’s final event next week.  So who will be the best of the best this week?  Here are my picks!

1. Park Inbee
2. Ryu
3. Wie
4. Feng
5. Lewis
6. Ko
7. Pettersen
8. Creamer
9. Kerr
10. Munoz
11. Nordqvist
12. Stanford

Alts:  Thompson, Phatlum, Pressel

Tony Jesselli has completely outclassed me down the home stretch and is now in 2nd place in the season-long PakPicker competition.  Good luck to Tony, GDSmyth, Elf, and Ghinhee in the last 2 events of the year!

My Picks for the Mizuno Classic

I want to thank Tony Jesselli for cross-posting his Mizuno Classic preview from his own blog here at his old stomping grounds yesterday.  The field may be weak by LPGA standards, as he points out, but it’s a great opportunity for some of the top JLPGA players to make a case that they deserve to be considered among the best in the world this season.  Here are my picks for the next-to-next-to-last PakPicker competition of 2014!

1. Lewis, Stacy
2. Choi Na Yeon
3. Shin Ji-Yai
4. Ahn
5. Ueda
6. Lu
7. Choi Chella
8. Lee Bo-Mee
9. Lee Mirim
10. Oyama
11. Webb
12. Narita

Alts: Uehara; Nomura; Yokomine

Here’s Centurion’s preview, too!  So who do you see making Stacy work this week?

My Picks for the Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship

Between going to Clinton for my dad’s retirement conference/roast this past weekend and trying to catch up at work, I haven’t been able to write about Lee-Anne Pace’s and Shiho Oyama’s victories.  But the Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship is already upon us, so it’s time for me to make my picks!

1. Park Inbee
2. Ryu
3. Choi Na Yeon
4. Feng
5. Pettersen
6. Lewis, Stacy
7. Ko
8. Choi Chella
9. Wie
10. Masson
11. Phatlum
12. Lincicome

Alts: Nordqvist, Lang, Park Hee Young

My Picks for the Blue Bay LPGA

The Blue Bay LPGA starts in about 12 hours.  For the players in the field, it’s a great opportunity to take advantage of the absence of the LPGAers in the running for best 2014 in the world of women’s professional golf, Stacy Lewis and Inbee Park (who, BTW, are tied atop the Rolex Rankings), not to mention Suzann Pettersen (who’s gotten a huge percentage of her career victory total on tour in Asia), So Yeon Ryu, Na Yeon Choi, and others Tony Jesselli mentions in his tournament preview.  For me, it’s one of my last chances to get back in contention in the race to win the season-long PakPicker!  So here goes:

1. Feng, Shanshan
2. Choi
3. Ko
4. Lincicome
5. Lee Mirim
6. Nordqvist
7. Munoz
8. Yang, Amy
9. Kerr
10. Wie
11. Thompson
12. Shin

Alts:  Park Hee Young; Hur; Ciganda

This is one of those weeks where a mercurial player like Caroline Hedwall or Laura Davies could get hot or a slumping player like Ya Ni Tseng or In-Kyung Kim could find her game, however.  With so many relatively untested Chinese pros and amateurs in the field, almost any regular LPGA member could step up and win this thing!  And who knows what role “home court advantage” will play for the top Chinese golfers?

[Update 1 (6:14 am):  Inbee Park’s facing off against Hyo Joo Kim, Kyu Jung Baek, and the rest of the top KLPGA players in the last major of 2014 on that tour this week.  A good finish there could land her alone at #1 in the Rolex Rankings!]

My Picks for the LPGA KEB-HanaBank Championship

I’ve really got to get it into gear with my PakPicking this fall, as I’m slipping down the rankings, but with work really heating up, I haven’t had have time to research the tournaments on the fall Asian Swing to my satisfaction.  I guess it’s a good thing that players have had such volatile results at the LPGA KEB-HanaBank Championship, then.  Better to just go with my gut!

1. Kim Hyo Joo
2. Choi Na Yeon
3. Shin Ji-Yai
4. Ryu So Yeon
5. Feng
6. Ko
7. Park Inbee
8. Phatlum
9. Pettersen
10. Lee Mirim
11. Lee Minjee
12. Yang, Amy

Alts: Choi Chella; Nordqvist; Kim Ha-Neul

Here are some KLPGA stats, btw!  For more, see my rundown of worldwide 2014 winners in women’s major-tour professional golf–click on the winners’ names for links to how they won and who almost beat ’em!

