It’s the second major of the year this week on the LPGA Tour. The LPGA Tour heads to Pinehurst, North Carolina to play at Pinehurst No 2 for the U.S. Women’s Open. If that sounds familiar, well, it should because the men just finished up their U.S. Open at Pinehurst.
It’s an unprecedented double dip for a major to host the Men’s U.S. Open and the Women’s U.S. Open in back-to-back weeks. It’s going to be fun to see how the women play Pinehurst No 2 and it’ll be interesting to see how Pinehurst No 2 holds up.
Since it’s the Women’s U.S. Open the Golf Channel is hosting a fantasy game which should be fun. So, let’s break it down a bit and make some picks. Without further ado let’s get to it.
Group 1: Group 1 features the top eight of the top nine in the Women’s Rolex World Rankings. And while this is the best of the best a group that includes the number 1 golfer in the world in Stacy Lewis , the quiet teenage assassin in Lydia Ko, the legend in Karrie Webb, and the defending Kraft Nabisco Champion in Lexi Thompson; there’s one name that sticks out and that is Inbee Park.
Park is having another great year with eight top 10′s in eleven events. Plus, in the last LPGA Tour event, she was the winner at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic. She’s in great form, but also throw in the fact that she’s just incredible at the U.S. Open.
In the last seven years she has finished in the top 5 six times and has won the U.S. Open title twice. 2013: 1st , 2012: T-9, 2011: T-6, 2010: T-8, 2009: T-26, 2008: 1st, 2007: T-4. These are just unbelievable results and to me she’s just the obvious pick.
Group 2: I’m not sure if the Golf Channel team made a mistake or what, but not having So-Yeon Ryu in Group 1 makes picking Group 2 that much easier. I thought it would be a real hard selection given the amount of quality and quantity to choose from. But, with So-Yeon Ryu included in Group 2, well, that makes things a nice easy slam dunk. Ryu is who I’m taking.
Ryu has yet to win on the LPGA Tour this season, but she has finished in the top 10 in half her tournaments. Plus, she steps up her game in the majors. At the U.S. Open she has finished 3rd (last year), T-14 in 2012, and she won in 2011. Ryu is just a on a different level from everyone else in Group 2, on paper. Which is saying something because as I say, Group 2 is loaded with quantity and quality.
Cristie Kerr is included in the group. She’s no slouch. She’s played in eleven tournaments this year and has finished in the top 10 in seven of those events. And in her career in 13 U.S. Open events she has finished in the top 25 ten times with six top 10′s and one win.
Also, included is Paula Creamer who has finished in the top 25 at the U.S. Open in 10 of 11 starts, including five top 10′s and a win. Michelle Wie is in the group as well and she is having a career year thus far. She’s already won a tournament this year, and finished runner up to Lexi Thompson at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Other notable golfers in Group 2 includes: Jessica Korda, Angela Stanford, Azahara Munoz, Chella Choi, In-Kyung Kim, Se Ri Pak, Morgan Pressel, Sandra Gal, Yani Tseng, and Ai Miyazato.
Group 3: Group 3 and Group 4, I believe are going to be the difference to who wins the fantasy game this week. The talent level in groups 3 and 4 aren’t the same in the first two groups where the finishes may end up being negligible.
To start off, leading up to the Women’s U.S. Open, I had a number of sleeper, under the radar golfers I had in mind to pick in these groups. One was Dewi Claire Schreefel. Unfortunately, the University of Southern California alumnae isn’t coming into the U.S. Open in good form.
After finishing T-6 at the North Texas LPGA Shootout, she proceeded to reel off three straight missed cuts before finishing T59 at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic.
Brittany Lang has been solid all season. Since missing the cut in back-to-back tournaments at the Kraft Nabisco Championship and the LPGA Lotte Championship, she has reeled off six straight made cuts, has finished inside the top 30 three times, and top 10 once at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. But, that’s not the Brittany I’m going with.
For my Group 3 pick I’m going with Brittany Lincicome. Lincicome hit a rough patch earlier in the season missing four tournaments in a five tournament stretch (the one tournament she didn’t miss sandwiched in between was the Kraft Nabisco Championship, T-59). But, she’s bounced back with three straight made cuts and has finished T-45, T-10, and T-19.
I think she is in decent form and may perhaps be peaking at the right time. Not only that, but she has played the U.S. Open Tournament really well. She has never missed the cut at a U.S. Open and in those ten events she has finished in the top 25 six times and top 10 three times.
Group 4: Group 4 is tough because it’s filled with a lot of young, unknown golfers that could break out on a big stage like this. So, let’s go over a few names that could be the star in Group 4.
Rebecca Artis is on the European Tour and has been boom or bust throughout her career. Last year, in 16 events she finished in the top 10 four times, but missed the cut in five tournaments. Jennifer Rosales is a veteran on the LPGA Tour. Rosales has a lot of experience, but has struggled a bit of late. But, that experience is very valuable. Especially, at a tough place like Pinehurst No2.
Rosales last year finished T20, her best finish at a U.S. Open was a solo 4th back in 2004, and at the year’s first major, at the Kraft Nabisco Championship she made the cut and finished T67.
Wei-Ling Hsu is on the Symetra Tour and has done well. In eight tournaments she’s only missed one cut, she has won a tournament and finished runner up.
Those are a few to consider, but for me, it comes down to two golfers. Marissa Steen and Yueer Cindy Feng. Both are on the Symetra Tour and they both have been really strong. Both of them by the end of the year should receive their LPGA Tour cards and be playing on the LPGA Tour next year.
Both have played in eight tournaments this year. Starting with Steen, she has finished in the top 10 six times this year including two wins. One of those wins she actually beat Feng in a playoff.
Her results have been there and when you look at her stats she’s been hitting it long and straight. She’s averaging around 246 yards off the tee, hitting 81% of fairways, and hitting the green 78% of the time.
From tee-to-green she looks really strong and her putting is pretty strong too. She’s averaging 31.45 putts a round which is only a couple of shots from first place and considering that she hits a lot of greens, her putting is expected to be a bit higher than some of the leaders.
Feng is just as good herself. She’s finished in the top 5 six out of the eight tournaments this year with one win. And when you look at her stats, it’s very similar with Steen. Feng averages around 245 yards a drive, she’s hitting 73% of fairways and 78% of greens. She’s also averaging around 31 putts around at 31.74 putts. Also, Feng is number one on the Symetra Tour in scoring average at 71.3.
So, like I mentioned, for me, it’s between these two golfers. I think one, if not both of them have the chance to make the cut and maybe even break out a bit. With all that said, I’m taking Feng on my team and the reason is because she has played in a U.S. Open before. Last year, she played and played pretty well. Feng made the cut and finished T54.