Thursday, June 04, 2009

Two weeks after the cheers and tears at the final Corning Classic, the LPGA has landed at the State Farm Classic in Springfield, Ill., another small-town tournament that feels a lot bigger. 
NBC and ESPN2 will be broadcasting the event, giving the LPGA another opportunity to showcase its players to a larger audience. Though No. 1 player Lorena Ochoa is not in the field, Paula Creamer, Morgan Pressel, Cristie Kerr, Brittany Lincicome, Angela Stanford, Christina Kim, Laura Diaz, Natalie Gulbis and the ever-intriguing Michelle Wie will be front and center. In fact, Gulbis and Wie will be paired together at 12:10 cdt. That's where I'll be, too.
After following Wie at the Sybase last month I'm convinced that she's close to winning. I know, I know, close only counts in horseshoes and such, but when you watch someone stick a 4-iron to a foot on a hole where her competitors are bouncing balls off the green, it stays in your mind.
I'm also going to be watching Creamer, Kerr, Lincicome and Stanford. One of these four is the best American golfer in the world. That matters in a Solheim Cup year. Because of longevity, consistency and a U.S. Women's Open title, my pick is Kerr. The State Farm Classic is the last tournament before the LPGA Championship, the second major of the year. Let's see how Thursday shakes out.
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