Annika Sorenstam will attempt to become the first player in LPGA history to win the same event six times (in a row, no less) at the Mizuno Classic in Shima Mie, Japan. She won this event the first time in 2001 and has defended her title every year since then.
This year’s Mizuno will be held for the first time at the Kashikojima Country Club, a par-72 6450 yard course. Like last week I’ve had no luck finding any description of the course. Hopefully it will be a little tougher than last year’s course in Shiga – Annika’s winning score was -21 (in a three-round event!) and 63 of the 78 competitors finished under par.
The field is of fairly decent strength though definitely not as strong as last week in Korea, if only because the large contingent of KLPGA players has been replaced by 35 JLPGA players. I am convinced (just call me a Seoul Sister Supporter!) that the current level of talent in the KLPGA is second only to the LPGA, and the JLPGA is vastly overrated in the Rolex rankings. I don’t expect any of the J-members to finish in the Top 10 and you certainly won’t see five of them finish in the Top 20 (or win the event!) like the K’s did. Karrie Webb, Jeong Jang and Mi Hyun Kim join Annika as the premier players in the field, while Ai Miyazato will get the lion’s share of media attention, I’m sure.
Not wanting to portray myself as a fool, I’ll pick Annika Sorenstam to win. If this one doesn’t end my losing streak, nothing will! My CYA picks are Jeong Jang and (for the first time) Gloria Park. Gloria played very well in the first two Asian events and had been moving up even before that. Stats: Winners 1-12 (7-12 with CYAs), Top Tens 26-37.