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Saturday, November 16, 2013

The LPGA Heats Up in Guadalajara

The word is that the Lorena Ochoa Invitational might be televised next year. It's too bad they couldn't get that worked out for this year!

Earlier this week I wrote about the race for Player of the Year on the LPGA. I dealt primarily with Inbee Park and Suzann Pettersen, since Inbee leads but hasn't played as well lately while Suzann has been on a run. As it turns out, other players may have a bigger say-so in the finish than I originally thought. (You can check out the LPGA leaderboard here.)

After 2 rounds there's a 3-way tie for the lead at -9. Anna Nordqvist, So Yeon Ryu, and Pornanong Phatlum (who hasn't won yet) are playing very consistent golf -- that is, they're shooting roughly the same scores each day -- which puts them on pace to shoot around-18. This is significant, based on the winning scores of the past winners:
2012    Cristie Kerr    67 - 69 - 67 - 69 = 272 (-16)
2011    Catriona Matthew    69 - 68 - 68 - 71 = 276 (-12)
2010    I.K. Kim    69 - 68 - 68 - 64 = 269 (-19)
2009    Michelle Wie    70 - 66 - 70 - 69 = 275 (-13)
2008    Angela Stanford    68 - 66 - 72 - 69 = 275 (-13)
Note that only I.K. Kim has shot that low before. (And she needed a 64 in the final round to do it.) If one of the leaders can post -18, there's a good chance she'll win... and that would seriously affect the available POY points.

There's also a 3-way tie for 4th at -8. Inbee Park is in this group, and she has also shot very consistent scores. Gerina Pillar and Lexi Thompson, however, posted 65 and 64 respectively in the second round. Lexi's coming off a win and, if she or Gerina manages to go low again, it could make things very interesting. (The course is already very wet and both players are bombers.)

I.K. Kim and Lizette Salas are at -7. Since Inky has the lowest winning score on this course, she's close enough to be considered a threat.

Suzann is in a 4-way tie at -6. Stacy Lewis is also part of that 4-way tie. I don't think she can catch Inbee but she could certainly make it harder for Suzann to catch her.

Here's my point: Suzann started the week 38 points behind Inbee in the POY race. I figured she had a good chance of catching her, but now I'm not so sure. The course conditions favor the bombers (Gerina and Lexi) and I believe they favor So Yeon Ryu as well, given that she won her US Women's Open on a very wet course and is currently tied for the lead. Suzann's only 3 strokes off the lead but, unless Inbee stumbles, the conditions and number of contenders ahead of her may mean she's too far back.

Keep a check on that leaderboard, folks. The POY might be determined this week.

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