Bank of Hope Founders Cup - R1

Céline Boutier takes opening lead, Na Yeon Choi back from injury

March 21-24
Wildfire Golf Club, Phoenix, Arizona
$1,500,000
Round 2, Round 3, Round 4


Céline Boutier took the lead in Arizona with an 8-under 64, one shot ahead of five players tied in second place. The Frenchwoman won her first LPGA Tour title at the Vic Open in Australia last month.

“It’s definitely made me more confident in my game, my ability to win out here,” Boutier said. “I feel like I was kind of lacking that confidence last year.”

PXG announced Thursday that Boutier had joined its tour staff.

“It’s super exciting because I’ve been playing their clubs a full year now.”.


Na Yeon Choi’s fear about returning following her back injury were put to rest with an opening round of 65. She lies a stroke behind Boutier in second place in her first tournament in eleven months.

“Golf is really funny game. I didn’t expect any good score today because this is first day,” said Choi, the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open champion and nine-time tour winner. “I practice hard, of course, but it’s hard to tell how I’m going to shoot. Less expectation, I think, always give you better result.”

Choi initially tried to play through the back problems before taking the advice of friends Beth Daniel and Meg Mallon.

“I just kept playing golf and my swing got worse and worse and hitting my ball going left and right,” Choi said. “My mentally is like totally broken, so I just need my body get ready first.”

A two-week European break helped clear her mind.

“I didn’t think about golf,” Choi said. “I didn’t set alarm every day, you know. I just wake up whenever I want and I just eat whatever I want. It was different life I think. I think I was kind of robot when I was growing up and then playing golf well in LPGA Tour. I think I was like living in the box. I couldn’t do anything besides golf. Only golf, only golf. Like 100 percent focused on golf.”

When she started playing again, she took it slow and relaxed.

“I try to drink some beer and get a little tipsy and playing golf,” Choi said. “Because we always play golf in serious mode. I just like to play more fun.”

What a whirlwind two weeks it’s been for 2019 LPGA Tour rookie Alana Uriell. On March 10, the University of Arkansas graduate captured the Symetra Tour’s season-opening SKYiGOLF Championship , a win coming in her professional debut. The very next day, she made her way from south Florida to her hometown of Carlsbad, Calif., to participate in Media Day for the Kia Classic. Fast forward to March 21 and Uriell again finds herself right at the top of the leaderboard, this time in a tie for second after 18 holes at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

“I think it’s given me a lot of confidence coming into the LPGA having a win under my belt,” said Uriell, who carded seven birdies in her bogey-free 7-under 65. “I feel a little more at home out here so I don’t mind letting loose and seeing what I’m capable of.”

With 54 holes remaining in the tournament, it is certainly too early to forecast a second victory for Uriell. But should she find herself in the winner’s circle come Sunday, she would become just the third player in LPGA Tour history to earn victory in her Membership debut. The most recent? Uriell’s fellow second-place player Jin Young Ko, who won the 2018 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open in her first event as an LPGA Member.


In celebration of the past, present and future of the game, the LPGA Tour this week unveiled a new brand campaign entitled #DriveOn. As the Tour’s Chief Brand and Communications Officer Roberta Bowman said, “Drive On is clearly rooted in golf, but it’s a bigger idea. It captures the power and potential in each of us and celebrates the hard work, focus, and tenacity that it takes to achieve our goals.”

The Drive On campaign initially launched with a 45-second film celebrating LPGA Tour athletes and all young women with a dream to achieve. Phoenix native and 2019 LPGA rookie Sarah Schmelzel is making her third career LPGA start this week and reflected on the impact the 13 LPGA Founders have had on her career.

“It’s amazing,” she said after getting off to a hot start with a 5-under 67 on Thursday. “What the Founders have done for us is something we can never repay them for, to be able to stand out here and live our dreams and play in front of these grandstands and everything. It’s amazing to see the opposite end of that where we have the LPGA*USGA Girls’ Golf out here and getting to see them and be the media room and everything. I really think it’s good for us and good for golf.”

Player Notes

Rolex Rankings No. 89 Celine Boutier (64)

Boutier’s first-round 64 is the second-lowest round of her LPGA Tour career; she shot a 63 in the third round of the 2018 Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic

This is the first time in Boutier’s LPGA Tour career that she has held the lead following any round, with the exception of her victory at the 2019 ISPS Handa Vic Open

She hit 13 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens

Boutier is in her third season on the LPGA Tour; she became a Rolex First-Time Winner at the 2019 ISPS Handa Vic Open

This is Boutier’s fifth event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; she won the ISPS Handa Vic Open and has two other top-25 finishes

She is competing in her second Bank of Hope Founders Cup; she missed the cut in 2018

She is a 2016 graduate of Duke University with a degree in Psychology and Economics; she was a member of the 2014 NCAA National Championship-winning team

