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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Is Yani Ready?

The siege of the Tseng Dynasty resumes this week. Is the Empress ready for battle?

That's the big question as the new LPGA season begins. As Tony Jesselli noted in his preview of the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open, several players -- including world #2 Na Yeon Choi -- won't be there. But #3 Stacy Lewis is, and she's only about 1.7 points behind her. That could be easily made up in one tournament, and I think Stacy is the player most people expect to catch Yani.

If Yani is to be caught, that is.

But Stacy isn't the only player with the chops to catch her this year. #6 So Yeon Ryu, whose praises I've been singing for the last year or so, is in the field this week and she's just a bit over 3 points behind Yani. While it would be nice to see an American take the top spot for a change, I think Ryu has as good a chance as Lewis to catch Yani.

If Yani is to be caught, that is.

And Lydia Ko is in the field this week also. I know the 15-year-old is well over 6.5 points behind Yani, but she's won 3 pro events in the last year. (And the US Women's Amateur, no small feat in itself.) Plus she's beat Lewis and Jiyai Shin while playing with them in the final round at last year's Women's Canadian Open. I think we have to consider the possibility that the Kobra could put the bite on the Empress -- maybe even this year.

So the LPGA's first tournament of the year -- the first round is on GC tomorrow from 12:30pm till 2:30pm ET -- definitely has its share of intrigue. Stacy Lewis, So Yeon Ryu, and Lydia Ko are all in the field, and I think all of them have a decent chance of catching Yani this year...

If Yani is to be caught, that is.

Lucky for us, the chase begins tomorrow.

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