2019 Meijer LPGA Classic Betting Odds, Preview: Who Will Rise Above Talented Field?
Jasen Vinlove, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Nelly Korda
While the men are at Pebble Beach for the 2019 U.S. Open, the ladies tee it up this week at Blythefield Country Club in the suburbs of Grand Rapids, Mi., at the Meijer LPGA Classic. A star-studded field, which features nine of the Top 10 players in the latest Rolex women’s rankings, will compete for the title at the $2 million event.
Leading the way will be defending champion So Yeon Ryu, the world’s ninth-ranked player who took the LPGA ShopRite event off prior to finishing in a tie for second behind champion Jeongeun Lee6 at the U.S. Women’s Open.
Ryu joins three other former Meijer champions, including Mirim Lee, who won the inaugural event in a playoff against Inbee Park back in 2014. Also returning to the tournament of past glory are Brooke Henderson and Lexi Thompson, who held off Lee6 last weekend to pick up the ShopRite LPGA Classic hardware.
As previously mentioned, the Meijer is loaded with talent and the odds reflect the balance. The consensus favorite is the red-hot Lee6, who sits as the plus-750
Let’s take a look at this week’s top plays.
Minjee Lee (+900)
Not a big fan of playing anyone under 10/1 in general when it comes to events, but Lee is the exception to rule going into this event. Lee, the world’s No. 2 player in both the Rolex rankings and Race to the CME Globe standings, has been on fire this season and looks for her second win of her campaign.
The HUGEL-AIR PREMIA LA Open champion also has two solo second-place finishes, along with a T3 in 2019, as part of her 5 Top 10s finishes. Lee has only played this event twice, with her best finish (T25) coming in the 2015 edition of the tournament. However, the Australian is a different player than she was three years ago.
Lee has finished no worse than a tie for 13th in her last five events and should be in the thick of things Sunday when she looks to secure second win of the season and sixth overall on the tour.
Brooke Henderson +1200
You really have to like the Canadian’s chances at picking up her second title in three years at Bythefield given her consistent play so far in the 2019 campaign. The world’s No. 8-ranked player, who is also fifth in the Race to the CME Globe standings, has six Top 10 finishes this season, including a victory at the LOTTE Championship in Hawaii. Henderson wound up 11th in last week’s ShopRite LPGA Classic, which included a final-round 68 on a very windy day in South Jersey. Could see another big performance after she pursues her ninth tour title.
So Yeon Ryu (+1400)
The tournament’s defending champion is fresh off that T2 finish at the U.S. Women’s Open as previously mentioned and has been in the Top 10 in two of her last four starts. The South Korean has three Top-10 finishes in all at this event, including a 6th in 2016 and a T4 showing in 2015. Expecting another big week from Ryu and don’t be surprised if she successfully defends her title.
Sung Hyun Park (+1800)
Give me anything more than 12-1 on Park – the world’s No. 3 player and multiple major-winning champion – and I am getting involved in that action. When the South Korean star is on her game, she can’t be beat. She won the HSBC Women’s World Championship and finished second at the Kia Classic this year as well.
Extremely long off the tee and solid around greens, Park will be in contention Sunday and in the hunt for her 7th LPGA event title.
Nelly Korda (+2500)
Love this number on Korda, whose season highlights include a victory at the ISPS Handa Australian Open, a T2 finish at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup and a solo third at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions event. The American, who has 18 career Top 10s, is my sleeper at the Meijer and will be in contention on the weekend.
Nelly Korda (-130) over Lydia Ko
We are siding with the hot hand in Korda over the former world No. 1 in this intriguing matchup. Korda, the 12th-ranked player in the world, has six Top 10 finishes this season, including that aforementioned victory in Australia.
In contrast, Ko has had a run of poor form, finishing T39, T61, T42 and T44 in her last four tournaments. Ko did finish third at last year’s Meijer Classic in comparison to Korda, who wound up finished T9 at the 2018 edition of this event. However, I am going with Korda and playing with confidence.
Azahara Munoz (+110) over Nasa Hataoka
Munoz comes into this matchup as the underdog, which should not be the case. If anything, this matchup should be a Pick’em or a slight favorite on the board. The Spaniard is off to a great start this season, with six Top 10s to her credit thus far, and has a strong track record on the Meijer Classic layout. Munoz finished T4 at last year’s Meijer, tied for 22nd in 2017 and a solo 8th in 2016. She has finished no worse than a tie for 27th in her career at this tournament.
Hataoka has had an unbelievable run over the course of the past two seasons and currently sits at No. 7 in the Rolex rankings. The Japanese star won the Kia Classic back in March and has a T2 finish at the Pure Silk Championship on resume this season as well.
Although Hataoka might have the better overall numbers against Munoz, course familiarity has always been one of the biggest angles for me when playing events. Hataoka has a T58 finish and a missed cut to her name at this event and that’s more than enough for me to back Munoz.