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Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Sybase Madness Continues

A midday update on the Sybase morning matches...

As usual, I cursed a player by picking them to win. Morgan Pressel, who's gone at least 19 holes each of the first two days, had a short day today. She lost 4&3 to Amy Yang -- an upset in terms of rankings, though I'm not so sure it's an upset in terms of play; Yang has played pretty well so far, and had played reasonably well going into this tournament. She's now my favorite to win the Sorenstam bracket.

In my mind, the biggest upset today was Angela Stanford beating Amanda Blumenherst in 20 holes. Understand, I'm not surprised at Angela's play -- she won her first two matches pretty handily, and Blumenherst was (with Yang) arguably the hottest player Friday. I'm shocked because Angela has made no secret that she doesn't really like match play! That wouldn't usually cause me to believe a player should be favored, and it figured heavily into not picking her; I think she has to be the favorite in the Wright bracket now.

A couple of years ago, Angela Stanford got her game into such shape that she was contending pretty much every week... then her mother had a bout with cancer. You can guess what happened. Apparently she's finally back on an even keel, and if this week's play is an indication that she's nearly back, she could make a big move up in the world rankings over the next few months.

At this point, I still think Shin will take out Wie, so my updated "Final Four" looks like this:
  • Wright Bracket: Angela Stanford
  • Sorenstam Bracket: Amy Yang
  • Whitworth Bracket: Jiyai Shin
  • Berg Bracket: Yani Tseng
As you can tell, I still think my original picks were the players to beat, so... if you beat them, you make the semis. And since my final would now pit Yang against Tseng, I still think the winner will come from that twosome. (I nearly put that in my last post, but I thought it sounded like I was wimping out on my choices. Since my choices have proven to be so bad, I figure wimpiness is the least of my problems now. ;-)

Still, I think the LPGA's decision to let the top players draw for opponents rather than just making a straight seeded tournament has been both a success and a failure:
  • a success, because we've had some really incredible matches early on BUT
  • a failure, because it totally destroyed the play-your-way-into-contention beauty of match play.
By that, I mean that #61 Haeji Kang played #11 In-Kyung Kim in the first round, rather than #4 Yani Tseng. No offense to Kim, but she was an easier opponent than Tseng would have been; Kang might have lost in the first round. Or #15 Catriona Matthew played #64 Grace Park; that match might have turned out differently for both players. (Yes, I think Grace would have had a better chance against #1 Jiyai Shin -- she'd be 30 yards longer on a course that doesn't penalize wayward drivers, which should have improved her GIR... and they're both good putters.)

When you're picking brackets, match play is tricky enough without pitting Juli Inkster against Suzann Pettersen the first day out. And now two top players are gone before the weekend even started. The LPGA may want to reconsider this seeding arrangement for next year's tournament.

As things stand, if Angela Stanford crushes Catriona Matthew in the semis this afternoon, I'm picking her to win it all. Otherwise, I pick Yani Tseng.

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