The LPGA Tour is back in the United States and will kick off its slate of August tournaments at the 27th Jamie Farr Toledo Classic Presented by Kroger, Owens-Corning and O-I. Despite its hiatus from the schedule in 2011, 144 ladies slated to be in the field are eager to return to the Highland Meadows Golf Club for its large, enthusiastic crowds and they will compete this week for a $1.3 million purse.
Rolex Rankings No. 3 Na Yeon Choi revisits the course to defend her title after outlasting I.K. Kim, Song-Hee Kim and Christina Kim in a two-hole, sudden-death playoff back in 2010. Choi came out of the gates in full force for the 2012 campaign, posting back-to-back runner ups in two of the first three tournaments. Two more top-10s at the Kraft Nabisco Championship and the Sybase Match Play Championship led the way to her first victory of the season at the U.S. Women’s Open.
Others in the field this week include three of the top-5 finishers at the Evian Masters Presented by Société Générale, including that week’s champion Inbee Park, Rolex Rankings No. 2 Stacy Lewis and No. 69 Natalie Gulbis.
Park is fresh off a win in France after besting Karrie Webb and Lewis by two strokes in the final round. Notching her second LPGA victory and her first since the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open, Park moved up on the season money list from 12th to seventh with $924,241, trailing just behind Azahara Munoz .
Lewis has been on a hot streak so far this season with a tour-leading 10 top-10 finishes which included two victories at the Mobile Bay Classic and ShopRite LPGA Classic. A native of Toledo, Ohio, Lewis will be welcomed by her hometown crowd as she competes for her fourth career win and continues to make a run for the top position in the Rolex Rankings.
Gulbis stunned many last week with a spectacular performance as she sought to end her prolonged winless drought. Her last victory came in the 2007 Evian Masters and since then, she has only posted nine top-10 finishes. Her tie for fourth in France may have given her the boost she needs to excel her game in the final half of the season.