What to Watch For This Week at Navistar LPGA Classic

Navistar LPGA Classic
RTJ Trail at Capitol Hill, Senator
Prattville, Alabama
September 12-18, 2011

The World’s Best Coming to the River Region
The star-studded field features Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng, No. 2 Suzann Pettersen, No. 3 Cristie Kerr, No. 4 Na Yeon Choi, No. 8 Paula Creamer, No. 9 Brittany Lincicome, No. 10 I.K. Kim, No. 11 Stacy Lewis and No. 12 Michelle Wie. Tseng, who looks to capture her sixth LPGA tournament and ninth tournament victory world-wide this year, headlines the field which also includes two-time LPGA Tour winner and Navistar defending champion Katherine Hull, 2007 Navistar champion Maria Hjorth, LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame members Juli Inkster and Se Ri Pak, all 12 U.S. Solheim Cup team members, and eight of 12 European Solheim Cup team members.

The Unstoppable Tseng
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Yani Tseng continued her domination on the course with her fifth LPGA win of the season at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G. The 22-year-old, who has posted eight wins worldwide in 2011, became the youngest player, male or female, to win five major titles in August at the RICOH Women’s British Open. In all, she has 10 LPGA victories in her four-year career. The forceful Tseng has held the No. 1 position in the Rolex Rankings for 30 consecutive weeks and she is poised to sweep the year-end LPGA awards. She currently holds the lead in the Rolex Player of the Year race (which she also won in 2010), the contest for the Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average and the LPGA money list. Heading into the Navistar LPGA Classic Tseng has a remarkable $767,835 dollar lead over Cristie Kerr on the money list, a 149 point lead over Stacy Lewis in the Rolex Player of the Year race, and a .76 stroke advantage over Kerr in the Vare Trophy contest. Statistically Tseng is top of the class in seven different categories including birdies, rounds under par, rounds in the 60s, top-10 finishes, greens hit, scoring and driving distance (268.4). Add a ranking of third in putts per green and regulation and Tseng’s winning formula is complete.

Kerr is a Constant
14-time LPGA tour winner and top-ranked American Cristie Kerr continues to be a constant presence atop LPGA leaderboards. Despite not yet winning in 2011, Kerr has posted a remarkable nine top-4 finishes this season including a tie for 4th at the CN Canadian Women’s Open and a solo fourth at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in her last two starts. She ran an incredible mid-summer stretch with five consecutive weeks in the top three – 2nd Sybase Match Play; T-2 ShopRite LPGA Classic; 2nd State Farm LPGA Classic; T-3 Wegmans LPGA Championship; 3rd U.S. Women’s Open. Kerr currently ranks second in birdies, second in the race for the Vare Trophy with a scoring average of 70.35, and third in Rolex Player of the Year points. Kerr, who was voted the best putter on the LPGA Tour by her peers in Golf Digest Magazine, leads the Tour in putts per greens in regulation (1.74). She has already surpassed the $1 million mark in season earnings for the eighth consecutive year.

Lincicome Reaches a Milestone
Five-time winner Brittany Lincicome followed up her second win of the season with a tie for 10th in Arkansas pushing her over the $1 million mark for single-season earnings for the first time in her career. Lincicome is enjoying her best-ever season on the LPGA Tour with two wins, the ShopRite LPGA Classic and CN Canadian Women’s’ Open, a tie for second at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup and a tie for third at the State Farm LPGA Classic. Lincicome is the only American so far this season to post two wins. The long-hitting Lincicome, nicknamed “Bam Bam”, sings to keep herself loose on the course, loves to fish, and has kept her game sharp this season by competing in men’s mini-tour events on her off weeks. Lincicome’s rounds of 71-66-69 in Arkansas lowered her scoring average to 70.91 ranking her fifth in the race for the Vare Trophy.

