Bank of Hope Founders Cup
Round 4 - Nordqvist wins Founders CupMarch 19, 2017
Anna Nordqvist has won the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, her first title of the season and her seventh career win.
Nordqvist was the overnight leader, two strokes ahead of Ariya Jutanugarn and Stacy Lewis, and finished with a 4-under 68 capping off a very successful tournament where she played one eagle, 26 birdies and three bogeys for a 25-under par total.
Winning in front of her hometown crowd was a bonus.
“Yeah, I mean, of all the wins probably of the ones that's going to be more special. Like if it wouldn't be for me getting an opportunity to come to Arizona State University about ten years ago, I wouldn't be here today,” said Nordqvist. “This truly still feels like home, even though I'm based in Florida.
I have so many friends and family here. They feel like family, my U.S. family. You know, couldn't think of a better place to be. I'm just so happy to be back. I wasn't even going to play a couple weeks and just ended up adding it last minute. Maybe it was meant to be.”
In Gee Chun, Ariya Jutanugarn and Stacy Lewis came in second, two shots behind Nordqvist, at 23-under par.
Three Americans post top-10 finishes
In the first LPGA event on U.S. soil of the 2017 season, three Americans finished inside the top-10 - Stacy Lewis (T2, -23), Lizette Salas (T10, -19) and Jessica Korda (T10, -19).
Stacy Lewis finished two-back of Nordqvist as a co-runner up in her best finish since earning a runner-up at the 2016 Cambia Portland Classic.
Lizette Salas earned her second top-10 of the 2017 season - she had zero finishes in the top-10 all of last season.
Jessica Korda carded her first top-10 finish of the season - Korda hasn’t finished worse than T16 in four starts this year.
The 2017 LPGA season features two pairs of sisters: Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn and Jessica and Nelly Korda. The Jutanugarn sisters finished inside the top-8, led by five-time LPGA winner Ariya (T2, -23) while Moriya was close behind tied for eighth (-20). The Kordas also finished inside the top-20 led by four-time LPGA winner Jessica who tied for 10th (-19), while 2017 rookie Nelly finished T19 (-17).
Another runner-up for Lewis
Stacy Lewis finished tied for second with In Gee Chun and Ariya Jutanugarn, a familiar place for Lewis since her last victory at the 2014 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. Lewis has made 63 starts in that time frame and finished tied or solo second 13 times, while she’s been the runner-up 24 times in her nine-year career.
“Hit a lot good shots and didn’t quite get rewarded for them,” Lewis said. I played well. Hard to be too upset.”
CME Group Cares weekend update
Players scored 15 eagles over the weekend at the 2017 Bank of Hope Founders Cup, raising $15,000 for charity. This brings the total to 62 eagles on the year, which translates to $62,000 dollars raised.
Tournament winner Anna Nordqvist’s -25 (263) matches her career-low tournament score to par which she’s shot twice before, most recently at the 2017 Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic where she placed third
With her seventh career win, Anna Nordqvist ties Helen Alfredsson for the third most LPGA wins by a Swedish player all-time - only Liselotte Newman (13) and Annika Sorenstam (72) have more
Anna Nordqvist went to Arizona State where she was named 2007 National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) Freshman of the Year, 2007 Pacific Athletic Conference (Pac-10) Player of the Year, Newcomer of the Year and co-champion, and also earned back-to-back NGCA First-Team All-American and Academic All-American honors in 2007-08. In 2008, she was named to the Pac-10 First Team and All-Academic Second Team
2016 Rolex Player of the Year and Race to CME Globe winner Ariya Jutanugarn finished as the runner-up for the second consecutive tournament, she has now finished in the top-8 in the last four tournaments
Ariya Jutanugarn’s -23 (265) matches her career-best tournament score in relation to par which she shot at the 2016 Canadian Pacific Women’s Open, the site of her last win
2016 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year In Gee Chun’s -23 (265) is her career-best tournament score to par, her previous best mark was -21 (263) at the 2016 Evian Championship where she took home her second major championship win and set a new major championship record - male or female - for 72-hole score in relation to par.
