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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Shredded Brackets

There were some upsets at the Volvo World Match Play over in Spain. You always expect some good players to go out because that's the nature of match play. But the Volvo uses pool play -- 3 players in each bracket play each other for 2 spots. The shocker is when good players get skunked.

Martin Kaymer and Darren Clarke are two players I didn't expect to lose both matches. It's one thing for them to go out, but to lose both matches? Unbelievable.

For us in the US, our sole entrant -- Brandt Snedeker -- made it through. His bracket had a 3-way tie and Brandt won the top seed in it. Way to go, Sneds!

But the Sybase didn't just have upsets. Around 7 bulls went crashing through that china shop! Let me list some of the casualties, their finish last year, and the round in which they fell this year:
  • Suzann Pettersen, defending champion -- 1st
  • Cristie Kerr, runner-up -- 2nd (her's is the only match so far to go extra holes)
  • Ai Miyazato, T5 -- 1st
  • Paula Creamer, T5 -- 1st
  • Michelle Wie, T9 -- 1st
  • Jiyai Shin, T33 -- 2nd
  • Brittany Lincicome, T33 -- 1st
  • Caroline Hedwall, DNP -- 2nd
  • Karrie Webb, T17 -- 2nd
You might think it sounds like this is going to be a no-name tournament, but you'd be wrong. Several players who went a long way last year are still in it:
  • Na Yeon Choi was 3rd
  • Angela Stanford was 4th
  • Yani Tseng was T5
  • Stacy Lewis was T9
Are there some surprises? Yes, but perhaps only because we haven't seen them in match play before.

Yesterday I briefly mentioned Jodi Ewart, who took out Suzann Pettersen. Friday she added Sophie Gustafson... and she won both matches 3&1. Those are convincing wins without being flukish, if you know what I mean. She could be a real contender here.

Likewise So Yeon Ryu took out Karin Sjodin 2&1 and Mina Harigae 3&2. That's a long hitter (on a wet course) and a 2-time Jr. Solheim Cup player. We don't get to see the Korean players in match play very often, but bear in mind that she won the US Women's Open last year during a rain-plagued erratic schedule that eliminated many of the competitors. She looks very relaxed out there; she might be very dangerous simply because no one has seen her in this situation.

In the morning matches I like (in order of their matches on LPGA.com):
  • Choi over Pressel (how can I bet against world #2?)
  • Nordqvist over Yang (Nordqvist had a slightly tougher route)
  • Ryu over Hull (she just looks so comfortable in the matches I've seen, plus she's the runaway Rookie of the Year so far)
  • Stanford over Hurst (picking experience here)
  • Tseng over Kung (I think Yani's struggling, so this should be close)
  • Icher over Granada (this one's just a feeling -- Granada's first two rounds feel a bit lopsided, but this match could be close)
  • Ewart over Munoz (this should be the best match of the morning!)
  • Lewis over Yoo (Yoo's playing well though, so this should be close)
We'll see how well I do. After the housecleaning we've had so far, I'm not sure of anything.

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