Wednesday, July 18, 2007

HSBC Women’s World Match Play Preview

New Rochelle, New York and Wykagyl Country Club are the new home of this week’s event, the HSBC Women’s World Match Play Championship. Brittany Lincicome won last year at Hamilton Farm in Gladstone, New Jersey, defeating Juli Inkster in the final match. TV coverage begins Thursday at 2pm EDT on The Golf Channel with CBS covering Saturday and Sunday.

Wykagyl was, until this year, the host of the Sybase Classic. Par is 72 with the yardage at 6523. Lorena Ochoa won the final Sybase event held at Wykagyl.

The field consists of 64 participants, who
qualified in a variety of ways. The cutoff point for determining the qualifiers was July 2, the day after the US Women’s Open. Basically the Top 30 in the Rolex rankings made it, then the rest of the Top 30 of the LPGA money list made it, then you throw in two sponsor’s exemptions (Michelle Wie turned hers down, allowing 18-year-old South African Ashleigh Simon and Marisa Baena in) and the leading LET money winner (Trish Johnson), and fill out the rest of the field using the LPGA money list. The 64 players are seeded by their Rolex ranking (as of July 16) and #1 plays #64, #2 plays #63, etc. Lincicome was the 39th seed a year ago and inaugural winner Baena was seeded 60th in 2005.

Match play events are a nice change-up from the standard weekly medal format, but I wouldn’t want to see them every week. I enjoy them a lot more when they are part of a team-oriented event like the Ryder and Solheim Cups. It makes picking a winner a lot tougher too. The luck of the draw can often screw you. You might select four or five players that you think have a good chance to win, only to see them knock each other off before reaching the final rounds.

So I’m nick-naming this tournament “Ju-Lyssa” (look it up in your thesaurus) and filling out my bracket. Not that I could find a bracket - I had to draw up my own from looking at the first round pairings. I’m not going to claim any CYA picks this time, but I will tell you that Lorena Ochoa is my pick to win. In the first three rounds of my bracket, I picked the higher seed to win except in these cases:

1st Round
Francella over Meena Lee
I.K. Kim over Young Kim
Jimin Kang over Castrale
Wright over Lang

2nd Round
Stanford over Inkster
I.K. Kim over Kerr
Steinhauer over Miyazato
Diaz over Webb
Wright over Sorenstam
Angela Park over Jang

3rd Round
Stanford over Creamer
Mi Hyun Kim over Pettersen

And starting with the final eight, here is how I see it:
Ochoa over Stanford
Pak over Lincicome
Mi Hyun Kim over Jee Young Lee
Pressel over Angela Park

Ochoa over Pak
Mi Hyun Kim over Pressel

Ochoa over Kim

I know there are usually more than four upsets in the first round, but I just don’t see any others jumping out at me. Maybe Christina Kim over Gulbis, but I think Natalie will get through. If I get even half of the final eight correct, I’ll be pleased. Especially if Lorena makes it four wins in a row for me.

Stats: Winners 4-16 (5-16 with CYAs), Top Tens 27-48.

No comments: