Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wednesday Preview - Mizuno Classic

The final event of the Asian swing on the LPGA Tour takes place this week as the players head to Japan for the Mizuno Classic.

CourseKintestsu Kashikojima Country Club, and I absolutely had to use copy and paste for that. Can measure around 6,500 yards. Another birdie or bust course, so expect scores to be very good.

Strength Of Field: D-. This is essentially a really good JLPGA event. Almost all your big name Korean stars are taking the week off, Stacy Lewis is the only American, and several European stand outs are missing. The JLPGA tie-in does provide some interesting names, however.

Extra Tidbits: This is one of the few remaining 54 hole events left on the LPGA schedule, and the last on the Asian swing...This event is the oldest of those on the Asian swing, having been played every year since 1973. Prior to being played at Kashikojima, the event was held at the Seta Golf Course, where Annika Sorenstam would dominate fields five years in a row and break scoring records in the process...This is the truest of the co-sanctioned events, as 35 players from the JLPGA will tee it up this week. A JLPGA player has won this event three times since moving to Kashikojima, including last year...Unfortunately, this event seems immune to the rise in popularity of the LPGA Tour. The purse was reduced by $200,000 in 2010, and hasn't risen since.

Fantasy Four:

Stacy Lewis - With Inbee Park taking the week off, Lewis has the opportunity to slam the door on the Player Of The Year race. Only player in the top 5 on the Rolex Rankings playing this week. Former winner. Everything points to Lewis having a big week.

Teresa Lu - Last year, her victory was a huge surprise, as she had no success on either the LPGA or JLPGA Tours. She has won twice on the JLPGA Tour this season, including a major, so she is entering with added confidence. Currently 38th in the Rolex Rankings.

Na Yeon Choi - Quietly notched six top 10's this season. Hasn't has the best Asian swing, but enters the Mizuno Classic as one of the top ranked players in the field. Should be able to contend here.

Sun-Ju Ahn - Has won five times on the JLPGA Tour, including two weeks in a row back in October. Finished tied for ninth in the Women's British Open. Big hitter should be able to take advantage of a course that won't be too penalizing for wayward shots. Won a major on the JLPGA Tour two years ago by beating Inbee Park in a playoff.

(SLEEPER) Momoko Ueda - Returned to the JLPGA after a less than stellar outing on the LPGA Tour. Win last week should mean a return to confidence for the two time winner of this event. She, along with Jiyai Shin, should be able to show their former LPGA comrades what they learned from their time away. 

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