2019 ShopRite LPGA Classic Betting Preview: Who Can Contend with the Favorites?
John David Mercer, USA Today Sports.
- The 2019 Shoprite LPGA Classic begins on Friday, June 7 in Galloway, New Jersey.
- Jeremy Pond previews the tournament and identifies a few golfers who are being underrated by the betting market.
Coming off the season’s second major championship of the campaign, the women of the LPGA Tour venture north from South Carolina to New Jersey for the ShopRite LPGA Classic.
Another strong field heads to the Bay Course at Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club in Galloway, N.J., featuring U.S. Women’s Open champion Jeongeun Lee6 and an array of former major champions that includes Brooke Henderson, Ariya Jutanugarn and Lexi Thompson. Also in the field are two-time ShopRite winners Anna Nordqvist and Stacy Lewis.
Lee6, who captured her first title and major on the tour, is the consensus favorite in sports books and for obvious reasons. The South Korean has been red hot through her first 10 starts this season, playing 27 of her 36 total rounds under par en route to eight finishes T16 or better.
Lee6 sits anywhere from 6-1 to 8-1 on the board, which does provides you value if she is your play this week. However, I am going against the favorite and looking for others to step up at bigger numbers. I see a slight bounce in form coming from the tour’s likely Rolex Rookie of the Year winner after what was an extremely emotional victory for the South Korean.
So, who are the plays? Let’s take a look:
Sei Young Kim (11-1)
The South Korean is arguably the hottest player on the tour at the moment. Prior to her T-16 finish at last week’s U.S. Open Women’s Open, she took home her ninth tour victory with a win at the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship and finished second at the HUGEL-AIR PREMIA LA Open the week before her victory.
Kim finished fourth in last year’s ShopRite event, which was highlighted her course-record tying 10-under-par 61 in the second round. Expect a big performance from the tour’s nine-time winner.
Marina Alex (40-1)
Taking a shot with Alex on the local angle with this play. The American, who finished third in last year’s ShopRite Classic, grew up less than three hours from the tournament location and looks to cook up some homestyle winning flavor.
Alex isn’t long off the tee (81st in driving distance at 259.20 yards), but her Greens in Regulation and Driving Accuracy numbers have her sitting at 15th and 17th overall in those categories respectively. Don’t be shocked if the Vanderbilt product earns her second tour win this week.
Anna Nordqvist (40-1)
The overlay of the entire field. How the two-time ShopRite champion (2015 and 2016), who also finished second in 2017 and tied for 16th in last year’s event, is sitting at that number is beyond me.
The Swede is a legitimate contender and threat to join Hall of Famers Betsy King and Annika Sorenstam as the only three-time winners of the ShopRite LPGA Classic.
Angel Yin (45-1)
My gut feeling is Yin is on the verge of a breakout this season and looks to ride the lightning from last week’s runner-up finish at the U.S. Women’s Open with a strong performance here.
Yin is long off the tee, ranking second on the tour in driving distance (283.29 yards) and sits in the Top 20 in both Putts per GIR and Putting Average.
If she can keep it in the fairway like she did in Charleston, where she hit 43 of 56 fairways (77 percent), which was well better than her 61 percent average overall, you should be surprised if the American becomes a first-time winner on tour at this event.
Gerina Piller (66-1)
Another monster overlay whose number should probably be cut in half after her T5 finish at the U.S. Women’s Open. Piller got off to a terrible start this season, missing the cut five times in nine starts before righting the ship in Charleston.
You can get Piller as low as 50-1 in Las Vegas, which is still higher than I think her number should sit. Again, this is a perfect example where books rely heavily on the Rolex world rankings instead of actually digging into why she has dropped.
They do not take into effect the fact Piller missed the entire 2018 season on maternity leave. Piller has 37 career Top 10s on tour and has knocked on the door more time than I can remember in search of her first LPGA title. This could be the week the new mom puts it all together.
Carlota Ciganda (-130) over Ariya Jutanugarn
Both women are coming off respectable U.S. Women’s Open finishes (Ciganda – T22/Jutanugarn – T26), but Ciganda is in better form entering this event. Jutanugarn has only finished under par five times in her last 16 rounds, while Ciganda is carded nine rounds under par in the same amount of events. Add in the fact Ciganda has four Top 10s compared to Jutanugarn’s two and the edge clearly falls on the Spaniard in this showdown of two of the LPGA Tour’s premier players.
Gerina Piller (+450)
Expecting a big performance for the American this week in Galloway, N.J. As mentioned earlier, Piller is coming off that T5 at the US. Women’s Open and has a strong track record at this event where she has finished T3 and T5 twice since 2013.
Annie Park (+500)
This number was set awfully low for the tournament’s defending champion, who fired rounds of 69-65-63 for 16-under-par finish in her victory. Her final-round 63 sealed her first win on the LPGA Tour. Park grew up on Long Island, will have a large fan base joining her this week and will be keen to impress her contingent. I don’t expect a repeat of last year, but anticipate another solid showing for the second-year pro.