Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Safeway Classic Preview

Defending Champion – Lorena Ochoa
Columbia Edgewater Country Club
Portland, Oregon
54 holes, begins Friday
Par 72, 6397 yards
Field Score – 86
Scoring Averages – 73.74 (2007), 73.18 (2006), 72.86 (2005)
2008 Scoring Average to date – 72.87

U.S. TV coverage (times EDT):
Fri 4p-6p ESPN2
Sat 4p-6p ESPN2
Sun 3:30p-5:30p ESPN2

The Safeway Classic will tee it up for the final time at Columbia Edgewater this week. Next year the Classic will move to Pumpkin Ridge, the fourth home of its 36-year existence. Columbia Edgewater CC is known for its tree-lined fairways so straying too far into the rough can be disastrous. The Portland area is getting rain overnight tonight but it’s expected to be sunny all three days of the event. If that holds true, the course should be in good scoring condition.

This event was Lorena Ochoa’s third consecutive victory last summer and it still boggles that at the time,
Ochoa was nine points shy of Hall of Fame qualification. She’s back to defend, of course, but the field is a bit stronger this time out. With a two-week break following Safeway, several players (Annika Sorenstam included) are competing for the fifth straight week (Annika’s event in Sweden filled the gap between the British and Canadian). Lucky for them this event is only 54 holes.

Yani Tseng’s collapse on Sunday extended my negative prognosticating streak to 15. Like Yani, I don’t really feel like talking about that. All three of my Canadian Open picks did finish Top 10 so I’m going to ride those hot hands again this week, although in a slightly different order. Lorena Ochoa to win, with Paula Creamer and Yani Tseng as the CYAs.

Stats: Winners 5-23 (9-23 with CYAs), Top Tens 29-69.