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Memorable Moments of the 2018 LPGA Season

As we wait for the start of the 2019 season, I would like to look back at what I consider the most memorable moments of 2018.

I have narrowed it down to 8, although I know there were many more. This list is very subjective, depending on who your favorite golfers are. A top story for me may be one that someone else might want to forget.

So in reverse order, here we go:

8- Redemption For Lexi Thompson - Wins CME Group Tour Championship
Lexi, who missed a putt inside two feet to blow this championship in 2017, was winless in 2018 coming into this event. This year she made it look easy. She had a three stroke lead entering the final round and never looked back, winning by four strokes over Nelly Korda. Thompson has now won at least one tournament in each of the past six years. No one else on the LPGA has a streak longer than four years.

Image result for Lexi Thompson wins 2018 cme group
Thompson kisses her CME Group Championship trophy.

7- New Tournament Announcements for 2019
 The LPGA recently announced its 2019 schedule. What catches our eyes is the inclusion of three new tournaments that will be very different than anything that the LPGA has previously had on its schedule.

        A) Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions - This field will be made up of winners from the last two LPGA seasons, 45 celebrities and fan favorites, and 10 amateurs. LPGA professional will play 72 holes of stroke play with no cut, while the amateurs will compete using a modified Stableford scoring format. It will be held January 17-20 at the Tranquilo Golf Club at Four Seasons Resort Orlando, in Lake Bueno Vista, Fla.

        B) Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational - This new tournament will be held July 17-20 at the Midland Country Club, in Midland, Michigan. The sponsorship deal with Dow Chemical Company is for five years. The format is similar to the Zurich Classic in New Orleans on the PGA Tour. The tournament, which will have a $2 million purse, will feature 72 two-person teams competing in both foursomes and four-balls. Further details will be announced at the start of the 2019 season.

       C) Vic Open -  LPGA players will be competing alongside the men for an equal purse at the 2019 Vic Open. The event will be held February 4-7 and be co- sanctioned by the LPGA, The European Tour (men's), The ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australia (men's), and the ALPG (women's).

6- Team Korea Wins UL International Crown On Home Soil - For the first time, the UL International Crown was conducted outside the United States, with Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in Incheon, Republic of Korea, hosting the third playing of this event. The crowds were huge, the pressure on the home team was enormous. Team Korea earned its first ULIC victory with 15 points (four better Team USA and Team England). Two years earlier Team USA also won on its home soil, setting up a great match in 2020.

5- Two Pairs of Sisters Record Victories - Coming into the 2018 season, only one sister act (the Sorenstams) had won on the LPGA tour in its long history. It was accomplished twice this season as both Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn, and Jessica and Nelly Korda won in 2018.

Image result for jessica and nelly korda win
Jessica and Nelly Korda were both victorious in 2018.

4- Pernilla Lindberg and Georgia Hall Make Their First LPGA Win a Major Championship - One player was a rookie in 2018 (Hall), the other a nine year veteran (Lindberg). Neither had ever won an LPGA event entering the 2018 season. Lindberg won the ANA Inspiration and Hall the Ricoh Women's British Open, making both their first wins a major championship.

3- Brooke Henderson Wins CP Women's Open - With her whole country watching her, Brooke took a one stroke lead into the final round and eased to a four shot victory. The 20 year old Canadian won for the 7th time, and has had at least one victory in all four years that she has been a member of the LPGA tour. She became the first Canadian to win the women's national championship since Jocelyn Bourassa in 1973. She is now only one victory away from tying Sandra Post for most LPGA wins by a Canadian.

Image result for Brooke henderson wins cp open
Brooke (L) with sister / caddie Brittany after winning the CP Women's Open.

2- Sei Young Kim Shatters LPGA Scoring Record Shooting 31 Under Par - Kim shot rounds of  63, 65, 64, 65 = (-31) at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic, eclipsing the all time record of 27 under par held by Annika Sorenstam and Kim herself. Kim finished the tournament nine shots ahead of runner-up Carlota Ciganda.

Image result for Sei Young kim wins thornberry creek lpga classic
Sei Young Kim holds up her record breaking trophy.
           
1- Ariya Jutanugarn Sweeps Every Major Award  - This one isn't just a memorable moment, it's a memorable season. Ariya Swept all the 2018 season ending awards:
  • She won the Rolex Player of the Year Award 
  • She won the Vare Trophy
  • She won the Official Money Title
  • She won the Annika Major Award
  • She Won the Race to the CME Globe ($1 million bonus)
She also:
  • Tied for the most wins -3
  • Had the most top five finishes -13
  • Had the most top ten finishes -17
  • Had the most birdies - 470 (56 more than the runner-up)
  • Led the tour in putts per greens in regulation - 1.722
Please feel free to add your own favorite moments in the comments section.

This weeks Trivia Question:
How many players successfully defended their 2017 LPGA titles in 2018?

For the answer to this week's trivia question press here.

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