[Update 1 (7:40 am):  Word on Seoul Sisters is that Ha Na Jang intends to go to LPGA Q-School if she doesn’t win this week.  I probably should have put her in my top 12, but that’s life!]

My Picks for the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia

Getting my picks for the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia event in under the wire!

1. Lewis, Stacy
2. Ryu
3. Pettersen
4. Nordqvist
5. Choi Na Yeon
6. Ko
7. Thompson
8. Hur
9. Lee Mirim
10. Munoz
11. Feng
12. Creamer

Alts:  Choi Chella; Webb; Yang

My Picks for the Reignwood LPGA Classic

Shanshan Feng returns to the site of her dramatic victory over Stacy Lewis at the inaugural Reignwood LPGA Classic last year, but there are 80 other golfers between her and a title defense this week.  Here’s who I think will play great and go low this week!

1. Park Inbee
2. Lewis, Stacy
3. Choi Na Yeon
4. Pettersen
5. Ryu
6. Feng
7. Hur
8. Phatlum
9. Choi Chella
10. Kim In-Kyung
11. Tseng
12. Recari

Alts:  Yang, Amy; Shin, Jenny; Park Hee Young

Who do you think will get break -20 this week?  I think that’s what it’s going to take to be in contention!

My Picks for the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic

Even with the Seoul Sisters site down the last few days, I’m assuming the PakPicker competition goes on.  So here are my picks for the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic, the last full-field event of 2014 on tour.

1. Lewis, Stacy
2. Lincicome
3. Thompson
4. Kerr
5. Stanford
6. Hur
7. Choi Chella
8. Shin
9. Meadow
10. Granada
11. Joh
12. Harigae

Alts:  Park, Jane; Ernst; Recari

My Picks for the Evian Championship (and Players to Watch at the Konica Minolta Cup)

My Picks for the Portland Classic

With the lovely ladies coming back from Japan tomorrow night, which involves a little jaunt over to Cleveland after I finish teaching my 2nd and 3rd 1st classes of the semester at Fredonia, I’m not sure when I’ll get a chance to put together my picks for the Portland Classic if I don’t do them tonight!  So, without further ado, here are this week’s PakPicker entries:

1. Ryu
2. Pettersen
3. Choi Na Yeon
4. Nordqvist
5. Feng Shanshan
6. Kang, Danielle
7. Recari
8. Choi Chella
9. Stanford
10. Kim In-Kyung
11. Miyazato Ai
12. Masson

Alts: Nomura; Ciganda; Tseng

Somehow I won last week’s PakPicker despite picking Lydia Ko for the hat trick north of the border!  Let’s see if pickin’ on the spur of the moment works another week for me!

My Picks for the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open

Between the imminent start of the semester and the return to Western NY of my lovely ladies after nearly 2 months in Japan–not to mention needing to finish N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance trilogy and Guy Gavriel Kay’s 2 amazing historical fantasy novels set in China (Under Heaven and River of Stars), as well as finish binge-watching Parks and Recreation before my students, colleagues, and family take up most of my time and attention–my post-Wegmans week has been packed already, so I’m rushing out my picks for the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open tonight:

1. Ko
2. Park Inbee
3. Pettersen
4. Lewis, Stacy
5. Feng Shanshan
6. Kerr
7. Ryu
8. Thompson
9. Munoz
10. Nordqvist
11. Lincicome
12. Lee Mirim

Alts: Choi Chella; Stanford; Yang

So go with Tony Jesselli‘s this week rather than mine!  Would love to sneak up to London, Ontario, on Sunday, but going to have to get a lot done the next 3 days for that to happen….

My Picks for the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open

Between the imminent start of the semester and the return to Western NY of my lovely ladies after nearly 2 months in Japan–not to mention needing to finish N.K. Jemisin’s Inheritance trilogy and Guy Gavriel Kay’s 2 amazing historical fantasy novels set in China (Under Heaven and River of Stars), as well as finish binge-watching Parks and Recreation before my students, colleagues, and family take up most of my time and attention–my post-Wegmans week has been packed already, so I’m rushing out my picks for the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open tonight:

1. Ko
2. Park Inbee
3. Pettersen
4. Lewis, Stacy
5. Feng Shanshan
6. Kerr
7. Ryu
8. Thompson
9. Munoz
10. Nordqvist
11. Lincicome
12. Lee Mirim

Alts: Choi Chella; Stanford; Yang

So go with Tony Jesselli‘s this week rather than mine!  Would love to sneak up to London, Ontario, on Sunday, but going to have to get a lot done the next 3 days for that to happen….

