They started with five invitee positions and four are now filled: Chairwoman Mao, Ting Ting, Tiff Chan and Amanda Tan of Singapore. How about giving the fifth spot to a neighbor from the north, The EMP? I did a search on her name in the past results ... she has NEVER played this event, going back to 2008. Memo to HSBC: Stop Hating!!!
Based on last year's results, Mao needs a finish of T-43 or better to cover her punishment payment to the JLPGA.
Chairwoman Mao had an off-season makeover ... Fila attire replaced by Puma ...
... Mizuno cap and bag replaced by Shimadzu (Kyoto-based maker of scientific, medical , aircraft and industrial instruments) ... Puma received secondary space on the bag.
Also, she ditched her contract with Mizuno ... but will still use Mizzy irons ... practiced with a Callaway Paradym driver (below) and also bagged a few Cally and Ping woods. She used a Mizuno driver for most of last year, before switching to a Ping in fall ... is in "reset" mode after feeling terrified of hitting her driver at the end of last year ... I would say her punishment payment to the JLPGA is the least of her concerns.
My field rating for this event is a rock solid 74%. Like last week's tournament, this will be one of the strongest non-majors of the year. My breakdown is 80% from the LPGA Priority List and 68% from the Rolex Rankings. This is basically the same field as last week with the only big change being Charley Hull is out and Jessica Korda is in. Thirteen of the top 15 players from the world rankings are teeing it up (No Charley or Lexi), and 21 of the top 25. The field rating loses a few points because its not a full field event and lacks depth, but best players in the world are here.
Only four players have finished in the top ten in each of the first two tournaments of the year: Nelly Korda Leona Maguire Maja Stark Ashleigh Buhai
We had a record breaking 11 first time winners last year, and Lilia Vu becomes the first one this year.
There was no movement in the top ten of the Rolex Rankings, but some big moves elsewhere: Lilia Vu makes the most important move this week leaping from number 33 to 12. Maja Stark moves up from 32 to 24. Jodi Ewart Shadoff rises from 55-46. Maria Fassi makes this list again, moving up from 93-87. In what might be the biggest move in years. Vongtaveelap Natthakritta moved up an amazing 379 spots. She moved from 470 - 91.
No one cares who wins this tournament since Shanshan made her triumphant return. Hopefully, that creep Xi Jinping, keeps his hands off her.
Eric Swalwell, call your office. Yikes, she was bigger as a rookie in 2008 at UMCC.
Meanwhile, Ting Ting was at the range ... I had the same view taping her driver swing at Lancaster in 2015 ... let's hope she qualifies for the 2024 USWO so I can get her swing again ... with my smartphone, I can show her both swings ... but does the USGA have a Binder?