Can Suzann or Stacy stop Park?
While the US PGA Tour is well and truly over for the season, it’s women’s equivalent, the LPGA Tour, still has a way to go.
Starting with this week’s Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club, there remains a run of six more tournaments before the season ends with the CME Group Titleholders in Naples, Florida in the third week of November.
In the meantime Norway’s World No 2, Suzann Pettersen, and the USA’s World No 3, Stacy Lewis, will go up against the World No 1 and defending champion, Inbee Park, and a host of other highly-ranked fellow countrymen in Malaysia this week in an attempt to end Korean domination of the event.
Since it’s inception in 2010 when Jimin Kang won, Koreans golfers have owned the title, with Na Yeon Choi, currently the World No 6, winning it in 2011 and Park lifting it last year.
Since then, Park, who made a spectacular back-nine charge to post a record-tying 15-under 269 that saw her beat Choi by two strokes last year after trailing by two at the turn, has put together a highly impressive run this season.
She has picked up six tournament wins, three of them coming in major championships, and together those wins have set her firmly on top of the World ranking list where she leads Pettersen by 1.69 points
She also currently tops the LPGA Tour Money list with winnings of $2,186,601 and the Rolex Payer of the Year race with 281 points, yet, strangely enough, she is not this week’s out and out favourite as far as the bookmakers are concerned.
Most have her bracketed together with Pettersen and Lewis at 6/1, but some have Lewis as the sole favourite at 5/1.
Of the three top favourites, however, I like the chances of Pettersen, if only because she has been the hottest during the past month or so when she has won two of her four 2013 titles, the last of these being in the highly lucrative Evian Championship at Evian-les-Bains in France on September 15.
She has taken time off since then to regather her forces for a stretch that will see her defending titles in each of the following two weeks, first in Korea and then in Taiwan, which is yet another fact suggesting that she is at her best coming down the final stretch of the season.
Golf being golf, however, you can never be sure of anything and it’s quite possible that someone like China’s Shanshan Feng (20/1), bolstered by her win in last week’s Reignwood Classic in Beijing, will come through again on Sunday or that Spain’s Beatriz Recari (33/1)/ who picked up her second win this season at the Marathon Classic in Ohio in July, will make it three in Malaysia this week.
And it would be a mistake, of course, to write off players of the calibre of Choi, Australian veteran Karrie Web or America’s ‘Pink Panther’, Paula Creamer.
All of them, and some others too, are on their day more than capable of upstaging the favourites
THE BOOKIES TOP 20 FAVOURITES
Here were the top 20 favourites being quoted by Sky Bet on Tuesday morning. For all the bookmakers odds you should go to
Stacy Lewis 5/1
Inbee Park 6/1
Suzann Pettersen 13/2
Na Yeon Choi 14/1
So-Yeon Ryu 18/1
Shanshan Feng 20/1
Karrie Webb 22/1
Paula Creamer 28/1
In-Kyung Kim 33/1
Ya Ni Tseng 28/1
Beatriz Recari 33/1
Ji-Yai Shin 33/1
Caroline Hedwall 33/1
Cristie Kerr 30/1
Lexi Thompson 35/1
Ai Miyazato 35/1
Jessica Korda 40/1
Mika Miyazato 40/1
Lizette Salas 45/1
Chella Choi 50/1
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