Ha Na Jang made headlines Friday by acing the par-3 17th hole to win a brand new 2017 Kia, and today it was Gerina Piller with a hole-in-one on the par-3 14th hole from 186 yards, for her second-career ace
This week’s Bank of Hope Founders Cup kicks off a stretch of five consecutive tournaments in the United States, next stop: Carlsbad, California for the Kia Classic (March 23-26) where World No. 1 Lydia Ko will defend her title after a T8 finish in Phoenix
“You know what? I wish I could give you an exact answer. I like the challenge of getting better and playing.
I don’t know if that makes sense, but I really enjoy playing golf. I really enjoy practicing and I really enjoy working on my game, especially when you have days like this where things come together and it works out.
Just got to learn how to put the four rounds together again. I really like the direction I’m going.”
- Juli Inkster on what keeps her going, she finished T24 (-16, 272)
Round 3 - Nordqvist sets new tournament recordMarch 18, 2017
Anna Nordqvist has taken the lead in Arizona with an 11-under par round that set a new tournament course record of 61, beating the previous 62 set in 2016. This equals the career low round she shot at the 2013 Mobile Bay LPGA Classic.
Ariya Jutanugarn and Stacy Lewis lie in second place two shots behind.
Americans look for second title of season
Americans make up four of the ten players that are within five shots of the lead at T7 or better.
Players currently T7 or better on the leaderboard have combined for 59 LPGA wins. Rookies Nelly Korda and Angel Yin along with Vicky Hurst are aiming for their first career victory.
Anna Nordqvist’s third round 61 ranks among the best 18-hole scores in relation to par in LPGA history.
Anna Nordqvist - Lowest career rounds
61, Round 3, 2017 Bank of Hope Founders Cup
18 Holes in relation to par (All-time LPGA records)
-13 (59) Annika Sorenstam, Moon Valley Country Club, Phoenix, Ariz., second round, 2001 Standard Register PING, par 72
With the low scores being posted through three rounds the LPGA all-time scoring record in relation to par, 27-under set by Annika Sorenstam at the 2001 Standard Register Ping and matched by Sei Young Kim at the 2016 JTBC Founders Cup, could be threatened.
72 Hole in relation to par
-27, 261 (63-66-70-62) Sei Young Kim, Wildfire Golf Club, Phoenix, Ariz., 2016 JTBC Founders Cup, par 72
Hall of Fame matchup
LPGA Tour Hall of Famers Nancy Lopez, Patty Sheehan, Pat Bradley and Betsy King got the competitive juices flowing on Saturday. The foursome split into pairs and played a two-person scramble on the front nine at Wildfire Golf Club once the leaders made the turn. In the end, it was King and Bradley that emerged victorious over Lopez and Sheehan.
The Bank of Hope Founders Cup was created in 2011 to honor the 13 women who started the LPGA. Three of the original LPGA founders, Marilynn Smith, Shirley Spork and Marlene Hagge Vossler, are in attendance this week sitting on the “Founders Perch” on the 18th green.
“You couldn’t find many people that would love sitting on a hole for four or five hours, but they do,” Stacy Lewis talking about the Founders Perch.
“They love seeing all the players that come through,” Stacy said. “The current players get to know the founders and get to know their stories and what they did to make this tour what it is. That’s really what this week is about.”
