Prattville, Alabama welcomes the LPGA Tour this week for the final event before October’s Asian-Pacific swing. The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Senator Course hosts the Navistar LPGA Classic for the fifth year in a row and will feature a field of 144 players vying for a $195,000 first-place prize.
Back to defend her title is rookie standout Lexi Thompson, who shattered the LPGA age record last year when she became the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history at 16 years, 7 months and 8 days. As a non-member, Thompson carded rounds of 66-68-67-70 to finish with a 17-under 271, a 5-stroke win over Tiffany Joh. Shortly after her win she petitioned for LPGA membership and was approved for the 2012 season. Thompson’s yields an impressive rookie résumé with two top-5 finishes including a tie for fifth at the ShopRite LPGA Classic and a tie for second at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic. She also ranks second in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year race.
This week’s field is also comprised of 28 additional players in the rookie class, including the leader of the pack So Yeon Ryu.
Rolex Rankings No. 13 Ryu became first, and only rookie so far to capture a victory this season with her stunning performance at the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic where she recorded four rounds in the 60s and defeated Angela Stanford by 7-strokes. With nine additional top-10 finishes this season, Ryu takes a demanding lead in the Louise Suggs Rookie of the Year race with more than 1,000 points.Other past champs from this season competing at the Navistar LPGA Classic include No. 25 Brittany Lang (Manulife Financial LPGA Classic), No. 17 Azahara Munoz (Sybase Match Play Championship), No. 18 Angela Stanford (HSBC Women’s Champions) No. 1 Yani Tseng (Honda LPGA Thailand, RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup, Kia Classic), No. 2 Stacy Lewis (Mobile Bay LPGA Classic, ShopRite LPGA Classic) and No. 19 Sun Young Yoo (Kraft Nabisco Championship).