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RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup Stats & Stuff

Photo Credit: Gabe Roux

Kathleen Ekey with her pro-am group at the 2012 RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup.

March 12 2013, Ward Clayton

Finishing hole has been Founders Cup key
The 420-yard, par-4 finishing hole at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup has given the fans their money’s worth in the first two years of the tournament.

In both 2011 and 2012, the tournament was decided on the final hole, a par 4 with desert down the left side leading to a well-bunkered green.

     - In 2011, Australia’s Karrie Webb was six strokes back entering the final round of the 54-hole tournament. Angela Stanford led by three but shot a final-round 75, opening the door for Webb. She came home in 31 and took a share of the lead with a 3-foot par putt on the finishing hole. Brittany Lincicome was tied with Webb entering the final hole but couldn’t get up and down for par and fell one stroke shy and into a tie for second with Paula Creamer.
    - Last year, after weather delays during the final round of the 72-hole tournament, Yani Tseng made birdies on five of her first six holes on the back nine. Still, she needed a par on the finishing hole as darkness approached. A two-putt from 45 feet gave Tseng a one-stroke victory over Na Yeon Choi and Ai Miyazato.

Tseng’s defense

Yani Tseng has recorded 15 career LPGA titles, an amazing total for a 24-year old. However, this week’s RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup and next week’s Kia Classic mark the last two events where Tseng is currently the reigning champion. Tseng hasn’t won on the LPGA since the Kia Classic last March 25. Tseng has been No. 1 in Rolex Women’s World Rankings since Feb. 14, 2011. Tseng’s 109 weeks atop the Rankings are second only to the 158 weeks when Lorena Ochoa was No. 1 from 2007-2010.

Here is a look at Tseng’s victories and how she fared in defending those titles:

Tournament Next year
2008 McDonald’s LPGA T23
2009 LPGA Corning No tournament
2010 Kraft Nabisco 2
2010 Ricoh Women’s British Win
2010 P&G NW Arkansas Win
2011 Honda LPGA Thailand Win
2011 LPGA State Farm No tournament
2011 Wegmans LPGA  T59
2011 Ricoh Women’s British T26
2011 Walmart NW Arkansas  Cut
2011 LPGA HanaBank  3
2011 Sunrise LPGA Taiwan 3
2012 Honda LPGA Thailand T3
2012 RR Donnelley TBA
2012 Kia Classic TBA

Wildfire splits courses for LPGA

Fans will hear the names Arnold Palmer and Nick Faldo a lot this week during the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup. The Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix has 36 holes, but the 18 being used combines the two courses. The back nine of the Palmer Course will be the front nine this week and the back nine of the Faldo course will be the finishing nine in a composite par-72, 6,568-yard tournament layout.

The courses are inspired by the famed Australian Sandbelt, featuring numerous bunkers with high lips and high, sand-flashed faces, as well as sloping greens.

McPherson back after elbow surgery

Kristy McPherson is back on the LPGA for the first time since undergoing left elbow surgery last Nov. 20. She plans to play three consecutive events starting with this week’s RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup.

The surgery repaired medial and lateral tears affecting ligaments on both sides of her elbow, as well as restrictive and painful scar tissue and was performed by Dr. Joshua Hackel, an associate of sports orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews.

In 2009, McPherson earned more than $800,000 and played on the winning U.S. Solheim Cup team. But the elbow issues affected her game over the next three years.

EA Sports and the LPGA
When the new EA Sports video game, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14, is released on March 26, it will it will include the LPGA for the first time. Mission Hills Country Club, the site of the first major championship of the season, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, is included. LPGA pros Paula Creamer, Stacy Lewis, Suzann Pettersen, Natalie Gulbis and Lexi Thompson also join the roster of professional playable characters.

Distance between events in U.S
.-Canada stint
This week, the LPGA begins a 14-tournaemnt stint in the United States and Canada though the end of July. Should a player choose to play all of these events, she would travel more than 14,500 miles. Here is the distance necessary to travel from site to site:

Origination Destination Noteworthy
Tempe, Ariz. (RR Donnelley) Carlsbad, Calif. (Kia Classic) 400 miles, 6 hours by car
Carlsbad  Rancho Mirage, Calif. (Kraft Nabisco) 115 miles, 2 hours by car
Rancho Mirage Oahu, Hawaii (LPGA Lotte)  2,667 miles, flight
Oahu Irving, TX (N. Texas Shootout) 3,775 miles, flight
Irving, Tx Williamsburg, Va. (Kingsmill)  1,350 miles, 19 hours by car
Williamsburg Mobile, Ala. (Mobile Bay) 900 miles, 13 hours by car
Mobile, Ala. Paradise Island, Bahamas (Pure Silk-Bahamas) 750 miles, flight
Bahamas  Galloway, N.J. (ShopRite) 1,000 miles, flight
Galloway Pittsford, N.Y. (Wegmans LPGA) 390 miles, 6 hours by car
Pittsford Rogers, Ark. (Walmart NW Ark.) 1,125 miles, 17 hours by car
Rogers Southampton, N.Y. (U.S. Women’s Open)  1,361 miles, 21 hours by car
Southampton Waterloo, Ontario, Canada (Manulife Financial)  600 miles, 9 hours by car
Waterloo Sylvania, Ohio (Marathon Classic)  250 miles, 4 hours by car

The RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup is the first American event on the LPGA for the third consecutive year. The last time an American event began the LPGA season was in 2009 when the season began in Hawaii. … With her victory at the Mission Hills World Ladies Championship, Suzann Pettersen added another country to her docket of 15 victories worldwide. The win in China joins wins in the United States, South Korea, Thailand, Canada, Taiwan, France, Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland. … There have been two players who have recorded consecutive top-10 finishes in the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup – Cristie Kerr and Mindy Kim. Kerr finished fourth in 2011 and T6 in 2012. Kim has six career LPGA top-10s, including a sixth in 2011 and T10 in 2012 at Wildfire. On the other side is Michelle Wie, who is making her first Founders Cup appearance this week.

Topics: Stats and Stuff, LPGA Founders Cup

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