Anna Nordqvist is the only LPGA player to have multiple rounds of 61 in her career (twice). Only 13 other players have ever posted a round of 61, with only four players recording a round of 60 and just one player shooting 59 (Annika Sorenstam)
Anna Nordqvist’s 54-hole score of -21 (195) is also a 54-hole tournament course record, the previous 54-hole tournament record was -19 (197) recorded by Ai Miyazato in 2013
Five of Anna Nordqvist’s six LPGA wins have come when she has held a share of the third-round lead, including her last win at the 2016 ShopRite LPGA Classic
Anna Nordqvist’s 11-under 61 is the lowest round on Tour since Lexi Thompson shot a 12-under 61 on the par 73 layout at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic
The top two players in the Rolex Rankings, Ariya Jutanugarn and Lydia Ko, are the only players inside the top-20 to go bogey-free through the first three rounds. Jutanugarn and Ko combine for 19 LPGA tournament titles
Three times in Bank of Hope Founders Cup history the third-round leader/co-leader has held on to win the tournament (Karrie Webb, 2011; Yani Tseng, 2012; Hyo Joo Kim, 2015), while three times the third-round leader/co-leader has finished as the runner-up
“Hopefully she doesn’t get sick of me.”
- 2017 LPGA rookie Nelly Korda (T7, -16) on life on Tour alongside sister and four-time LPGA winner Jessica (T21, -13)
Round 2 - Jutanugarn and Lewis edging ahead in Founders CupMarch 17, 2017
Ariya Jutanugarn and Stacy Lewis have edged ahead of a tight leaderboard at 13-under par. Jeong Eun Lee, Mi Jung Hur, Michelle Wie and Vicky Hurst sit one behind at 12-under with Inbee Park, Chella Choi, Sung Hyun Park, Jessica Korda and In Gee Chun at 11-under.
Jutanugarn played five birdies and no bogeys and only needed 29 putts to finish her round.
“I'm not really worry like who going to be in the leaderboard. I just really wasn't to focus on like what is under my control,” said Jutanugarn. “So tomorrow just go have fun.”
Lewis also played bogey-free and is in a good position to win her first event since 2014.
“I played really solid; today was another good day,” said Lewis. “Didn't have the distance control with my wedges quite dialed in the way I would've liked, but still made a bunch of birdies and shot a good round. It's always hard to follow up a round like yesterday, so happy with the day again.”
Americans at the top
Four American players are within two shots of the lead at T7 or better after Round 2.
Michelle Wie and Vicky Hurst are one-back from the leaders at 12-under. Through two rounds, Wie has shot 11-under on the front 9, while the back 9 has held her back from the lead with three bogeys through two days. Hurst finished her bogey-free round with birdies on 17 and 18.
The sister duo of Jessica (-11) and Nelly Korda (-8) remain in the hunt in their second event playing alongside each other this year.
Record-breaking cut line
74 players were 5-under par or better through two rounds, marking the lowest cut line in LPGA Tour history which bested the previous low of 4-under par at the 2015 Manulife LPGA Classic. Last year’s Founders Cup tied the second-lowest cut in LPGA history at the time.
Low 36-hole cuts (LPGA history):
Notable players to miss the cut include Lexi Thompson (-4), Cristie Kerr (-4), Cheyenne Woods (-3), Suzann Pettersen (-3) and Minjee Lee (-3).
World No. 1 Lydia Ko sits six back of the lead at 7-under par. Monday qualifier Kaylin Yost (-6) made it to the weekend in her first career LPGA start. Amateur sponsor invite Hannah O’Sullivan missed the cut at 2-over par.
Co-leader Ariya Jutanugarn’s pre-shot routine involves smiling, a suggestion from her mental coaches at Vision 54 to keep her calm and focused, Jutanugarn played a bogey-free round today while Pia Nilsson and Lynn Mariott were in attendance cheering her on.
“It means a lot,” Jutanugarn said. “They been help me for like one year. Like one year anniversary this year this tournament. They help me a lot like to keep me more positive and I learn what I have to do on the course.”
Since utilizing the Vision 54 team, Jutanugarn has won five tournaments, became the first player (male or female) from Thailand to win a major championship and earned Rolex Player of the Year while also winning last year’s Race to the CME Globe.
