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.
The tough test of Oakmont Country Club awaits the best and brightest of the LPGA this week as the ladies compete for the 65th U.S. Women’s Open Championship. Expect to see some tough scoring this week, as the course features the longest par-3 in U.S. Open history, the 8th could play 252-yards throughout the week.
Don’t expect the course this week to only be about the length. The USGA has the option to make a couple of the 4s reachable. It’s going to be a diabolical week, and with the few birdie opportunities that will be abound, I think the winner will be the player who takes the few chances that are given to them this week. Or to put it simply, who can sink those putts when it matters.
Don’t expect anything close to the Cristie Kerr blowout that we saw a few weeks ago at the LPGA Championship.
I would be shocked to not see Cristie Kerr in the thick of things come Sunday. It’s almost as traditional as apple pie to see Kerr somewhere near the top at the most coveted championship on the LPGA. In the past 9 years Cristie has had 6 top-15 finishes, including her victory in 2007. The question really isn’t whether she’ll be a factor (that’s a given), but whether or not she’ll succumb to the pressure on championship Sunday.
2010 has been a coming out party for Japanese sensation Ai Miyazato, and I don’t expect the Japanese star to look to end the festivities anytime soon. The list of career milestones Ai has achieved thus far in her 4-win season is superlative. In 2010 she’s had her first multi-win season, captured her first win on American soil, and ascended to #1 in the world. The one thing she’s missing both in 2010 and in her career is an LPGA major. A win this week would be a huge exclamation point as she attempts to end the year #1 in the world and on the LPGA.
Let’s not forget Jiyai Shin either, Shin was the first player to jump to #1 in the world when Lorena Ochoa retired, but Shin has been seemingly lapped in 2010. After posting 3 victories in both 2008 (as a non LPGA member) and 2009 (as a rookie), Miss Shin hasn’t been able to get into the winner’s circle in 2010. That isn’t to say Jiyai has been having a bad 2010 by any means. In her 8 starts this season she has finished top-10 6 times, and hasn’t finished outside the top 30 yet. It was a big question mark as to how Shin would play after her emergency appendectomy, and I think her back to back top 5 finishes answers that loud and clear.
Song-Hee Kim had the Jamie Farr Owens Classic in her hands on Sunday, and was unable to sink a putt on the 73rd hole to capture her first title. It’ll be interesting to see how she bounces back from that. In 11 events in 2010 Kim had finished in the top 10, ten times. That’s impressive stuff.
With her length and determination Suzann Pettersen may finally capture her first victory of 2010. Pettersen has 6 top 10s in 9 starts, and sits at #4 on the money list right behind Miyazato, Kerr, and Kim.
Na Yeon Choi will be looking to win back to back for the first time in her career. She finished T9 last year at Saucon Valley. In-Kyung Kim was in the hunt all day on Sunday last year at the open. She’s finished T3 the past two years at the U.S. Open and will be looking to get her first victory of 2010 also.
Last year, fans and media alike were reeling when two of the LPGA’s most popular ladies Michelle Wie & Natalie Gulbis failed to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open Championship. This year there is no public outrage, but there are a few notable names who won’t be teeing it up at Oakmont.
Davies will be missing the U.S. Open for the first time in 24 years. Yes, I said 24 years! After receiving a special exemption in the U.S. Open last year and finishing a solid T17, she didn’t do enough on the LPGA to get herself automatically in. She also chose not to attend qualifying, and will be a familiar face missing from the field. At least we will be saved from having to hear on Davies is 2 points shy from making the LPGA Hall of Fame this week.
Watching (well reading) Song-Hee Kim struggle to close out her first victory this past week at the Jamie Farr conjured up memories of Lori Kane’s struggle to get into the winner circle. From 1996-1999 Kane had an astonishing 34 top 10s and 8 runner-up finishes. Finally she broke through in 2000, and the wins kept coming. Her 3-win season was one of the best she’s had on tour. Kane hasn’t seen a top 10 since 2007, and is trying to end a 2-year slide of finishing outside the top-130 on the money list. Kane was the old dog at the qualifying site at the Plantation Bay Country Club, where tweens Alexis Thompson and Yueer Feng qualified. She is an alternate into the field after losing out on a spot in a playoff. Kane hasn’t played a U.S. Open since 2007.
Mi Hyun Kim
Peanut had a shortened 2009 season after having her first child, and is trying to adjust and round back up into form. Kim’s last win came in 2007, which is also the last year she finished in the top 5 of the money list. She hasn’t done much in 2010 and may have the rest of July off as I don’t see her getting into the Evian or the British Open. Hopefully when the LPGA resumes domestically the 8 time winner will get back on track. Kim hasn’t played an open since 2008. In a stacked field at Hawke Pointe G.C., Kim failed to qualify by 4 shots. Jimin Kang & Soo Yun Kang were also in the field, and failed to qualify.
