Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic Preview

The LPGA Tour heads to the contiguous United States for the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic in San Francisco, California. Lake Merced Golf Club will host the plentiful field of LPGA talent as the golfers look to deny Lydia Ko of her third straight championship.

Kiwi Headlines Star-studded Field

Lydia Ko, world number one and 12-time LPGA champion, will look to win her third consecutive trophy in the California sun. The 18-year-old will be challenged by the likes of Morgan Pressel, Brooke Henderson, and Ha Na Jang, who all have fond memories from this tournament last year. Last week’s runner-ups, Katie Burnett and In Gee Chun, will also tee it up with hopes to ride their momentum into this week. Lexi Thompson, Stacy Lewis, and Brittany Lincicome lead an impressive charge of American golfers in the field.

Lydia Ko in Lotte Championship action. Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Lydia Ko in Lotte Championship action | Christian Petersen - Getty Images

Course Analysis

The 18 holes of the Lake Merced Golf Club will challenge the golfers as every under-par round will be hard-earned. The beautiful layout suits long and accurate drivers of the golf ball. Several curves and doglegs on the course will require the golfers to work the ball right to left and left to right consistently. The players who value power will find opportunities with reachable holes, but the sometimes tight fairways could danger their scorecard if they do not stay precise on shot placement. Every hole at the Lake Merced Golf Club will offer strategically placed bunkers around the greens as greens in regulation will be a statistic to watch throughout the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic.

Lydia Ko on the 18th tee box of the Lake Merced Golf Club in 2015. Photo: Robert Laberge/Getty Images
Lydia Ko on the 18th tee box of the Lake Merced Golf Club in 2015 | Robert Laberge - Getty Images

Golfers Expected To Be In Contention

Lydia Ko will of course be the one to watch this year in San Francisco considering her past success at Lake Merced. Ha Na Jang, Lexi Thompson, and In Gee Chun should be expected to roam atop the leaderboard as each carry what it takes to conquer the golf course in their own respective ways. Ha Na Jang already has picked up a win on the LPGA Tour this season and currently leads the tour in greens in regulation with 82.1 percent of greens hit. Lexi Thompson leads the LPGA in average driving distance which will work in her favor on this course as she will find opportunities for multiple eagles this week. In Gee Chun has yet to miss out on a top ten finish this season. Chun’s significant work on the greens this year has proved that she can challenge the best golfers worldwide. Last year’s runner-up, Morgan Pressel, has not had an ideal first quarter of the 2016 LPGA season, but her memories at Lake Merced Golf Course could spark the American to contend this week.

Lexi Thompson in ANA Inspiration action. Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images
Lexi Thompson in ANA Inspiration action | David Cannon - Getty Images

Prediction

I predict a second career victory for the world number six, In Gee Chun. The Korean has yet to finish worse than a tie for third and could lift the trophy if she continues her prominent play. The only aspect of the rookie’s game that will possibly holder he back is her play off the tee, but her consistently low scores have proved she can make up for her lack of distance with divine ball-striking and putting. Yours truly expects nothing short of a week to remember for In Gee Chun. 

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