Ha Na Jang and Mi Hyang Lee may each have found a new favorite holiday in St. Patrick’s Day.
Jang, whose nicknames include “Lucky” and “Clover Girl” had a hole-in-one using a nine iron on the 140-yard 17th hole at Wildfire Golf Club on Friday. For the feat, Jang finds the Pot-o-Kia – winning a 2017 Kia Cadenza SXL.
“Oh, my goodness. I’m so happy, more than happy,” Jang said after her round. “And I have a car. Oh, my God, that one is mine. I’m so happy.”
Jang is the second LPGA player to hit a hole-in-one this season, after Brittany Lincicome hit one in Rd. 2 on her way to a win at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic.
Two of Lee’s best career rounds have come on St. Patty’s. In 2016, she fired her lowest career round and set a new tournament course record with an opening round 10-under 62. Her 65 in Friday’s second round matches the third best score of her career (second time shooting 65).
In six appearances, Stacy Lewis has never finished outside of the top-30 at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, with a win in 2013 and four top-10 finishes.
Stacy Lewis added the TaylorMade Itsy Bitsy putter to her bag during the offseason which is used by the likes of Jason Day and Dustin Johnson.
Stacy Lewis, an 11-time LPGA winner, is looking for her first win since the 2014 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship - she has 11 runner-up finishes since her last victory.
Ariya Jutanugarn’s lowest career tournament score to par is 23-under at the 2016 Canadian Pacific Women’s Open, the site of her most recent and fifth career LPGA title.
Ariya Jutanugarn has five wins in her last 22 LPGA starts heading into this week.
Through two rounds Michelle Wie is 11-under on the front 9 (Palmer Course) while Stacy Lewis is -10 on the front 9 at the Wildfire Golf Club.
Ha Na Jang’s last hole-in-one made headlines as she became the first player in LPGA Tour history to score an ace on a par-4, which she did on the 8th hole at the 2016 Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic - she went on to finish T11.
Two-time LPGA winner Mi Jung Hur, the 2016 Bank of Hope Founders Cup runner-up, turned in a bogey-free scorecard for the second straight day to sit one-back from the lead.
Jeong Eun Lee used a stretch of four consecutive birdies (holes 14-17) to card a career-low round of 64 - in 13 career LPGA starts she has one top-10 finish (2006 Mizuno Classic).
Players currently T7 or better on the leaderboard have combined for 47 LPGA wins, while Jeong Eun Lee, Karine Icher and Sung Hyun Park are the only players T7 or better without a tournament victory.
“Feels like home to me. It’s nice being in this position again.”
- Michelle Wie when asked if she’s comfortable being in contention again
“It was a little bit different for me. I really enjoyed it. It was really fun to see how excited the people are.”
- Iceland LPGA rookie Olafia Kristinsdottir who made in her first start in an LPGA event in the United States this week
Round 1 - Five-way tie in Founders CupMarch 16, 2017
Katie Burnett, Sandra Changkija, In Gee Chun, Ariya Jutanugarn and Stacy Lewis are currently tied for the lead at 8-under 64 in Arizona.
Stacy Lewis got off to a good start with a birdie on the first hole leading to a front nine 29 and finished with a single bogey. Lewis has finished in the top 5 in this event every year for the past four years, and won it in 2013. Her season so far is going well and a win here would be her first since 2014.
“Got off to a great start. That was the beginning,” said Lewis. “Just making some putts early; hitting a lot of good shots, and great putt on 8; 9 was awesome. The 9-iron was perfect in the air. Nice to see it go in.
You kind of start thinking a little bit about what you're shooting at that point but just tried to keep hitting good shots. I did that, for the most part, most of the day. If you'd tell me at the beginning of the day I would shoot 8-under, I would take it anytime.”
Ariya Jutanugarn had a bogey-free round for a share of the lead.
