May 16 2013, Ward ClaytonA look at some of the top player picks for the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic, scheduled for Thursday at Magnolia Grove’s Crossings Course in Mobile, Alabama:
- Lexi Thompson: Seven of Thompson’s eight rounds in Mobile have been under par. Her only hiccup occurred two years ago when she shot a final-round 78 at age 16 after holding the third-round lead. She shot 66-65 on the weekend last year to make a charge at Stacy Lewis and finished second.
- Stacy Lewis: With No. 1-ranked Inbee Park taking a week off, this is the perfect place for Lewis to re-take the spot she gave up five weeks ago. Additionally, she’s the defending champion, hasn’t won in two months and is riding a streak of three consecutive top-10 finishes on the LPGA.
- Ariya Jutanugarn: The younger sister, 17, received a sponsor exemption this week and has yet to finish worse than fourth in four starts this season. She can accept two more sponsor exemptions this year, but has already qualified for the remaining four major championships. Plus, she feels extremely comfortable in the same field with her older sister, Moriya, and with both parents (who travel separately with their daughters at different events) on site. Ariya turns 18 on Nov. 23.
- Brittany Lincicome: Lincicome has struggled this year, but getting closer to home (in Mobile, across the Gulf of Mexico from her native southwest Florida) and to a course that rewards her distance off the tee is inspiring. She leads the LPGA in Driving Distance (273.8-yard average) and owns two top-four finishes at Magnolia Grove (T2 in 2010 and T4 last year).