The ladies converge on Reunion, Florida near Orlando this week for the third-annual Ginn Open, the first of a two-stop LPGA “Florida swing”. Brittany Lincicome is the defending champion – a one-stroke winner over Lorena Ochoa on a wind-blown Sunday afternoon. The 72-hole event begins Thursday with TV coverage tape-delayed on Golf Channel the first two days and over the weekend live on CBS.
Ginn Reunion Resort hosts this tournament for the third time, on a layout of 6505 yards which plays to par of 72. Scoring last year was slightly above the 2007 average – 73.5 – but would have been well below average if not for the 40 mph winds on Sunday which caused the final-round scores to balloon to 76.5. Only four players avoided playing over par in the near hurricane-level gusts. Although Sunday might bring some t-storms, this year’s weather looks to be quite better.
The field looks quite better this week too – aside from Ji-Yai Shin, my entire Top 30 is in town and the roster fills out through Marcy Hart (Non-exempt #17) leaving Michelle Ellis on the outside. Annika Sorenstam joins the party this year after being sidelined by her neck injury on the eve of Round One a year ago. The tournament trophy has been renamed in memory of Kelly Jo Dowd, who got to see her daughter Dakoda play in this event on a sponsor’s exemption two years ago. Kelly Jo passed away late in 2007.
Can anybody slow down Hurricane Lorena? She’s won three consecutive events, five of her last six and nine of her last 14. I can’t possibly pick anyone else to win outright. Annika Sorenstam has finished Top 10 in every event she’s played this year while Maria Hjorth has placed in the top six in her last two events, so I’ll acknowledge they have a chance to win by selecting them as CYAs. By riding the Ochoa Wave, my numbers here are looking good but truth be told – my prognosticating has been straddling the line between “mediocre” and “sucks” so far in 2008. I’ve had only one good finish in the PakPicker at Seoulsisters.com. I’ll take my erratic performance as an indicator that the Tour is as deep in talent as I thought it was. Couldn’t possibly be poor judgment…
Stats: Winners 4-7 (6-7 with CYAs), Top Tens 13-21.