ShopRite LPGA Classic 2024 Tips: 350/1 one of five for New Jersey

 | Wednesday 5th June 2024, 13:33pm

Wednesday 5th June 2024, 13:33pm

jamie LPGA

A hugely entertaining but brutally difficult week at Lancaster Country Club last week, ended with a little bit of history made in the US Women’s Open.

Whilst the trio of co-leaders entering the final round, Minjee Lee, Andrea Lee and Wichanee Meechai, finally succumbed to the demands of the firm and undulating venue – shooting a combined 20-over-par in Sunday’s final round – Japanese star, Yuka Saso produced one of the rounds of the week in the circumstances, to completely turn around a three-shot deficit and run out an impressive three-stroke winner.

It was her second US Women’s Open success after taking the 2021 edition and makes her the youngest player ever to win two US Women’s Open titles.

Saso is back in action this week and it’s a Friday start on the LPGA, as the players head to Seaview’s Bay Course for the Shoprite LPGA Classic.

Let's jump right in with star golf tipster Jamie Worsley's Shoprite LPGA Classic tips, which range from 22/1 to a huge 350/1...

Shoprite LPGA Classic Betting Tips

  • 2 pts Jin Hee Im each-way (1/4 - 5 places) - 22/1 
  • 1.5 pts Megan Khang each way (1/4 - 5 places) - 30/1
  • 1 pt Ashleigh Buhai each way (1/4 - 5 places) - 45/1 
  • 1 pt Yan Liu each way (1/4 - 5 places) - 70/1
  • 0.5 pts Morgane Metraux each way (1/4 - 5 places) - 350/1

*Click on the linked odds to add the selections directly to your betslip on betfred.com (or app)

TOURNAMENT HISTORY

The Shoprite LPGA Classic debuted on tour in 1986 and with the exception of 2007-2009, it has taken place every year since; exclusively at Seaview’s Bay Course since 1998 and barring the 1990 and 2020 editions, every other renewal has been a 54-hole event.

Juli Inkster won the inaugural edition at Seaview and regaining the title in 1988, she became the first two-time winner of the event.

Stacy Lewis (2012, 2014) and Anna Nordqvist (2015, 2016) join Inkster on two wins apiece, but there are two players who have won the event on three occasions, in the shape of Betsy King (1987, 1995, 2001) and Annika Sorenstam (1998, 2002, 2005).

Last five winners:

  • 2023 – Winner: Ashleigh Buhai (-14); runner-up: Hyo Joo Kim (-13)
  • 2022 – Winner: Brooke Henderson (-12, playoff); runner-up: Lindsey Weaver-Wright (-12)
  • 2021 – Winner: Celine Boutier (-14); runners-up: Brooke Henderson, Jin Young Ko, Inbee Park (-13)
  • 2020 – Winner: Mel Reid (-19); runner-up: Jennifer Kupcho (-17)
  • 2019 – Winner: Lexi Thompson (-12); runner-up: Jeongeun Lee6 (-11)

South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai won this event last year to record her first professional victory in the US. She returns this week, looking to become the first player to successfully defend the title since Anna Nordqvist in 2016.

THE COURSE

Seaview’s Bay Course was originally designed by the duo of Donald Ross and Hugh Wilson in 1914 – with Ross paying particular attention to the bunkering - then renovated by Bob Cupp in 1998. It was the scene of Sam Snead’s first ever major championship victory in the 1942 PGA Championship, where it shared hosting duties with Seaview’s other setup, the Pines Course.

It is one of the shortest venues on the LPGA, with the par 71 coming in at just 6197 yards. It possesses 11x par 4s (301-421 yards), 4x par 3s (119-205 yards) and 3x par 5s (465-507 yards).

Built alongside salt marshes and wetlands, the course is both loosely tree-lined, yet generally exposed and open. With little in the way of elevation changes and played on firm, undulating ground, with raised mounds lining many fairways and greens, it is distinctly links-like by design.

There is a lack of harsh doglegs here, though there are several tee-shots which are played at an angle to the fairway, making keeping the ball in the short grass difficult. The fairways start off pretty narrow on the front nine, but become much more generous on the back and are protected by tall fescue and thick bluegrass rough, whilst deep bunkers built into the fairway mounds can be particularly penal.

The raised and contoured bentgrass/poa mixed greens are relatively large, though are usually slow, playing at between 11-11.5 on the stimp this week. Many are open-fronted, encouraging play along the ground, possessing some steep false-fronts and deep pot bunkers for protection.