“I feel pretty good. I mean, I feel good because I try to work on my commitment today and it's come out pretty good,” said Jutanugarn. “I miss few putt, too. I just make a pretty long putt like twice today.”
Players had to contend with the temperature nearing 90 degrees all day and it will stay in the high 80s to low 90s all weekend.
Americans at the top
Nine American players are within two shots of the lead at T11 or better after Round 1.
United States 2017 Solheim Cup Captain Juli Inkster (-7) is fresh off of her fourth Legends Tour win after repeating at the Walgreens Charity Championship two weeks ago at Grandview Golf Course in Sun City West, AZ.
The sister duo of Jessica (-5) and Nelly Korda (-6) are in the hunt in their second event playing alongside each other this year.
Michelle Wie's resurgence
For a second consecutive event, Michelle Wie has positioned herself near the top of the leaderboard as she sits just one shot off of the first-round lead in Phoenix. Wie held a two-shot lead going into the final round at the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore but ultimately would finish tied for fourth.
“I was really disappointed on Sunday,” said Wie. “I was sad. It definitely stung. You always want to win. At the same time, I played great on Sunday. Just couple putts didn’t go in, and I forgot you hit it further when you get adrenaline going. Every experience you get you learn from it, and I learned a lot from it. Hopefully I use the experience here in the upcoming events.”
Inspirational Kaylin Yost in the hunt
Maryland native Kaylin Yost scored a -6 (66) in the Monday qualifier to earn a spot in the Bank of Hope Founders Cup where she posted an impressive -5 (67) during Wednesday’s first round. Yost is playing in her first LPGA event and she’s resolved to not get ahead of herself, “Game plan? Get some food -- just kidding. I think just taking one shot at the time. Staying in the moment. I don’t want to get too ahead of myself. Today does put me in a good position to get into the weekend.”
Yost has had to overcome difficulties in her life - after being born with dislocated hips doctors said she’d never be able to walk, and after two major hip operations she had a full body cast for 16 months. If that wasn’t enough, at two years old her parents found out Kaylin was hearing impaired in both ears and she’s been wearing hearing aids ever since. For the first time in her career, Yost will be representing USA for the Deaf Olympics in Turkey this Summer.
2013 Founders Cup champion Stacy Lewis holds a share of the first-round lead for the 17th time in her career, one of which she held on to win (2012 ShopRite Classic).
Stacy Lewis, an 11-time LPGA winner, is looking for her first win since the 2014 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship - she has 11 runner-up finishes since her last victory.
In 2016, Ariya Jutanugarn became the first player in Tour history to have the first three wins of her career come in consecutive tournaments (Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic, Kingsmill Championship, Volvik Championship). She is also the first player since Inbee Park in 2013 to win three LPGA tournaments in a row.
Reigning Rolex Player of the Year Ariya Jutanugarn has posted three consecutive top-8 finishes, and her round of -8 (64) is her lowest in relation to par since the 2016 Reignwood LPGA Classic in September.
Two-time major champion World No. 4 In Gee Chun is in unfamiliar territory - making just her second Founders Cup start, she shares the lead at 8-under marking the first time she has at least a share of the lead after the first round.
In Gee Chun set a new major championship record - male or female - for 72-hole score in relation to par with her four-day total of 21-under par at the 2016 Evian Championship. Chun also broke the LPGA major championship 72 hole scoring record previously set by Betsy King (267, 1992 LPGA Championship) with her four-day total of 263.
In 2016 at 22 years old, In Gee Chun became the first rookie to win the Vare Trophy since Nancy Lopez in 1978.
Sandra Changkija (-8) matched her career-low round in relation to par, which was at the par-71 2012 Manulife LPGA Classic where she shot an 8-under 63 to collect one of just two career top-10 finishes.
