The LPGA visits Mexico for the second time in four weeks, for the Corona Championship. Tres Marias Residential Golf Club in Morelia will host this event for the fourth (and maybe final) year. Silvia Cavalleri was the surprise winner in 2007, defeating Lorena Ochoa and Julieta Granada by two strokes. The 72-hole event begins Thursday and the only television coverage available in the U.S. will be tape-delayed on ESPN Deportes.
This year, Tres Marias plays to par of 72 and a length of 6539 yards – just over 60 yards were shaved off the layout and par was reduced from last year’s 73. They probably could have changed the par even without the yardage reduction – last year’s average score was just under 73.3, which was right at the overall 2007 average. Of course there wasn’t much wind that weekend and they played “lift-clean-place” at least one day. If the wind does kick up, we might see results closer to 2005, where the average was nearly 75.5.
The field…of course Ochoa is here and there’s Hee-Won Han and Brittany Lincicome and Shi Hyun Ahn and…well, that’s it from my Top 30. I called the MasterCard field weak and it had more than twice as many (nine to be exact) as this. UPDATE: TC points out that Ahn and Brittany Lang dropped out, further weakening the field. Sophie Gustafson, Na Yeon Choi, Minea Blomqvist, Inbee Park and Ji-Young Oh are the best of the rest. This is a full-field event but only 102 players are entered. Amy Yang, #37 and last on the Conditional list, is in the field and there’s room for 42 more! Sadly, this is business as usual for the Corona – last year’s field numbered 115 and only 104 teed it up the year before. Like Larry said on his blog a few days ago, since the cut will only take out about 30 players the Corona is a great opportunity for a fringe player to boost her money-list standing. Get it before it’s gone, ladies.
You realize, of course, that Lorena Ochoa HAS to clinch Hall of Fame eligibility by winning a tournament in Mexico, don’t you? I realize that she didn’t win MasterCard last month but if it had been a four-round event like this one, she probably would have. Sure, she’s primed for a letdown after winning a major but be honest - picking her to win here is a no-brainer. The trick this week is in selecting the CYAs. Hee-Won Han seems a natural choice – she’s playing very well and her last win at the 2006 Honda Thailand wasn’t on English-speaking TV either. Thirdly, coming off back-to-back Top 10s, I’ll take Inbee Park. Having said all that, which of these players could make Corona a Fluke winner twice in a row: Audra Burks, Johanna Head or Dina Ammaccapane? Or will Moira Dunn or Kate Golden forever remove their names from Fluke consideration?
Stats: Winners 3-6 (5-6 with CYAs), Top Tens 11-18.