Jennifer Johnson Steps Up
LPGA Tour rookie Jennifer Johnson has made the most of her first-year campaign and now she is taking the time to give back. Earlier this season, Johnson played for the Wounded Warrior Project at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup and she has since partnered with Navistar to help raise awareness for the cause. Johnson will play a practice round Tuesday with two Wounded Warriors – Dan Nevins and Joe Caley – both who suffered brain injuries in Iraq. Nevins continues to play golf despite the loss of both his legs. Johnson will also donate half of her Navistar LPGA Classic earnings to the cause. Johnson, who began the season with Category 20 status, has moved her way up the list via some good play and the reshuffle. Johnson has made six of nine cuts this year with a season-best tie for 12th at the CN Canadian Women’s Open. She currently sits No. 70 on the LPGA money list.

Lexi Returns
Sixteen-year old professional Lexi Thompson returns to the Navistar LPGA Classic as a sponsor’s invite for the third consecutive year. Thompson finished tied for 16th in the event last year. She held a share of the 36-hole lead at the 2009 event as a 14-year old amateur to finish in an eventual tie for 27th. Thompson, who recently won Stage I of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament by 10 shots, looks to improve on her LPGA season-best T-19 at the Avnet LPGA Classic. Her LPGA career-best is tie for 2nd at the 2010 Evian Masters.

NYC Continues Top-10 Streak
2010 Vare Trophy winner Na Yeon Choi, nicknamed “NYC”, has yet to win in 2011, but the talented South Korean player may be on the verge of capturing her fifth career LPGA title. Choi, who also led the 2010 LPGA official money list, has finished in the top 10 in her last four starts including a runner-up finish to Suzann Pettersen at the Safeway Classic. In an attempt to capture her second consecutive Vare Trophy, Choi’s stroke average has been steadily dropping. She is currently ninth in the race with a scoring average of 70.98. Choi also ranks seventh in birdies, a category which she led in 2010. A perfectionist on the course, outside the ropes Choi has been striving to perfect her language skills this year, traveling with a private tutor.

Belen Makes Her Mark
LPGA Tour rookie Belen Mozo made a quantum leap up the money list with a season-best tie for fifth at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. It was the first top 10 for the Spaniard who graduated in 2010 from the University of Southern California. The finish will assure Mozo playing status for the 2012 LPGA Tour season. Prior to the Safeway Classic several weeks ago Mozo had struggled in her rookie campaign missing seven cuts in her first nine starts, but she recently found her form cashing checks in her last three starts. A solid ball-striker with added length off the tee, Mozo ranks 28th in greens in regulation and 14th in driving distance with an average of 261.6 yards.

Solheim Send- Off
All 12 of the U.S. Solheim Cup team members and 8 of the 12 European Solheim Cup members will gear up for the biennial match this week in Alabama. There will be a send-off ceremony for the teams Sunday after play. Solheim Cup team members to watch this week are top-ranked Americans Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer and Brittany Lincicome, top-ranked European players Suzann Pettersen, Sophie Gustafson and 2007 Navistar champion Maria Hjorth, American Juli Inkster, the oldest player to ever qualify for a Solheim or Ryder Cup team and first-ever playing assistant captain in Solheim Cup history and Solheim Cup rookies – Vicky Hurst, Stacy Lewis and Ryann O’Toole for Team U.S. A. and Sandra Gal, Christel Boeljon and Azahara Munoz for Team Europe.

American Resurgence
American players currently occupy six of the top-12 positions on the LPGA money list, a marked improvement over 2010. The American contingent is led by 14-time LPGA Tour winner Cristie Kerr who is currently second on the money list. 2011 Kraft Nabisco champion Stacy Lewis is third, two-time winner this season Brittany Lincicome is fifth, veteran Angela Stanford is seventh, 2010 U.S. Women’s Open winner Paula Creamer is ninth and two-time LPGA career winner Morgan Pressel is 12th. Only three Americans – Kerr, Creamer and Michelle Wie – finished the 2010 LPGA season in the top 12 on the LPGA money list.