Sandra Changkija enjoyed a successful collegiate career at Nova Southeastern University where she where she recorded 16 wins, was a four-time NGCAA Division II Player of the Year (2008-2011), four-time Division II All-American First-Team selection (2008-2011), and was the 2010-11 Sunshine State Conference Female Athlete of the Year. Changkija helped her team to the 2010 National Championship and won the 2010 individual National Title at Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, AZ.
American Katie Burnett birdied 18 to join the leaders at -8 (64), tying her career-low round which she used to finish T16 at the 2017 Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic
“No, I don’t think I need it.”
- Ariya Jutanugarn when asked if she had a driver in the bag on Thursday - she averaged 289 yards off the tee on Thursday, which ranks 11th in the field
Kim ready to dedend
At the 2016 Bank of Hope Founders Cup, Sei Young Kim finished at 27-under par, matching the LPGA’s low 72-hole scoring record in relation to par set by Annika Sorenstam in 2001. Kim also set a new tournament scoring record with the help of a final-round 10-under par, 62, and thinks the Wildfire Golf Club plays to her strengths, “This course is pretty dry, and if I hit driver, little farther than other course. If I take advantage of par-5, reach green in two, which gives eagle or birdie, it’s easily make the lower score.”
The defending Founders Cup champion, five-time LPGA winner, five-time KLPGA winner and 2015 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year has big plans for this season, “So one of the my goal is breaking and making the top 3 Rolex Ranking and be consistent more.”
Bank of Hope begins title sponsor tenure
2017 marks the first year with Bank of Hope as the title sponsor of the Founders Cup.
Bank of Hope CEO Kevin Kim: “When the opportunity to become the title sponsor of Founders Cup first came up, we saw so many similarities and shared values with the LPGA that we almost instantly concluded that this is a very nice and natural fit for Bank of Hope. (The) LPGA was founded by 13 visionary women, and today LPGA has grown to be the premier women’s sports organization in the world. LPGA also has maintained a very strong focus on giving back to its communities. Like the LPGA, Bank of Hope was founded by visionaries who saw a need to provide financial and banking services to the very rapidly growing immigrant communities. Today, Bank of Hope is the representative bank of the Asian-American communities in the United States. We also have maintained strong ties with our communities through mutually beneficial relationships.”
Not her first rodeao
Sponsor invite and Chandler, Arizona native Hannah O’Sullivan is the only amateur in the 2017 Bank of Hope Founders Cup field and she is ready to play again in front of her hometown crowd (T33 in 2016), “I’m so excited to be here and have this opportunity to play so close to home again this year,” O’Sullivan said. “So thankful to the Bank of Hope and the LPGA for giving me this opportunity. I’m really looking forward to getting it all started on Thursday. I’ve had a lot of fun preparing, and the atmosphere is amazing, to see support from some of my friends and feel and the crowd is so supportive as well.”
Defending champion Sei Young Kim has competed in three events this season (did not play ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open) and posted a season-best third place finish at the Honda LPGA Thailand
In 2016, Kim captured two wins (Founders Cup, Meijer LPGA Classic For Simply Give) and recorded seven additional top-10 finishes, including two runner-ups
Kim has ranked in the top-10 in driving distance every year since joining the Tour, and ranks second thru four events in 2017
Hannah O’Sullivan, a Duke University commit, has made 9 career LPGA starts, making 5 cuts with a career-best T33 finish at the 2016 Founders Cup
As the 2015 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion O’Sullivan competed and made the cuts at the 2016 ANA Inspiration and the U.S. Women’s Open conducted by the USGA, and in June represented the U.S. at the Curtis Cup
O’Sullivan became the youngest player to win on the Symetra Tour, at age 16 in the Gateway Classic, breaking a 20-year-old Symetra Tour record set by Cristie Kerr in 1995, by firing a 3-under 69 with a three-day score of 15-under 201
The Bank of Hope Founders Cup was created in 2011 to honor the 13 women who started the LPGA. Three of the original LPGA founders will be in attendance at the tournament: Marilynn Smith, Shirley Spork and Marlene Hagge Vossler, while 89-year-old Spork will play in Wednesday’s Pro-Am.
