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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

My 5 for the Women's Major

The women's major this week is the US Women's Open, generally considered as the most important major by all the ladies, no matter which country they're from. It's going to be held at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, New York. And, in an unusual twist, the ladies' course will be longer than the seniors' course, at a little over 6800 yards, though it plays as a par 72 rather than a par 70.

Sebonack Golf Club

I heard Stacy Lewis say that this course has a bit more forgiveness to the fairways, so the driving will be less critical than the second shots to the greens. If this photo from the LPGA's site is any indication, she may be right. And if that's so, this major could be wide open... but I have trouble believing the USGA will have wide fairways at a flagship event like this.

In either case, it doesn't affect most of my picks.
  • Inbee Park: With 5 wins already this season -- including the first two majors of the year -- it would be hard not to pick the World #1 anyway. But as far as I'm concerned, it's not the number of wins that makes her a favorite. Rather, it's the way she won them. No heroics, flashy plays, or daring shots here, folks; Inbee has simply hit the fairways, hit the greens, and putted the ball in the hole. Boring golf wins majors.
  • So Yeon Ryu: I've been on the KangaRyu's bandwagon for a while now, and she's done nothing to scare me off. With one US Open already under her belt, a loss in last week's playoff, and a solid gap between her #5 position and #6 in the Rolex Rankings, I have to think she's ready for this week.
  • Stacy Lewis: While the World #2 (who's losing ground to Inbee Park with each passing week) appears to be struggling with her game, nothing could be farther from the truth. With 2 wins and three Top5s this season, she's just run into a buzzsaw... or rather, a buzzing Inbee. The US Open has been a tough major for Stacy in the past, but she certainly has the game to take it on.
And now it gets tough. I've chosen two players who have been somewhat inconsistent this season:
  • Karrie Webb: Karrie has shown moments of brilliance this year, plus she won less than a month ago. It's been a while but she does have two US Opens on her record, so she knows how to get it done.
  • Paula Creamer: I never thought I would call the Pink Panther a flyer, but here she is. I actually debated between her, Cristie Kerr, and Lydia Ko for my fifth pick, but decided to go with Paula because she made a putting change last week to left-hand-low for the short putts. If that change pays off -- and I know that's a big if during a major week -- she definitely has the experience edge on Ko. I won't be surprised if both Kerr and Ko get themselves in position to win, but somebody has to get the Panther's back.
Unlike the senior major, the US Women's Open gets multi-channel coverage. ESPN2 will cover the first two rounds (3-7pm ET) while NBC takes the last two (3-6pm ET). With Inbee's chance to get the third leg of the Slam, I expect this year's event to generate a lot of interest.

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