After a two-week break, the LPGA returns to Hawaii this week with the playing of the LPGA Lotte Championship. Here are some details:
Course: Ko Olina Golf Club
Location: Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii
Defending Champion: *Inaugural Event
Winning Score: *Inaugural Event
Final Field: 144 players
Yardage: 6,421 Yards
Purse: $1.7 Million
* Although this is the first time this event is being played under its new name, it was last played in 2008 on this course and was called the Fields Open. The Champion that year was Paula Creamer. It was a 54-hole event and the winning score was 66-68-66=200 -16.
A very strong field will be teeing it up in Hawaii, with Catriona Matthew the only star player missing. Two of the sponsors exemptions, Hyun-Hwa Sim (69th) and Shin-Ae Ahn (71st), are among the top 80 players in the world. This tournament will be very unique, as it will begin on Wednesday and finish on Saturday.
Here is the television schedule:
Apr 18 - GC 6:30-8:30 PM EST
Apr 19 - GC 6:30-8:30 PM EST
Apr 20 - GC 6:30-8:30 PM EST
Apr 21 - GC 6:30-9:30 PM EST
Here are the pairings for the first 2 rounds.
Natalie Gulbis, who has struggled with back problems for some time now, seems to be swinging better than she has in a very long time. Her eighth-place finish at the Kraft Nabisco Championship was her best finish in three years.
Sybase Match Play Championship Update:
Tournament officials for the Sybase Match Play Championship have announced changes in the qualifying process for that tournament.
As was the case in previous years, the top 48 players from the 2011 money list automatically qualify. As was the case last year, 2 sponsors exemptions will be named. In previous years, the top 10 players after the 2nd round of the Mobile Bay Classic (formerly known as the Avnet Classic) who hadn't already qualified were added to the field. This year they have dropped that number from ten to just two.
In previous years the top 4 players on the 2012 money list who hadn't already qualified were added to the field. This year they have increased that number from 4 to 12. With just 2 tournaments left to be played before Sybase, here is what the race for those 12 spots looks like:
1- Jenny Shin $188,834
2- So Yeon Ryu $179,942
3- Jessica Korda $165,000
4- Caroline Hedwall $127,751
5- Julieta Granada $121,750
6- Karen Sjodin $107,036
It certainly appears the above 6 players have earned enough and will be there.
7- Mina Harigae $83,779
8- Jodi Ewart $82,065
9- Amanda Blumenherst $70,457
10- Natalie Gulbis $62,963
11- Haeji Kang $59,643
12- Jennifer Song $56,993
The above 6 players may still have work to do to secure the final spots.
13- Jennifer Johnson $49,819
14- Katherine Hull $49,544
15- Kristy McPherson $48,661
16- Pornanong Phatlum $47,121
17- Lexi Thompson $44,712
The above 5 players are on the outside looking in and have 2 tournaments in which to improve their position.
The total field of 64 players remains the same.