Rolex Rankings No. 9 Jin Young Ko (65)

Ko’s first-round 65 is ties for the second-lowest round of her LPGA Tour career; she has shot 64 three times, including in the fourth round of the 2019 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open

She hit 12 of 14 greens and 14 of 18 fairways

Ko is in her second season on the LPGA Tour; she won the 2018 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, and also won the 2017 LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship as a non-Member

This is Ko’s fourth event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; she finished second at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open and tied for third at the HSBC Women’s World Championship

She is competing in her second Bank of Hope Founders Cup; she finished T46 in 2018

Rolex Rankings No. 486 Na Yeon Choi (65)

Choi’s first-round 65 is her best round since she shot a 64 in the second round of the 2016 ShopRite LPGA Classic

Her first-round 65 is her best round ever at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, besting three rounds of 66 (second and fourth rounds in 2015, third round in 2016)

She hit 13 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens

Choi is in her 12th season on the LPGA Tour; she has nine career victories, including a major win at the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open

Choi missed most of the 2018 LPGA season due to a back injury; this is her first event since a first-round withdrawal from the HUGEL-Air Premia LA Open in April 2018

She is competing in her eighth Bank of Hope Founders Cup; she finished T2 in 2012 and has one other top-10 finish

She was No. 2 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings for 36 weeks in 2012 and 2013

Rolex Rankings No. 258 Charlotte Thomas (65)

Thomas’s first-round 65 is the lowest round of her LPGA Tour career, besting the 68s she shot in the first two rounds of the 2019 ISPS Handa Vic Open

She hit 11 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens

Thomas is a 2019 LPGA Tour rookie; this is her fifth career LPGA Tour event, joining the 2019 ISPS Handa Vic Open and 2017, 2018 and 2019 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Opens

This is Thomas’ third event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; she finished T2 at the ISPS Handa Vic Open

She played on the Symetra Tour in 2017 and 2018, with a best finish of second at the 2018 Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge

She is a 2011 graduate of the University of Washington, with a degree in Mass Communications; she was a member of the 2016 NCAA National Championship-winning team

She was born in England but spent much of her teenage years in Singapore

Rolex Rankings No. 483 Alana Uriell (65)

She hit 10 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens

In her professional debut two weeks ago, Uriell won the Symetra Tour’s 2019 SKYiGOLF Championship on March 10

Uriell is a 2019 LPGA Tour rookie; this is her fourth career LPGA Tour start and first as a professional, joining amateur appearances at the 2016 and 2017 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship and the 2018 Evian Championship

She is a graduate of the University of Arkansas

Rolex Rankings No. 219 Nanna Koerstz Madsen (65)

Madsen’s first-round 65 ties for her second lowest round score of her LPGA Tour career; she has shot 65 two other times at the 2015 Ricoh Women’s British Open, and 2018 CP Women’s Open

She hit 11 of 18 greens and 8 of 14 fairways

Madsen is in her second season on the LPGA Tour; she recorded her career-best finish T15 at the 2018 Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic

This is Madsen’s third event of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; she finished and T27 at the ISPS Handa Vic Open and T38 at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open

She is competing in her second Bank of Hope Founders Cup; she finished T32 in 2018

Quick hits

Xiyu Lin had a hole-in-one at No. 17, from 142 yards with a 9-iron; she wins a two-year lease for a 2019 Ford Ranger pick-up truck and finished the day in a tie for 46th at -2

2019 LPGA rookie Cheyenne Knight qualified for the tournament by firing a 63 in the Monday qualifier; she took advantage of her opportunity to play by shooting a 6-under 66 in Thursday’s opening round