Situated not far from the Atlantic Coast, wind can prove a real problem, especially seems the interesting routing means that two holes rarely play in the same direction.

With three short par 5s and several par 4s that can be attacked with a strong drive and a mere flick of the wedge, birdie chances are plentiful. However, an average winning score of -12.4 over the last 10 54-hole renewals shows that the course is no pushover if the wind rears its head.

THE WEATHER

The players will find warm and humid conditions in New Jersey this week, which carry with them the threat of thunderstorms, especially on the Thursday preceding the start of the event.

A gentle breeze is set to be a constant, blowing at between 9-14mph, though it could gust at up to 24mph. Due to its proximity to the coast and open nature, it won’t take a great deal to cause problems for the players.

KEY STATS

  • SG: Approach
  • Greens-in-Regulation
  • Proximity

We only have tournament specific stats available for the last two renewals of this event, but even with such a small sample size, it has shown that the key to unlocking the Bay Course is quality into and on these undulating putting surfaces.

Ashleigh Buhai ranked 3rd in greens-in-regulation and 5th in approach on her way to winning last year; her nearest challenger, Hyo Joo Kim was 12th in approach and of the top-5, nobody ranked worse than 27th.

Brooke Henderson was 4th in approach and 6th in GIR when winning in 2022. Of her closest opponents, Lindsey Weaver-Wright was 12th in approach and four of the top-5 ranked 15th and upwards in GIR.

  • SG: Putting (bentgrass/poa mix)

The putter was a hugely important club last year, with Ashleigh Buhai ranking 6th and three of the top-5 ranking inside the top-5, including 4th-place finisher, Nanna Madsen and 3rd-place finisher, Yan Liu, ranking 1st and 2nd respectively.

Brooke Henderson was solid enough on the greens in 2022, as were each of her main competitors, with Lydia Ko in 4th leading the field on the greens.

  • Scrambling/SG: Around-the-Greens

Finally, with the breezy conditions potentially making things trick this week, players will need to scramble well. Indeed, Brooke Henderson led the field in this area in 2022 and whilst not quite as impressive as the Canadian, Ashleigh Buhai ranked 29th in scrambling last year.

CORRELATING EVENTS (COURSES)

Dana Open (Highland Meadows Golf Club)

Highland Meadows is more densely tree-lined yet open, with some narrow fairways. The poa/bent mixed greens are a touch smaller but similarly slow and well-bunkered, whilst fairways and greens are protected by Kentucky bluegrass/fescue rough.

Notable correlating form:

In-kyung Kim:

Shoprite Classic (1st) / Dana Open (1st)

Brittany Lincicome:

Shoprite Classic (1st) / Dana Open (2nd)

Mel Reid:

Shoprite Classic (1st) / Dana Open (9th)

Jeongeun Lee6:

Shoprite Classic (2nd) / Dana Open (4th)

Jennifer Kupcho:

Shoprite Classic (2nd) / Dana Open (5th)

Lindsey Weaver-Wright:

Shoprite Classic (2nd) / Dana Open (9th)

Jodi Ewart Shadoff:

Shoprite Classic (3rd, 7th, 8th) / Dana Open (2nd)

Gerina Mendoza:

Shoprite Classic (3rd, 5th, 5th) / Dana Open (3rd)

Nasa Hataoka:

Shoprite Classic (4th, 6th) / Dana Open (1st)

Meijer LPGA Classic (Blythefield Country Club)

With its mix of tight and more generous driving holes, along with the slow, raised poa/bentgrass mixed greens – all of which is protected by thick Kentucky bluegrass rough – Blythefield Country Club looks a useful comp for this week’s tournament.

Notable correlating form:

Anna Nordqvist:

Shoprite Classic (1st, 1st) / Meijer Classic (4th, 5th)

Annie Park:

Shoprite Classic (1st) / Meijer Classic (7th)

Brittany Lincicome:

Shoprite Classic (1st) / Meijer Classic (7th)

Jennifer Kupcho:

Shoprite Classic (2nd) / Meijer Classic (1st)

Haru Nomura:

Shoprite Classic (2nd) / Meijer Classic (4th)

Gerina Mendoza:

Shoprite Classic (3rd, 5th, 5th) / Meijer Classic (2nd)

Nasa Hataoka:

Shoprite Classic (4th, 6th) / Meijer Classic (2nd)

Su Oh:

Shoprite Classic (5th, 7th) / Meijer Classic (2nd, 4th)

Mizuho Americas Open (Liberty National Golf Club)

Liberty National was designed by the 1998 renovator of Seaview’s Bay Course, Bob Cupp and is also based in New Jersey. This flat, exposed course is somewhat links-like itself, with elevated bentgrass greens and similar tall fescue/bluegrass rough for protection.