Stacy P’s Last Call
Two-time LPGA Tour winner Stacy Prammanasudh will tee-it-up for the final time this season prior to taking maternity for the birth of her first child. Prammanasudh, who fired at career-low 63 in the opening round of the inaugural Navistar LPGA Classic in 2007, is one of six active LPGA players to either give birth or be pregnant in 2011. Janice Moodie, Karine Icher, Mikaela Parmlid, Jeong Jang and Nicole Castrale are the others with Jang and Castrale due later this year. Add retired players Annika Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa and Rachel Hetherington to that mix and the LPGA Tour may just be undergoing a baby boom!

Sister-state Favorites
Several LPGA players in this week’s field left a collegiate golf mark playing for rival programs in Alabama and Mississippi including Nicole Hage (Auburn University – 2007 communications), Jenny Suh (University of Alabama – 2007 communications and public relations), Dori Carter (University of Mississippi – 2009 Business Management) and Shasta Averyhardt (Jackson State – 2008 Accounting)

Pressel Gives Back
Two-time LPGA Tour winner Morgan Pressel will host an LPGA-USGA Girls Golf clinic in conjunction with RBC Monday at Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa. Pressel, who is gearing up for her third Solheim Cup appearance, was first introduced to the game through Girls Golf which provides opportunities for young girls to learn all areas of the game including the values inherent in the sport itself - patience, perseverance, honesty and respect. Pressel has posted five top-10 finishes in 2011 with a season-best runner-up at the Wegmans LPGA Championship.

Money List Scramble
The Navistar LPGA Classic is the last standard eligibility tournament of the season and the final domestic tournament before the LPGA Tour heads to Asia for five tournaments. This week will be the final opportunity for many players to secure LPGA playing status for 2012. The top-125 finishers on the LPGA official money list will earn a place on the 2012 LPGA Priority List. The higher a player finishes the more starts she will have next season. Players falling outside of the top 125 will be faced with a return trip to Stage III of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament. Notable players currently outside the top 125 are two-time LPGA Tour winners Jennifer Rosales and Ji Young Oh, 2005 U.S. Women’s Open champion Birdie Kim and LPGA veterans Dina Ammaccapane and Mhairi McKay.

Come One, Come All!
Navistar is leaving its mark on the LPGA and the River Region this week by providing free admission to all fans. In an effort to raise awareness and funds for the Wounded Warrior Project, the tournament charity, fans are asked to consider making a donation to the cause upon entrance. Not only will this initiative raise needed funds for the Wounded Warrior Project, but it will also encourage new fans to come and enjoy the LPGA experience.

Monaco RV Rally
The Monaco RV LPGA Rally will once again hit the Navistar LPGA Classic. Admission to the Rally is free and open to anyone who has an RV. The Rally includes four nights dry camping, tournament tickets, entertainment, catered meals and cocktail hours. Several Monaco RV’s will be stationed at Capitol Hill for fans and guests to tour. In addition, player pre-tournament press conferences will be held inside the state-of-the art RVs with the LPGA player in the driver’s seat. While fans roll their RV’s into the River Region, several LPGA players, including Karen Stupples and Stacy Prammanasudh often take their own RV’s on the LPGA Tour road.

20th Anniversary of RTJ Trail in 2012
The RTJ Trail is gearing up for its 20th anniversary in 2012 with upgrades to all 11 of its properties. The Senator Course recently underwent a renovation to resurface all 18 green complexes with Champion Bermuda Grass. The fifth hole was also re-designed to create a more exciting, dramatic hole by enticing more players to go for the par-5 in two. The course re-opens this week for the Navistar LPGA Classic.

Navistar Brings in the Trucks
Navistar will showcase additional trucks this year on-site at Capitol Hill including military vehicles and monster trucks. Navistar is the North American leader in medium duty trucks, a leader in hybrid diesel technology and the manufacturer of the International® ProStar® tractor, the most aerodynamic long-haul on the road. In addition Navistar has gained tremendous momentum as a leader in producing and servicing top-quality military vehicles. IC Bus®, the North American leader in school buses, delivers more than 60% of the new school buses on the road today and is also the first manufacturer to develop and deliver hybrid school buses.

Topics: What to watch for this week, Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic

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