Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday Preview - CME Group Tour Championship

This is it, folks. The last event of the season for the LPGA Tour. It has been one of the greatest seasons ever for the Tour, and this week hopes to keep up the tradition of fantastic tournaments with stacked leaderboards. It has been an absolute joy to watch these ladies compete this year, and I'm sure this week will be no exception.

Course: Tiburon Golf Course at the Ritz Carlton Golf Resort, which can measure 7,300 yards from the back. Shanshan Feng won last year with a score of -15, so expect scores to be about the same this year.

Strength Of Field: A. The only thing knocking it is the fact that this is a LPGA Tour only event, so top ranked players from other Tours aren't competing. Also, Hyo Joo Kim, who was eligible to play, decided not to make the trip. The best players on the LPGA Tour are here, though, and all eyes will be on the top 9.

Extra Tidbits: For Inbee Park and Stacy Lewis, it is simple - play well and beat the other player, and you walk out as the Player Of The Year. Lewis has the lead over Park by a mere 3 points, so both will have to give it everything they have if they want their second Player Of The Year trophy. For Park, Lewis, and Lydia Ko, a win would mean a $1.5 million paycheck, as they would win both the $500,000 for the tournament and the $1 million for the Race For The CME Globe championship prize. The rest of the players in the top 9 can win both trophies, as well, but they would need Park and Lewis to struggle this week. The Vare Trophy is also in play - a lead that once looked insurmountable for Lewis is down to .095. Lewis or Park could walk out with every major trophy on the LPGA Tour this week. Ko already locked up the Rookie Of The Year award....entering this week, there are four players with a sub-70 scoring average on the LPGA Tour this season - Inbee Park, Stacy Lewis, Michelle Wie, and So Yeon Ryu. Lydia Ko is on the edge, and could break 70 if she has a low scoring week this week. There have never been five players to have a sub-70 scoring average at the end of a season...The LPGA will end this year with 31 tournaments in 14 countries, making it the most global of the major US Tours and one of the most successful seasons in LPGA history.

Fantasy Four:

Inbee Park - Win, and take home all the marbles. It's incredibly simple for Inbee Park, who rebounded from a slow start to the season to put her in a position to win back to back POY Awards. Many wondered what Park would do as an encore to her historic year last year, and we are seeing it now. Had a top 10 in every Asian event she played, including winning in Taiwan, and has not finished outside the top 10 since before the Women's British Open. Hottest player in the world.

Shanshan Feng - Almost caught Christina Kim last week for her second victory of the season. If Park and Lewis weren't on the LPGA Tour right now, Feng would be tearing up this Tour. Defending champion. 12 top 10's this year, and it was actually considered a relatively disappointing season for the 25 year old. 

So Yeon Ryu - 14 top 10's this season with only one victory. Always pencil her in for a top 10. If only she would start converting on opportunities, she would have a season that rivals Park's. Two straight top 10's entering this week. 

Lydia Ko - Ninth place finish last week was her third top 10 in a row and 14th overall this season. Finished outside the top 10 just once in six starts. One of the three players that holds their own destiny in regards to winning both the tournament and the CME Globe prize. 

(SLEEPER) Chella Choi - 10 top 10's this season, but has never won on the LPGA Tour. Finished T4 in her most recent start, which was in Japan. Hee Young Park won this tournament in 2011 for her first LPGA Tour victory, so Chella will be looking to follow in her footsteps. Another player you can always pencil in to have a top 10.

My projections based on very complicated science (i.e. just sitting around and watching golf), I have it is my belief that Inbee Park will better Stacy Lewis and walk out with the Race For The CME Globe title, as well as Player Of The Year and Vare Trophies. 

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