“I just had couple holes with Marilyn Smith on the course today,” said Inbee Park. “Obviously she looked really healthy as well. I know the Founders done a lot of things for us, that we are here because of the founders. I had great time with the founders to thank them. She said she loves my swing and putting stroke. It was great to hear something like that from the founders. I was just proud of myself.”
The Bank of Hope Founders Cup has a strong charitable component that speaks to its roots, helping to raise more than $3 million for the LPGA*USGA Girls Golf Program. Throughout its 20-year history, Girls Golf has empowered a total of more than 300,000 girls through golf — now impacting 60,000 more young women each year through more than 380 Girls Golf programs.
Honoring Stacy and Post as pioneers
Each year, Bank of Hope Founders Cup celebrates “Pioneers” of the LPGA, honoring their trailblazing spirit as well as their exemplary participation in the development and advancement of the LPGA Tour and women’s golf. This year, Sandra Post and Hollis Stacy are being honored.
Post is an eight-time LPGA winner/major champion, and in 1979 she was named Canada’s Female Athlete of the Year, and the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s Outstanding Athlete of the Year. In her rookie season in 1968, she won the LPGA Championship for her first career victory defeating Kathy Whitworth in a playoff at age 19 and was also named Rookie of the Year. A native Canadian, Post won both the Ontario and Canadian Junior Championships three times each.
Stacy won four major championships in her 26-year career, including three U.S. Women’s Opens - she’s one of six women to have claimed the title three or more times. In total, she won 18 LPGA titles, six of which came in playoffs. From 1977 to 1983, Stacy recorded 82 top-10 finishes on the LPGA Tour. She was recognized during the LPGA’s 50th Anniversary in 2000 as one of the LPGA’s top-50 players and teachers and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2012.
Ko ready to go
World No. 1 Lydia Ko is excited to begin the U.S. swing, a stretch last year where she finished as the Founders Cup runner-up and won the next two tournaments, including her second major championship at the ANA Inspiration.
“I think it’s always nice to be back to a place where you’ve played well,” Ko said. “It brings back a lot of good memories. Like I said earlier, this tournament is great because it celebrates us players and the founders who really started the LPGA, and then the generations coming up with the Girls’ Golf.”
Thompson leads American charge
Lexi Thompson is the top-ranked American in the field at No. 7 in the world as the LPGA Tour plays on U.S. for the first time in 2017. Changes in Thompson’s game, specifically her putting, have attributed to a fast start for the 21-year-old who ranks 18th on Tour in putts per GIR (49th in 2016) and 57th in putting average (139th in 2016).
“I’m hitting it a lot more consistent and just trying to have a nice good tempo swing, 70%, 80% . Then I changed a lot in my putting. Moved a lot closer and got my eye more over the line, and it’s been helping me out a lot.”
Thompson has top- 4 finishes in two of her first three start and is looking for her first win since the 2016 Honda LPGA Thailand.
Solheim on the mind
Brittany Lincicome told the media Wednesday her goal for the 2017 season is to make the Solheim Cup. Entering the season she was 15th in Team USA standings, but with a win in the season-opening Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic and a top-15 finish at the Honda LPGA Thailand she’s moved all the way up to sixth (top eight players automatically qualify).
Lincicome’s kept her eye on the standings this year, something she typically doesn’t pay attention to, “Would like to just keep going a little bit further each week,” Lincicome said. “Normally I never would look, but this year I’ve looked. I think it was Angela (Stanford) at one point. I was like, Okay, I just need to pass Angela. Then it was (Jessica) Korda. Just need to keep passing the next person to make sure I make the team. I’ve been a part of five already, and I would hate to miss being on another team.”
Park back in form
LPGA Tour Hall of Famer Inbee Park has already made her presence felt in her return to playing on the LPGA Tour full-time, winning at the HSBC Women’s Champions for her 18th career victory.