Grace’s 2004 Kraft Nabisco Win is a 7 year distant memory for the player who has struggled mightily over the years with back and other injuries. 2004, where she finished #2 on the moneylist was the peak for a player that looked poised to threaten for #1. Park is attempting to resume a full schedule in 2010, and after a promising finish at the Kraft this year, she’s been unable to find the top 10. Park hasn’t bettered her T6 at the open that she got 10 years ago (in her first year as an LPGA professional), and hasn’t been in the field since 2008. Grace attempted to qualify at Pinnacle Peak C.C. and missed out by three strokes.
Other notables missing are Permilla Lindberg, Paola Moreno, Haeji Kang, Angela Oh, Mariajo Uribe, Jane Park, Il Hee Lee, Young-A Yang, Karin Sjodin, Misun Cho, Whitney Wade, Leta Lindley, Allison Hanna, and Diana D’Alessio.
Before you could finish saying the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic presented by Kroger, the pairings for the 65th U.S. Women’s Open Championship have been released. You can check them out over here. Below are some of the most intriguing pairings in my mind:
Thursday Hole 1 7:33 a.m./Friday Hole 10 1:03 p.m.
All three of these ladies have famously finished runner-up at major championships (with Pressel being the only one who has been able to bounce back and win one). Morgan famously fell to the miraculous birdie bunker shot by Birdie Kim at the 2005 U.S. Women’s Open. Candie Kung felt the heartbreak last year when Eun-Hee Ji managed to to sink a birdie putt on the 72nd hole to avoid a playoff. Maria lost at the 2008 LPGA Championship to a precocious rookie named Yani Tseng in extra innings. This group could feed off each other and set a good pace early.
Thursday Hole 10 7:33 a.m./Friday Hole 1 1:03 p.m.
Wow. I don’t think there’s much to add to this pairing. Wie was formally a given contender for any major championship, let’s hope she can bring that form this week.
Thursday Hole 10 7:44 a.m./Friday Hole 1 1:14 p.m.
Expect a log jam in the galleries around these two groups. Stanford, Pettersen, and Creamer are all looking for their first win of 2010 with Stanford playing good, not great golf, Pettersen playing great, but not winning, and Creamer just coming back from injury. Paula did well two weeks in her debut tournament, but failed to make the cut last week at the Jamie Farr.
Thursday Hole 1 7:44 a.m./Friday Hole 10 1:14 p.m.
Hee Kyung Seo
Let us not forget about Seo’s non-member win earlier in 2010 at the Kia Classic presented by J Golf. She chose not to accept membership on the LPGA tour for 2010, but is in the field this week. Sakura Yokomine is the highest money winner on the 2010 JLPGA so far this year, and Linciome is a former major winner, and conveniently forgotten when talking about the future of American golf.
Thursday Hole 1 7:55 a.m./Friday Hole 10 1:25 p.m.
Na Yeon Choi
Kristy is one of the best Americans on tour without a win, Blumenhurst has had an impressive rookie campaign and is in a tight race with Azahara Munoz currently for Rolex Rookie of the Year. Choi obviously is coming in hot after her victory at the Farr Owens.
Thursday Hole 1 8:06 a.m./Friday Hole 10 1:36 p.m.
The low amateur from 2009, paired with the Women’s British Open Championship, and the defending U.S. Women’s Open Champion. Song had an impressive professional debut on the Duramed Futures Tour winning her first event as a professional. Ji is slowly snapping out of her U.S. Women’s funk, and Matthew has had a solid if unimpressive year so far.
Thursday Hole 1 1:03 p.m./Friday Hole 10 7:33 a.m.
Thompson, like Song recently turned professional. If any of these three were near the top of the LPGA five years from now, I would not be shocked.
Thursday Hole 1 1:14 p.m./Friday Hole 10 7:44 a.m.
Tseng & Kerr won the first two majors of 2010, and Tseng is the next breath in the conversation for World #1 (just behing Kerr, Miyazato, and Shin). Nordqvist has two top 10s in 2010 coming off an impressive rookie year that saw her win the LPGA Championship and the Tour Championships.
Thursday Hole 10 1:14 p.m./Friday Hole 1 7:44 a.m.
Jee Young Lee
Expect the hometown fans to be rooting squarely for Juli and Christina this week, and Jee Young Lee seems to always be smiling on course. This would be a very fun group to follow.