Sunday, March 12, 2017

Bank of Hope Founders Cup Preview, Pairings, and More

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After a one week break, the LPGA resumes its schedule this week with the playing of the LPGA Founders Cup. This will be the first of 3 consecutive tournaments that will be played on the west coast of the United States, and will include the year's first major championship.

This will be the seventh year for this tournament which had a history of very close finishes until last year when Sei Young Kim's final round 62, was five strokes better than runner-up Lydia Ko. Kim's total of 27 under par 261, tied Annika Soremstam's record for the most strokes under par in LPGA history.

Sei Young Kim will be trying to defend her Founders Cup championship.

This will tournament #5 of 34 on this year's LPGA schedule.

Here are the key details:

Course:  Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriot Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa
Location:  Phoenix, Arizona
Defending Champion:  Sei Young Kim
Winning Score:  63-66-70-62 = 261  (-27)

Final Field:  144 Players

Par:  72
Yardage:  6,538
Purse:  $1,500,000

My strength of field rating is a very strong 82% (same as last year). As always this tournament will be one of the strongest non major fields of the year. Ninety five of the top 100 players from the LPGA Priority List, and twenty of the top 25 players from the Rolex Rankings will be in attendance. Among the missing this week include: Shanshan Feng (#3 in Rolex Rankings), Carlota Ciganda, and Charley Hull.

Here are the first round pairings.

Here are the television times:

Mar 16 - GC 6:00 PM-9:00 PM ET
Mar 17 - GC 6:00 PM-9:00 PM ET
Mar 18 - GC 7:00 PM-9:00 PM ET
Mar 19 - GC 7:00 PM-9:00 PM ET

Players most likely to win: (Top players in the field)
  • Lydia Ko - Still the world #1
  • Ariya Jutanugarn - #2 and narrowing the gap
  • In Gee Chun - #4 ranked player
Players to watch out for: (I'm feeling it this week)
  • Sei Young Kim - The defending champion is always dangerous
  • Stacy Lewis - Always contends here
  • Brooke Henderson - Course fits her game
  • Sung Hyun Park - Because she is always good
Longshot Picks: (Not likely, but not impossible)
  • Jodi Ewart Shadoff - Has been playing the best golf of her career
  • Pornanong Phatlum - Overdue
  • Jessica Korda - Has had three good finishes this year

Other Tidbits:   
Juli Inkster won the Walgreens Charity Classic, which is a 36 hole event on the Legends Tour. 

The Symetra Tour got under way this past weekend woith the playing of the Florida's Natural Charity Classic. Olivia Jordan-Higgins won the event with a 10 under par total. Christine Song and Yu Liu finished one stroke back. Lindsey Weaver finished fourth, just 2 strokes back of the winner.

UPDATE #1 - Augusta James and Kaylin Yost are the Monday local qualifiers.

UPDATE #2 - Mel Reid is no longer on field list, she has been replaced by Stephanie Meadow.
UPDATE #3 - Sydnee Michaels has dropped out. She is replaced by Casey Grice.
UPDATE #4 - Kris Tamulis has withdrawn. She was replaced with Sandra Changjkiya.

Here are the Final Results:
1 Anna Nordqvist -25
2 In Gee Chun -23
2 Stacy Lewis -23
2 Ariya Jutanugarn -23
5 Ha-Na Jang -21
5 Inbee Park -21
5 So Yeon Ryu -21
8 Moriya Jutanugarn -20
8 Lydia Ko -20
10 Jessica Korda -19
10 Lizette Salas -19
10 Caroline Masson -19
13 Brooke Henderson -18
13 Sun Young Yoo -18
13 Sandra Gal -18
13 Mirim Lee -18
13 Sung Hyun Park -18
13 Karine Icher -18

This Week's Trivia Question:

In the history of the LPGA, only two Monday qualifiers went on to win the LPGA event.  Who are they?

Be sure to check back here daily for any LPGA news or updates. They will be posted here at the bottom of this blog.  Links to all Women's Tour scoreboards can be found at the top of this page.

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  1. As always, I enjoyed the tournament preview and I'm looking forward to a good tournament with a great field. I'm sure the players will be happy to tee it up in sunny Arizona not having to worry about rain and thunderstorms. Hopefully we'll have an exciting finish, unlike last year when Sei Young blitzed the field!
    Unfortunately, there's been a field change over the weekend which I don't agree with. Why should Stephanie Meadow (PL148) be bumped from the field for Dame Laura Davies (PL195)? Category 16 players like Stephanie need every official $ they can get to improve their playing status.
    The LPGA/Sponsors should have expanded the field to 145 by adding a 3rd invite to include Dame Laura Davies. If the field couldn't be expanded then either Natalie Gulbis (PL238) or Hannah O'Sullivan (a) should have been bumped for Dame Laura (PL195). Actually, it appears the sponsors didn't say much about the invites this year. Last year it was SHPark and this year it's Natalie.. Maybe something good will happen to Stephanie before tee time on Thursday!

    1. You got your wish. Mel Reid is out and Meadow is in!

    2. Yes, thanks to Mel Reid (I hope she's okay) but now Casey gets left out.. Cat 16 players are very needy you know!

  2. Sydnee Michaels drops out and Casey Grice is in.. Okay girls make it count!