Notable correlating form:

Ashleigh Buhai:

Shoprite Classic (1st) / Mizuho Americas Open (7th)

Jennifer Kupcho:

Shoprite Classic (2nd) / Mizuho Americas Open (2nd, 3rd)

Marina Alex:

Shoprite Classic (3rd, 6th, 8th) / Mizuho Americas Open (7th)

Atthaya Thitikul:

Shoprite Classic (6th) / Mizuho Americas Open (7th)

Kroger Queen City Championship (Kenwood Country Club)

The tree-lined yet spacious Kenwood Country Club has slow and similarly-sized poa/bentgrass mixed greens, strong bunkering and bluegrass/fescue rough.

Notable correlating form:

Mel Reid:

Shoprite Classic (1st) / Kroger Queen (5th)

Jeongeun Lee6:

Shoprite Classic (2nd) / Kroger Queen (4th)

Marina Alex:

Shoprite Classic (3rd, 6th, 8th) / Kroger Queen (5th)

Maria Fassi:

Shoprite Classic (5th) / Kroger Queen (3rd)

Women’s Open

Finally we have seen many Women’s Open performers contend/win here at Seaview due to the links-like nature of the course. Therefore, we can also look at editions of the Women’s Open that have taken place on links courses.

Notable correlating form:

Anna Nordqvist:

Shoprite Classic (1st, 1st) / Women’s Open (1st)

Ashleigh Buhai:

Shoprite Classic (1st) / Women’s Open (1st)

I K Kim:

Shoprite Classic (1st) / Women’s Open (1st)

Celine Boutier:

Shoprite Classic (1st) / Women’s Open (7th)

Jodi Ewart Shadoff:

Shoprite Classic (3rd, 7th, 8th) / Women’s Open (2nd)

Nanna Madsen:

Shoprite Classic (4th) / Women’s Open (5th)

THE FIELD

Hannah Green is the top-ranked player in this week’s field at #5, closely followed by last week’s US Women’s Open winner, Yuka Saso at #6; with world #7, Jin Young Ko rounding out the group of three players from inside the world’s top-10. There are just a further 10 from the world’s top-50, highlighting the lack of depth in this week’s field.

Among those in the top-50 is defending champion, Ashleigh Buhai, who is one of eight former winners in attendance, along with: Brooke Henderson (2022), Annie Park (2018), In-Kyung Kim (2017), Anna Nordqvist (2016, 2015), Stacy Lewis (2014, 2012), Karrie Webb (2013) and Brittany Lincicome (2011).

Four-time LET winner, Alexandra Forsterling will make her fourth regular LPGA appearance of the season; talented Thai youngster, Natthakritta Vongtaveelap makes her first start on tour in 11 weeks; and watch out for a pair of high-class American amateurs, in the shape of world #8 Rachel Kuehn and 16-year-old Gianna Clemente, who currently sits at #21 in the WAGR.

SELECTIONS

Shoprite LPGA Classic Odds

*Please click on the link above to be taken to the main Shoprite LPGA Classic market on betfred.com (or app) for all the live betting prices on this tournament.

Market leaders: Atthaya Thitikul 8/1, Hannah Green 11/1, Ayaka Furue 12/1, Jin Young Ko 14/1, Brooke Henderson 16/1, Yuka Saso 18/1

This week’s event looks wide open, no doubt aided by the absence of Nelly Korda. You can make strong cases for just about everyone near the top of the betting, though after finally finding her stride in her rookie season, I’m taking Korean star, Jin Hee Im to claim a first LPGA title this week.

2 pts Jin Hee Im each-way (1/4 - 5 places) - 22/1 

Im had become one of the strongest players on the KLPGA in recent years, winning four events on the tour in 2023. She then headed to the LPGA Q-Series at the end of the year, where a 17th-place finish earned this rising star a first go at the LPGA in 2024.

After missing the cut on her first start of the season in the LPGA Drive On Championship, she hasn’t missed another over her next six starts on the LPGA, and comes into this week with four top-20s in her last four starts. This includes finishes of 8th in the Chevron Championship and 12th in the US Women’s Open last week – the first two majors of the season.

Im’s game looks a good fit for this challenge. Following a poor performance in that opening start of the year, she hasn’t missed a beat with her irons and ranks 20th in approach this season, as well as 14th in greens-in-regulation. Her short game has also been a major asset, ranking 11th in scrambling and 24th on the greens.