My Picks for the Wegmans LPGA Championship

Based on my take on Monroe Golf Club’s front and back 9, and my sense of who’s playing well coming into the 4th major of the LPGA season, here are my best guesses as to who will be in contention at the Wegmans LPGA Championship in its final year in the Rochester area.  I’m coming off a victory in last week’s PakPicker over at Seoul Sisters.com and am in 4th overall, so let’s see if my homework helps me make it 2 in a row!

1. Park Inbee
2. Lewis, Stacy
3. Ryu
4. Ko
5. Pettersen
6. Feng, Shanshan
7. Creamer
8. Kerr
9. Yang
10. Nordqvist
11. Munoz
12. Choi Chella

Alts:  Choi Na Yeon; Thompson; Stanford

I just got back from playing the front 9 at Diamond Hawk from tees that’ll approximate the length of Tuscarora on Friday.  In heavy winds, I parred the last 7 holes in a row to salvage a 39 after an ugly start.  Something finally clicked for me 3 weeks ago in the final round of the Utica City Amateur and since then my rounds have ended up between 6.2 and 10.4 for my handicap index, so at least I can say I’m getting consistent.  If I can eliminate the big numbers and get off to a normal start (instead of my usual terrible start this season!), I should be able to put together a round in the mid-70s in a couple of days.  Here’s hoping something rubs off on me tomorrow from following So Yeon Ryu’s group in the morning and Ai Miyazato’s in the afternoon!

[Update 1 (5:19 pm):  Forgot to link to Tony Jesselli’s preview!]

My Picks for the Meijer LPGA Classic

With the LPGA and JLPGA taking a week off and no wi fi here in Austin, I’ve pretty much stayed off the internet the past week, except to help my buddy learn the lay of the land.  Lots to report–my handicap index stayed low enough for me to play in the qualifier for the Mid-Amateur Championship next Friday, I got to play twice with my friend’s brother-in-law (who’s an awesome golfer) and even played well in stretches, and my friend and I did much more than move and unpack boxes of he and his wife’s stuff–but I only have time now to predict who’s going to play well at the inaugural Meijer LPGA Classic.  From what little I could find out about Blythefield Country Club, it’s more of a traditional, tree-lined course that is designed to reward accuracy above all.  So of everyone in the field this week, here are my picks:

1. Park Inbee
2. Nordqvist
3. Ko
4. Lewis, Stacy
5. Kerr
6. Feng Shanshan
7. Munoz
8. Creamer
9. Pettersen
10. Martin
11. Wie
12. Yang

Alts: Lee Meena; Phatlum; Miyazato Ai

Well, those are my best guesses.  How about yours?

International Crown Thursday: Taiwan Shocks Team USA; Spain, Japan Impress

You can read all about day 1 of the International Crown over at LPGA.com, so I’ll focus here on my own observations, having just caught up on Golf Channel’s coverage on ye olde DVR (I’m busily trying to get my handicap back low enough to be allowed to try qualifying for the New York State Golf Association’s Mid-Amateur Championship, so had to watch the 2nd half on tape after hitting 11 greens at The Links at Ivy Ridge but still only shooting a 79).

Any Given Thursday.  I never would have pegged Team Taiwan to be the top point-getter on day 1, shutting out Team USA!  But Teresa Lu and Candie Kung played fantastic team golf in crushing Cristie Kerr and Paula Creamer, and 1st Ya Ni Tseng, then Phoebe Yao, then Tseng made birdies when it counted in eking out a win over Stacy Lewis and Lexi Thompson.  Incredible!  And who would have thought Mika Miyazato would birdie 3 of her 1st 5 holes to get Team Japan off to a great start against Team Sweden’s aces, Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall?  In fact, Mikan and Mamiko Higa were 2-up with 6 holes to play and withstood a late charge by the Solheim Cup’s Vikings to get the halve when Nordqvist hit a 7-foot birdie attempt through the break on the tough 18th hole.

