Bienvenue! My name is Jamie and I like golf. I grew up playing tennis in eastern Massachusetts, but fell in love with the game after watching Se Ri Pak defeat Jenny Chausiriporn at the 1998 U.S. Womens Open. I studied Hospitality & Tourism Management (with a focus on Event, Tourism, and Convention Management) at the Isenberg School of Management, University of Massachusetts Amherst. Tennis is my first love, but golf is a very close second. I believe style should equal substance, and the latter is nothing without the former.
After what feels like forever, the LPGA is finally back in action at the Safeway Classic in Portland, Oregon this week. The Safeway is the tour’s first 54-hole event since the Mastercard Classic in March, which was won by Pat Hurst. In 2008 Cristie Kerr was cool in the clutch, sinking a 15-hole birdie putt on the first playoff hole to defeat Helen Alfredsson and Sophie Gustafson.
The return to tour could not have come any sooner for the lower ranked fully-exempt (or high priority) players no the tour this year. For any of those unable to qualify for the European Swing, and not able to get an entry into this year’s U.S. Women’s Open, the Safe Classic will be their first event in eight weeks. Almost has the feel like the beginning of the year for some of then I’d imagine!
With the LPGA taking center stage last week with a brilliant event at the Solheim Cup, this is a great opportunity to ride that momentum here in Portland. This will be the last regular LPGA tour event that ESPN will cover for at least 10 years, due to the exclusive deal the LPGA tour struck with the Golf Channel earlier this year. Hopefully some of the drama from last week in Rich Harvest Farms will follow.
With only Angela Park the only LPGA regular ranked in the top 50 in the Rolex World Rankings not in the field at the Safeway has got to be one of the strongest events of the year. So, who has the best chance to come through this week?
Of the Americans, current money list leader and defending champion Cristie Kerr is coming off a solid 2-1-1 performance at the Solheim Cup. Kerr, the most consistent player on tour this season is playing as good as golf as anyone.
I’ll get to the big question, is this week, or at least this fall, going to be when Michelle Wie finally breaks through? I don’t take lightly the indelible experience Wie gained last week at the Solheim Cup. She seemed to have the same lightness, the same fun, and the same power that she had when she was a 14 year old dominating nearly all of the events she entered. The 3-0-1 record is the best of the USA team, and the only player with three wins to go undefeated. Paula Creamer and Christina Kim the other players to get gain three wins, also had one defeat.
Perennial LET star Gwladys Nocera was the only player on the European team able to secure three wins (she matched Michelle Wie with the best record of the cup) is returning to Europe this week. We’ll see if Suzann Petterson, who fighting a bad back, was only able to go 1-4 last week can bounce back in a big way.
With the top three players in the world returning to action (Lorena Ochoa, Yani Tseng, and Jiyai Shin) it’s anyone’s guess as to who will finish on top this weekend. Remember, before we broke Ai Miyazato was on quite a hot streak winning in Evian and finishing top 3 at the WBO. With all of that said, who are my picks for the top 12?
Like I’ve said many times In-Kyung Kim is my pick to finish as Player of the Year, so it’s no wonder I’m picking her to win again. I expect Michelle Wie & Brittany Lang to some solid play at the Solheim and have strong finishes this week. Very impressed by Lang’s finish against Laura Davies on Sunday.
Finally, big props to Taylor Karle and Ayaka Kaneko for taking advantage of open Monday qualifying and gaining a spot in this year’s event.