Pos.
Player
To Par
R1
1
Celine Boutier
-8
64
T2
Nanna Koerstz Madsen
-7
65
T2
Alana Uriell
-7
65
T2
Jin Young Ko
-7
65
T2
Na Yeon Choi
-7
65
T2
Charlotte Thomas
-7
65
T7
Sung Hyun Park
-6
66
T7
Pornanong Phatlum
-6
66
T7
Cheyenne Knight
-6
66
T7
Carlota Ciganda
-6
66
T7
Jenny Shin
-6
66
T12
Lydia Ko
-5
67
T12
Brooke M. Henderson
-5
67
T12
Angel Yin
-5
67
T12
Sarah Schmelzel
-5
67
T12
Daniela Darquea
-5
67
T12
Mirim Lee
-5
67
T18
Marina Alex
-4
68
T18
Amy Yang
-4
68
T18
Mi Jung Hur
-4
68
T18
Yu Liu
-4
68
T18
Clariss Guce
-4
68
T18
Nelly Korda
-4
68
T18
Katherine Kirk
-4
68
T25
Jing Yan
-3
69
T25
Sei Young Kim
-3
69
T25
Cristie Kerr
-3
69
T25
Hyo Joo Kim
-3
69
T25
Ally McDonald
-3
69
T25
Chella Choi
-3
69
T25
Su Oh
-3
69
T25
Peiyun Chien
-3
69
T25
Hannah Green
-3
69
T25
Brittany Altomare
-3
69
T25
Haeji Kang
-3
69
T25
Georgia Hall
-3
69
T25
Lizette Salas
-3
69
T25
Moriya Jutanugarn
-3
69
T25
Inbee Park
-3
69
T25
Jessica Korda
-3
69
T25
Linnea Strom
-3
69
T25
Bronte Law
-3
69
T25
Tiffany Joh
-3
69
T25
Brittany Lang
-3
69
T25
Maria Torres
-3
69
T46
Alison Lee
-2
70
T46
Xiyu Lin
-2
70
T46
Ruixin Liu
-2
70
T46
Shanshan Feng
-2
70
T46
Ariya Jutanugarn
-2
70
T46
Nicole Broch Larsen
-2
70
T46
Haru Nomura
-2
70
T46
Jodi Ewart Shadoff
-2
70
T46
Mi Hyang Lee
-2
70
T46
Gemma Dryburgh
-2
70
T46
Gaby Lopez
-2
70
T46
Azahara Munoz
-2
70
T46
Jennifer Song
-2
70
T46
Wei-Ling Hsu
-2
70
T46
Jeongeun Lee6
-2
70
T46
Ashleigh Buhai
-2
70
T62
Minjee Lee
-1
71
T62
Caroline Masson
-1
71
T62
Wichanee Meechai
-1
71
T62
Candie Kung
-1
71
T62
Hee Young Park
-1
71
T62
Annie Park
-1
71
T62
Mo Martin
-1
71
T62
Brittany Marchand
-1
71
T62
Sarah Jane Smith
-1
71
T62
Mariah Stackhouse
-1
71
T62
Marissa Steen
-1
71
T73
Yoon-Ji Cho
E
72
T73
Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong
E
72
T73
Jacqui Concolino
E
72
T73
Karine Icher
E
72
T73
Yani Tseng
E
72
T73
Thidapa Suwannapura
E
72
T73
Eun-Hee Ji
E
72
T73
Anna Nordqvist
E
72
T73
Austin Ernst
E
72
T73
Ayako Uehara
E
72
T73
Kendall Dye
E
72
T73
Laura Gonzalez Escallon
E
72
T73
Stephanie Meadow
E
72
T73
In Gee Chun
E
72
T73
Pernilla Lindberg
E
72
T73
Amy Olson
E
72
T73
Dana Finkelstein
E
72
T90
Tiffany Chan
1
73
T90
Jaclyn Lee
1
73
T90
Maddie McCrary
1
73
T90
Mel Reid
1
73
T90
Aditi Ashok
1
73
T90
Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras
1
73
T90
In-Kyung Kim
1
73
T90
Charley Hull
1
73
T90
Lee-Anne Pace
1
73
T90
Elizabeth Szokol
1
73
T90
Klara Spilkova
1
73
T90
Emma Talley
1
73
T90
Dani Holmqvist
1
73
T90
Christina Kim
1
73
T90
Jenny Haglund
1
73
T90
Kim Kaufman
1
73
T90
Csicsi Rozsa
1
73
T90
Lauren Stephenson
1
73
T90
Lindsey Weaver
1
73
T90
Ryann O’Toole
1
73
T90
Sandra Gal
1
73
T111
Brianna Do
2
74
T111
Jeong Eun Lee
2
74
T111
Alena Sharp
2
74
T111
Brittany Lincicome
2
74
T111
Megan Khang
2
74
T111
Isi Gabsa
2
74
T111
Kristen Gillman
2
74
T111
Jackie Stoelting
2
74
T111
Angelina Kim (a)
2
74
T111
Anne Van Dam
2
74
T111
Jaye Marie Green
2
74
T111
Mina Harigae
2
74
T111
Celine Herbin
2
74
T111
Mariajo Uribe
2
74
T111
Morgan Pressel
2
74
T111
Laura Davies
2
74
T111
Madelene Sagstrom
2
74
T128
Becca Huffer
3
75
T128
Anne-Catherine Tanguay
3
75
T128
Jane Park
3
75
T128
Stacy Lewis
3
75
T128
Dottie Ardina
3
75
T128
Lindy Duncan
3
75
T128
Catriona Matthew
3
75
T128
Pavarisa Yoktuan
3
75
T136
Youngin Chun
4
76
T136
Sakura Yokomine
4
76
T136
Angela Stanford
4
76
T136
Juli Inkster
4
76
T136
Joanna Klatten
4
76
141
Kris Tamulis
5
77
T142
Gerina Piller
6
78
T142
Benyapa Niphatsophon
6
78
WD
Beatriz Recari
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