Park, who became the only player with multiple wins at the event, wasn’t expecting to get back into the winner’s circle so quickly in just her second start since winning Olympic Gold in Rio.
“That win was a little bit of a surprise to me as well. I thought I might take a little bit longer. I wasn’t pushing myself at all. I was just really happy that I’m playing again, healthy again and playing tournaments.
Changing the face of the game
As Girls Golf continues to ride a remarkably strong surge of growth in the United States, the LPGA launched a “Changing the Face of the Game” campaign ahead of this week’s Bank of Hope Founders Cup. Follow the link to read more about the campaign and the growth of Girls Golf: http://www.lpga.com/news/2017-lpga-launches-changing-the-face-of-the-game-campaign
Over the last 20 years, the growth of girls’ golf in the U.S. has far outpaced that of the boys. In 1995, girls made up only 17% of all junior golfers -- today they total one third, according to the National Golf Foundation.
Henderson gets hockey support
Brooke Henderson’s fan following continues to grow - on Wednesday, the 19-year-old was supported by fellow Canadian and Arizona Coyotes left wing Brenden Perlini. Perlini gave the Henderson family tickets to see her favorite team, the Ottawa Senators, face off against the Coyotes last Thursday and he managed to score a goal in front of his favorite LPGA golfer.
“I just heard she was at the game other night, and obviously just kind of wanted to come out today and watch her play,” said Perlini. “Obviously being Canadian, she’s obviously huge for the sport in Canada.”
Remembering Arnold Palmer
“I actually got meet The King, Mr. Palmer, at the Masters last year. He was always -- I think the name The King is so perfectly suited for him because he was a people’s man. No matter his good day or bad days, he was always there to support the fans that came out, the volunteers, his fellow players. That was what made him him. Even though he was such an incredible, amazing player, he was so approachable, I think. And what he’s done with the hospital to help children, I think it’s great. He’s touched a lot of people all around the world.” - Lydia Ko
“Honestly, just the role model that he is to me as well as a lot of other players. He gave so much back to the game. But obviously the amazing player that he was. I got to meet him. He’s just a genuine person, somebody that we all look up to and want to be like when we get older and have people think of us the way they did about him.” - Lexi Thompson
Hollis Stacy and Sandra Post are being honored as LPGA “Pioneers” honoring their exemplary participation in the development and advancement of the LPGA Tour and women’s golf
Post was the first Canadian to play on the LPGA Tour as a rookie season in 1968, she won the LPGA Championship and was also named Rookie of the Year
Post is an eight-time LPGA winner/major champion, and in 1979 she was named Canada’s Female Athlete of the Year, and the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada’s Outstanding Athlete of the Year
Stacy won four major championships in her 26-year career, including three U.S. Women’s Opens - she’s one of six women to have claimed the title three or more times. In total, she won 18 LPGA titles, six of which came in playoffs.
Stacy is tied with Meg Mallon, Inbee Park and Cristie Kerr with 18 LPGA Tour wins, which ranks 28th all-time for most wins.
Lydia Ko’s last victory came at the 2016 Marathon Classic Presented by Owens Corning and O-I after a four-hole playoff, where Ko outlasted Ariya Jutanugarn and Mirim Lee for her 14th career LPGA win
Ko has spent 73 consecutive weeks at No. 1, only behind Yani Tseng who held the spot for 109 weeks (2011-2013) and Lorena Ochoa who holds the record with 158 consecutive weeks at No. 1 (2007-2010)
Ko finished tied for eighth at the Honda LPGA Thailand for her first top-10 of the season, and posted her second consecutive top-10 finish with a T9 finish at the HSBC Women’s Champions
With two top-5 finishes in 3 events this season, Lexi Thompson leads the Solheim Cup standings for Team USA
Thompson has won an event in each of the past four season, the second longest streak on the LPGA Tour