Defending Champion – Lorena Ochoa
Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club
72 holes, begins Thursday
Par 72, 6433 yards
Field Score – 86
Scoring Averages – 72.12 (2007 Royal Mayfair, Edmonton), 74.14 (2006 London H&CC, London, Ontario), 73.77 (2005 Glen Arbour, Halifax)
2008 Scoring Average to date – 72.81
U.S. TV coverage (times EDT):
Sat 9p-11:30p GC
Sun 9p-11:30p GC
If you asked me to name the five richest purses on the 2008 LPGA schedule, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have listed the Canadian Open as one of my choices. Its $2.25 million dollar prize package is exceeded only by the U.S. Open, Evian and the two Ginn events. Next year the purse will be even higher, reaching $2.75 million which is more than double what it was in 2005. The relationship between the LPGA majors and purse sizes continues to skew.
No surprise then that the field is this strong – Mi Hyun Kim is the only Top 30 regular not here. UPDATE: After I posted this preview, Jeong Jang and Maria Hjorth withdrew. That lowers the Field Score to 86. Ji-Yai Shin is back on her home tour and Stacy Lewis did not receive a sponsor’s exemption. Michelle Wie will be using her final exemption of the year and needs to win at least $100, 000 (probably a top 4 finish or better) to avoid Q-School this fall. Since I and couple other bloggers gave her hell about skipping Canada last year (and the way she went about withdrawing), I wanted to specifically mention that Annika Sorenstam is here this week. Last year, Lorena Ochoa followed up her British Open victory with a three-shot win in Edmonton over Paula Creamer. You may recall that we got our first glimpse of Yani Tseng that week – she made the field through Monday qualifying and finished T6 in her first LPGA event.
At least this strong field gets a little U.S. TV time, albeit tape-delayed. This is the same meh arrangement we got a year ago but it beats the complete blackout we got in 2006. The new TV contract in the works really ought to include this high-dollar event moving forward.
Since the Canadian plays different courses every year, I can’t really draw a conclusion on how Ottawa H&GC will score. It last hosted this event in 1994 (it was the duMaurier Classic then) and Martha Nause was the winner at -9. Trivia Time: Name the only two-time duMaurier/Canadian Open champion in the field this week (without cheating, you sorry sacks…). UPDATE: Firstbase31 got the player I was looking for (Brandie Burton) but Meg Mallon also won this event in 2002 and 2004. Apologies for the flawed question - I'll try to do better next time.
I’m slowly turning the corner on my picks. Although I didn’t get the British Open winner right, two of my three choices did finish in the Top 10 and I finished second in the PakPicker at Seoulsisters.com. I’ll take my successes anywhere I can find them these days. This week I’m going the “Hot Hand” route and pick Yani Tseng to win, with Paula Creamer and Lorena Ochoa as CYAs.
Stats: Winners 5-22 (9-22 with CYAs), Top Tens 26-66.