Debutants haven’t fared too well in recent years, though this is far from a full-strength field and with Im’s career progress the last few years, she looks to have the potential to become a star at this level and can claim a first LPGA title at a suitable setup this week.

1.5 pts Megan Khang each way (1/4 - 5 places) - 30/1

After a positive start to the year Megan Khang hasn’t quite kicked on, but she’s still been hitting the ball well. She should appreciate this return to a course where her lack of length isn’t much of an issue and at which she can let her elite approach play do the talking.

Khang finished 13th or better in four of her first five starts of the year, including a 3rd-place finish in the LPGA Drive On Championship. Her results haven’t been quite as impressive over her most recent starts, though she did play well when 14th in the Mizuho Americas Open two starts ago, where she was the second-best player in the field tee-to-green.

That shouldn’t come as a surprise as she ranks 1st on tour this season overall T2G, though it’s with her approach play that she truly excels, ranking 3rd and is also 12th in GIR.

Khang has limited starts here, though did record her best ever finish at the event when 13th in 2020. A runner-up finish in the Dana Open is an indication that she can improve on that and I fancy her to do so this week.

1 pt Ashleigh Buhai each way (1/4 - 5 places) - 45/1 

Ashleigh Buhai won this as an 18/1 shot last year and though not quite in the same form, she’s looked perfectly solid this year, and looks well worth chancing at more than twice the price this time around.

Buhai has missed just two cuts in 10 starts in 2024 and recorded four top-25s, though as yet has managed only the one top-10. Which came in the Saudi Ladies International on her second start of the year.

Her game so far has been reminiscent of the qualities that have taken her to the best results of her career in recent years. She excels with her approach play, ranking 22nd and leads the tour in proximity from 50yds+. Whilst she’s also looked strong around-the-greens, ranking 27th. The putter is again the biggest concern, though it is worth noting that she has produced two of her best putting performances of the season in her last two starts.

Buhai had previously recorded two top-10s at Seaview before winning last year, a week she entered as the reigning Women’s Open champion after her win at Muirfield in 2022. Her 7th and 21st-place finishes in two starts at Liberty National show a player who is comfortable in New Jersey and I think she looks a great price to retain her title this week.

1 pt Yan Liu each way (1/4 - 5 places) - 70/1

Chinese golfer, Yan Liu enjoyed the highlight of her rookie season here at Seaview in 2023, finishing 3rd. She has started 2024 showing much more consistency and looks a player capable of winning at this level, something she can prove this week.

Liu showed promise at the start of the year, finishing 15th in the Blue Bay LPGA. After some slightly less impressive performances following that, she has looked excellent over her last four starts, recording three top-25s and enters this week off the back of claiming the first major top-20 of her career last week, finishing 19th in the US Women’s Open.

She’s one of the biggest hitters on tour and the driver can be a real weapon, though as with last year it is with the putter she excels most, ranking 11th on tour this season. Her irons wouldn’t necessarily be described as an asset, although, she did produce her second-best approach display of the year here last year – where her driving ability can reduce many of these holes to a pitch - and comes here after firing her second-best approach performance of 2024 last week.

Liu opened with a 6-under 65 here last year to sit 2nd after round one and following further rounds of 70 and 67, recorded that 3rd-place finish. It was a superb effort on debut amidst an otherwise disappointing year of results and looking much better this year, I see no reason why she can’t repeat or even better that effort this week.

0.5 pts Morgane Metraux each way (1/4 - 5 places) - 350/1

Morgane Metraux was an impressive winner of the Jabra Ladies Open two weeks ago on the LET and now back on the LPGA, the Swiss golfer looks a huge price to make an LPGA breakthrough at a course where she’s previously performed well.

Metraux had a difficult start to the season though following five straight missed cuts, she did find something two starts ago at the Mizuho Americas Open, finishing 41st the week prior to her LET victory.

That was an event in which she produced both her best approach and putting performances of the year, ranking top-20 in each area and it is typically these areas in which she looks strongest. Especially with her irons, ranking 23rd in proximity and top-50 in approach this season. Which should all make her a good fit for this challenge.

Metraux indeed showed this on debut in 2022, finishing 12th, whilst two top-10s in two starts in the Kroger Queen City Championship also read well, and as a former top-25 amateur, she certainly has the pedigree to transfer her LET winning ability to the LPGA.

You can find all Jamie's latest Golf Betting Tips over on our dedicated golf Insights hub.

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