Ryu sits at -8 (T5) with only Mi Jung Hur, Carlota Ciganda, and Laura Diaz between her and Kim. Both Kim and Ryu have won this year -- Kim's win came at the ISPS HANDA Ladies European Masters on the LET in early July -- and both have done so in dominating fashion. It won't be a surprise if either wins.
Neither is a sure bet yet. Defending champ Suzann Pettersen is T10 at -6, as is Anna Nordqvist (and Juli Inkster, who has a very good record at the Portland Classic), and Shanshan Feng is only one shot farther back. However, since most of the other players around them are unproven down the stretch, you have to feel that one of the favorites will have to stumble if anyone else is to have a chance.
Right now, it looks like a fairly small group of likely winners. The course is playing hard and fast, and players are having a tough time putting two low rounds together.
One other thing to consider is the Rolex Player of the Year competition. While Lydia Ko has pretty much locked up Rookie of the Year, the POY race is a long way from settled. According to Neal Reid at LPGA.com, there are 6 players very much in the running (their point totals follow their names):
- Stacy Lewis, 200
- Inbee Park, 169
- Michelle Wie, 151
- Lydia Ko, 128
- Lexi Thompson, 104
- Anna Nordqvist, 100
And in case you wonder, Pettersen and Feng could only move up to around 95-100 points with a win. But with the Evian being worth 60 points...!
I like both Kim and Ryu's chances of winning this week. But will Ryu's desire to get in the POY race overcome Kim's birdie barrage? We'll just have to see. GC's broadcast starts at 7pm ET tonight.