It’s All About the Teamwork.  Team Spain showed the way to play best-ball golf today.  Munoz and Ciganda cruised against a struggling Pornanong Phatlum and Onnarin Sattayabanphot, with each ASU teammate contributing key birdies.  And Belen Mozo came through in the clutch to help Beatriz Recari eke out a point when it looked like the Jutanugarn sisters might beat them.  Gotta also love the chemistry between Karrie Webb and Minjee Lee and Inbee Park and So Yeon Ryu.  On the downside, both Team USA’s pairs came out flat, so I think switching them up for Friday is a good idea.  And Na Yeon Choi and In-Kyung Kim will need to find some better vibes as the week goes on.

Let’s Hear it for the Kids!  Minjee Lee, Phoebe Yao, Moriya Jutanugarn.  Some of the youngest players in the tournament played the best yesterday.  And even Lexi Thompson, Ariya Jutanugarn, and Mamiko Higa played pretty decently.

Let’s Hear it for the Anchors!  So Yeon Ryu, Teresa Lu, Sakura Yokomine.  It’s not like they carried their teammates for the entire matches they were in (Inbee Park, Candie Kung, and Ai Miyazato made contributions here and there), but it’s obvious that they came through when their teams needed them the most.

Looking Ahead to Friday’s Matches.  USA-Spain is going to get the most attention from the Golf Channel crew, but for my money, I think Japan-Australia is going to be fascinating.  Ai-sama and Yokomine absolutely have to beat Katherine Kirk and Lindsey Wright, while Mikan and Higa will have to play great again to hang with Karrie Webb and Minjee Lee.  The Okinawa-centric Japanese team needs to rack up as many points as possible before they play Team Korea on Saturday.

The ROK crew’s underdogs are also in a must-win situation:  NYC and Inky need to build up some confidence against Pernilla Lindberg and Mikaela Parmlid, especially if Nordqvist and Hedwall bring their A-games against Park and Ryu (this is probably the single best match of the day on paper).

The next-best match of the day in my book is the Azahara Munoz-Carlota Ciganda vs. Stacy Lewis-Paula Creamer showdown.  Assuming Lexi Thompson and Cristie Kerr can take it to Beatriz Recari and Belen Mozo (a big if after Thursday’s play, I have to admit), Lewis and Creamer have a chance to turn the entire week around for Team USA if they can knock off Spain’s aces.

Likely to be lost in the shuffle in tomorrow’s coverage is Team Taiwan.  But they can put themselves in great position if they can kick Team Thailand while they’re down.  Lu and Kung lead off against the Jutanugarn sisters, while Tseng and Yao get a shot at Phatlum and Sattayabanphot.  On paper, the Lu and Kung have an advantage over their opponents, while Tseng and Yao ought to be underdogs against theirs, but if momentum means anything, I’d say Taiwan has the best chance of anyone to be the top point-getter after day 2.

Remember, the team with the most points at the end of all the matches wins, so points tomorrow matter just the same as points on the weekend.  A good Friday for Taiwan can almost certainly knock Thailand out of singles play on Sunday.  The pressure will be on Nordqvist and Hedwall to keep Team Sweden’s hopes of playing on Sunday alive.

If all goes as I expect, here’s how the standings in each pool will look heading into the weekend:

POOL A
Taiwan 8
USA 4
Spain 3
Thailand 1

POOL B
ROK 6
Japan 5
Australia 4
Sweden 1

[Update 1 (12:42 am):  Here’s a little link love for Tony Jesselli, Ruthless Mike, and Centurion.]

[Update 2 (7:24 am):  And here’s bangkokbobby and Ruthless Mike on day 1!]

[Update 3 (7:54 am):  Ron Sirak.  In the house!  Twice.]

My Picks for the Marathon Classic

The LPGA returns to the Toledo, Ohio, area for the Marathon Classic, where Beatriz Recari defeated Paula Creamer in a pitched battle last year, and where Se Ri Pak has won 5 times, most recently in 2007.  The field features many top golfers, but no Pak, Karrie Webb, Inbee Park, Suzann Pettersen, Shanshan Feng, Amy Yang, Ya Ni Tseng, Hee Young Park, or In-Kyung Kim.  After a truly horrific week of picking at Royal Birkdale, I’m stacking my entries in this week’s PakPicker at Seoul Sisters.com with golfers who have a great history in Sylvania!

