North Plains, Oregon welcomes the LPGA Tour to the Ghost Creek Golf Course at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club this week. The 41st annual Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola features a dominant field of 144 players competing for a $1.5 million purse and a $225,000 first-place check.
Reigning champ and Rolex Rankings No. 6 Suzann Pettersen is back in the Northwest after an outstanding finish in 2011 when she defeated Na Yeon Choi in the first hole of a sudden-death playoff. The Norwegian fired the lowest round of the week, a 7-under 64, during Sunday’s final round to stage a nine-stroke comeback and her winning score was a four-day tally of 6-under-par 208. This win marked her eighth victory in her 10-year tenure on the LPGA Tour and her latest victory to date.
This week’s field consists of nearly all of the world’s top 50 golfers including No. 12 So Yeon Ryu and No. 17 Angela Stanford, who both had impressive finishes at last week’s Jamie Farr Toledo Classic.
Rookie standout Ryu became the fifth Rolex First-Time winners this season after taking a commanding lead in the final round last week. She tied the LPGA record for the lowest final round by a winner, shooting 62 to win by seven-strokes over Stanford. Ryu finished at 19-under-par for the event following four-straight rounds in the 60s.
Earlier this season, Stanford captured her fifth LPGA victory at the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore in a three-hole playoff. She tallied her third top-10 this season with a runner-up finish last week, her 65th top-10 in 12 seasons.
The eight other top-10 finishers from last week join Ryu and Stanford at the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola including South Koreans Inbee Park, I.K. Kim, Jiyai Shin and Chella Choi.