Who are the match-play dynamos in the LPGA ranks today?
We get a chance to see beginning in Thursday’s start of the Citibanamex Lorena Ochoa Match Play in Mexico City with match play making its return to the LPGA.
It’s the first time the tour has featured a match play tournament since the Sybase Championship folded up following the 2012 season.
Lydia Ko, Ariya Jutanugarn, In Gee Chun and Inbee Park are the top four seeds at Club de Golf Mexico.
The field of 64 was based off the LPGA money list, with the world rankings used to determine seeding.
Three of the top 10 in the world rankings won’t be playing. Lexi Thompson is defending her title at the Salonpas Cup in Japan. So Yeon Ryu and Amy Yang also aren’t scheduled to play.
There is still a lot of firepower, however, with Ko the top seed in the Lorena Ochoa bracket, Jutanugarn in the Annika Sorenstam bracket, Chun in the Juli Inkster bracket and Park in the Se Ri Pak bracket.
Ko’s bracket is formidable, featuring Shanshan Feng, Brooke Henderson, Suzann Pettersen and M.J. Hur as the next best seeds. Ko opens Thursday against Mexico’s Ana Menendez, who is one of two sponsor exemptions into the field.
Chun’s bracket includes Sung Hyun Park, Stacy Lewis, Jessica Korda and Mo Martin as the next best seeds. Michelle Wie is also in that bracket. Chun opens against Mexico’s Laura Gonzalez Escallon, an LPGA rookie.
Inbee Park’s bracket features Sei Young Kim, Charley Hull, Carlota Ciganda and Karine Icher as the next best seeds. Ciganda won Ochoa’s event as a stroke-play tournament last year. Park opens against China’s Peiyun Chien.
The best first round matchup might be the young and younger matchup of Hull, 21, and Nelly Korda, 18, who is off to a strong start in her rookie season.
The 64-player format features single elimination with the finals scheduled for Sunday.
Ochoa, Inkster, Sorenstam and Pak won’t just be enjoying having their names atop brackets in this week’s competition. They’ll be playing each other in exhibition matches on Saturday and Sunday.
For Inkster and Sorenstam, the American and European Solheim Cup captains, respectively, this week also offers a chance to see how potential team members fare in match play. The Solheim Cup is still almost four months away, but there are impressions to be made.
Wie opens against fellow Solheim Cup hopeful Lizette Salas. They’re both Solheim veterans currently sitting outside the current point qualifying. Wie is 12th in points, Salas is 14th. The top eight in points following the conclusion of the Ricoh Women’s British Open in August automatically qualify.
Morgan Pressel, an American Solheim veteran, has thrived in match play formats. She’s a U.S. Women’s Amateur champ with a 10-7-2 record in five Solheim Cups. She will be looking to make an impression this week as she takes on European Solheim Cup veteran Caroline Masson in a first-round match.