1. Ryu
2. Lewis, Stacy
3. Wie
4. Thompson
5. Ko
6. Creamer
7. Munoz
8. Kerr
9. Stanford
10. Recari
11. Choi Chella
12. Choi Na Yeon

Alts: Shin; Lee Meena; Pressel

You can compare my picks to Tony Jesselli‘s.  Tony just passed me in the season-long PakPicker race….  Plus, he’s attending the tournament with his wife, so be sure to check out his blog!

My Picks for the Ricoh Women’s British Open

Well, it’s time to put together my Ricoh Women’s British Open picks for Seoul Sisters.com’s PakPicker competition!

1. Ko
2. Wie
3. Lewis, Stacy
4. Park Inbee
5. Yang
6. Kim In-Kyung
7. Ahn
8. Kerr
9. Webb
10. Choi Na Yeon
11. Shin Ji-Yai
12. Choi Chella

Alts: Matthew; Pettersen; Lee Minjee

Hard to believe I’m leaving Paula Creamer, So Yeon Ryu, Shanshan Feng, Lexi Thompson, Anna Nordqvist, Hee Young Park, Ariya Jutanugarn, Stephanie Meadow, and Misuzu Narita off this list, but there you are.

Feel free to compare to Tony Jesselli‘s, Ruthless Mike‘s, and Centurion‘s!  Or yours….

My Picks for the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

Like Lexi Thompson, I was unable to repeat my Kraft Nabisco Championship victory–hers for real, mine in Seoul Sisters.com’s PakPicker competition–at the U.S. Women’s Open.  In fact, I broke a top-10 streak with some bad predicting.  So this time around, instead of relying on a lot of statistical analyses, I’m going to go with past results (see parentheses for finishes from 2013, 2012, and all the way back to 2008 for each of my picks), plus lots of guessing and hoping!

1. Choi Na Yeon (T17, T23, T10, T9, T7, T8)
2. Ko (T4)
3. Lewis, Stacy (T4, T19, T8, T9, T21, T49)
4. Park Inbee (1, T4, T38, 4, MC, 10)
5. Ryu (2, T10)
6. Wie (MC, MC, MC, 2, T27)
7. Yang (T17, 7, 2, T65, MC)
8. Creamer (T7, T28, T8, T14, T63)
9. Pettersen (T7, T14, T10, T23)
10. Nordqvist (T43, T8, T48, T9)
11. Miyazato Ai (T11, 1, 3, T9, T10, T4)
12. Miyazato Mika (3, T2, T22, 3, T63)

Alts:  Shin (T17, T10, MC); Thompson (T43); Tseng (T57, MC, 1, 1, T14)

Yes, yes, I know precisely how terribly the Miyazatos have been playing in 2014, but what better place for them to start turning their seasons around?  So what if I’m passing over Shanshan Feng, Hee Young Park, Chella Choi, and Catriona Matthew?  They don’t have very stellar records at Pinnacle Country Club.  Cristie Kerr, Angela Stanford, and Meena Lee have had some very good finishes here between them, but they haven’t had many.  The players I most regret leaving off the list are actually Azahara Munoz and Ariya Jutanugarn.  But I’d love to see Ya Ni start a real comeback in Walmart country this week, so I’m picking her to make the top 15….

My Picks for the U.S. Women’s Open

All right, after all my preview posts for the U.S. Women’s Open going through who’s had the best LPGA career and results since 2005, the best results in majors since 2000 and the USWO since 2000, who among the sectional qualifiers might make some noise this week, who has the short game to handle Pinehurst, and who has had the best career on the LPGA without a major victory, it’s time to join Tony Jesselli, Centurion, and the rest of the PakPickers with some actual USWO predictions:

1. Park Inbee
2. Lewis
3. Ko
4. Wie
5. Thompson
6. Webb
7. Munoz
8. Pettersen
9. Salas
10. Nordqvist
11. Matthew
12. Feng Shanshan

Alts: Choi Chella; Kerr; Creamer

It’s hurting me not to pick So Yeon Ryu, Morgan Pressel, Hee Young Park, or Jessica Korda, but this is the top 15 I’m going with.

If you’re looking for real dark horses, try Jenny Shin, Julieta Granada, Karine Icher, Ha Na Jang, Sei Young Kim, or Misuzu Narita.  I think Minjee Lee will be low amateur, but if she makes the top 20 it’ll be a huge accomplishment.

Feel free to let me know what you think of my picks!