The LPGA makes its annual trip to Busch Gardens…er, Williamsburg, Virginia for the Michelob Ultra Open at Kingsmill. The River Course at Kingsmill Resort & Spa will host this event for the sixth time. Suzann Pettersen collected her first career victory here last year, defeating Jee Young Lee in a three-hole playoff. The 72-hole tournament begins Thursday with TV coverage beginning Friday on ESPN2.
The River Course is a par-71 6315-yarder which is situated next to the James River. The signature par-3 17th hole usually has a few off-shore members in its gallery. Scoring has been fairly good the last couple of years (72.3 and 72.7 in ’07 and ’06) but was a bit higher the two years prior (73.5 and 73.3). Even at its toughest, Kingsmill seems to be a fair test. I reckon the players would be glad to hear that after what they’ve dealt with the last two weeks.
It’s a terrific field – Se Ri Pak is the only Top 30 regular not around (she’s playing in Japan this week). As such, the cut-off point came at Non-Exempt #19 (Irene Cho is the first player left out) which required rookie (and Conditional) standout Na Yeon Choi to go through Monday qualifying. Choi made the event by firing a 69. Since I have an audience larger than a foursome but smaller than a mob, I am required by law to point out that Michelle Wie is in the field on a sponsor’s exemption. Pairings haven’t been posted as of this writing but I’m expecting that her Friday tee time will be around 11:30-12 noon. Just a wild guess.
In my SemGroup Epilogue I stated that I already knew who my three picks for Michelob were going to be. One of them was Annika Sorenstam. Playing a hunch (while noting that she missed the cut in 2006, the last time she played here), I changed my mind and will leave Annika out of the mix. I’m going to play another hunch and pick Suzann Pettersen to defend her title this week. Paula Creamer and Lorena Ochoa are my CYAs.
Stats: Winners 5-10 (7-10 with CYAs), Top Tens 15-30.