Week of April 22, 2013
North Texas LPGA Shootout
Las Colinas Country Club, Irving, Texas
Back to the Lone Star State
The LPGA Tour returns to the Lone Star State this week for the inaugural North Texas LPGA Shootout at Las Colinas Country Club in Irving, Texas. The tournament marks the first time in more than 20 years the LPGA will play in the region and nearly a decade since the LPGA last headlines in the area when LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member Annika Sorenstam teed it up at the PGA TOUR’s Colonial Invitational in 2003.
The event will not only bring the best female golfers in the world back to North Texas, but will serve as a homecoming for several of the Tour’s top players who are also Texas natives. Five-time LPGA winner and Saginaw native Angela Stanford returns to play in front of her hometown crowd while McKinney’s Brittany Lang will be playing for her second LPGA win after clinching her first-career victory last year at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic.
Current Plano resident Gerina Piller returns home this week and hopes to record her first Tour victory and add to two top-10 finishes already in 2013. Reigning Rolex Player of the Year Stacy Lewis (The Woodlands) will revisit her home state and will be playing for her third win this season and eighth in her career.
Top-Spot Battle Continues
The battle for the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings continues to be a close fight entering this week in North Texas. Current No. 1 Inbee Park successfully kept the top ranking by finishing tied for fourth last week in Hawaii. The South Korean passed Stacy Lewis for the top spot last Monday in an off week and now leads Lewis by .34 average points.
Several other players are making their cases to make a move on No. 1 including fellow South Korean Na Yeon Choi. The seven-time LPGA winner passed former world No. 1 Yani Tseng for the No. 3 spot after a T6 finish last week at the LPGA LOTTE Championship. Last week’s champion in Hawaii, Suzann Pettersen, closes out the top-5 and jumped one spot in the rankings to No. 5 after her 11th career victory.
Azusa Calif. native Lizette Salas has emerged as a rising star on the LPGA in 2013 and has consistently put herself in contention this year to earn her first-career victory. In each of the last four events on Tour, Salas has entered the final round in the top 5 on the leaderboard.
Heading into Saturday’s final round in Hawaii last week, Salas started five shots behind leader Suzann Pettersen and would need a gutsy performance to catch the Tour veteran. She did just that, turning in an impressive 10-under 62 which included nine birdies (five-consecutive on the back nine), an eagle and a bogey to force a playoff. But Pettersen bested the University of Southern California grad on the first playoff hole where Salas dunked her approach shot on No. 18 in the greenside water.
One of the most well-liked players on Tour, Salas had a group of fellow pros in her cheering section on the 18th green and will surely have plenty of people celebrating when she does earn her first win.
“I just want to win,” Salas said. “I don't play here just to travel the world. I'm here to win championships and I'm here to change the world of golf.”
With her finish in Hawaii, Salas jumped fifteen spots from No. 37 to No. 22 in the Rolex Rankings.
The North Texas LPGA Shootout will provide a unique opportunity for local and amateur players to earn spots in the field through two qualifying “Shootouts,” one for collegiate players and one for local high school players.
The Collegiate Shootout was held last month at Las Colinas Country Club and was where University of Texas senior Madison Pressel and University of North Carolina junior Casey Grice each shot even-par 71 to earn spots in the LPGA field. Both college players will be making their LPGA Tour debuts this week. The event will provide an extra special setting for Pressel who will be joining her sister and two-time LPGA winner, Morgan, for the first time in a tournament setting.
The High School Shootout will be held Monday April 22nd and will award two additional spots to local high players.
April 25 – April 28
North Texas LPGA Shootout
Las Colinas Country Club
Field: 144 (140 professionals, 4 amateurs)
Par: 36-35, 71
Format: 72-hole stroke play
Defending champion: First-year event
April 25 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
April 26 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
April 27 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
April 28 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
All times Eastern
This week’s field information: North Texas LPGA Shootout
2013 LPGA Tour rookies (16)
2013 LPGA Official Money List
Top 10: 10/10
Top 20: 19/20
Top 50: 49/50
Press conference schedule
Tuesday, April 23
1:00 p.m. Dallas-Fort Worth natives Angela Stanford (Saginaw – a five-time LPGA winner) and Brittany Lang (McKinney – 1 LPGA win)
2:00 p.m. Inbee Park – currently the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings No. 1 player
Wednesday, April 24 (exact times to be determined once pro-am times are announced)
TBD Suzann Pettersen – champion of last week’s LPGA LOTTE Championship in Hawaii, an
11-time LPGA winner
TBD Stacy Lewis – top-ranked American and former resident of The Woodlands, currently No. 2 in Rolex Rankings
TBD Lizette Salas – runner-up at last week’s LPGA LOTTE Championship; four top-10 finishes in 2013
*Times are approximate and subject to change (all times are local in Irving)
Symetra Tour current player and alum factoids
The LPGA Tour is scheduled to make its return to the Lone Star state this week and several Symetra Tour alumnae are scheduled to compete deep in the heart of Texas.
Lizette Salas was a member of the Symetra Tour in 2011 but has recently turned in several solid performances on the LPGA Tour beginning with a tie for eighth at the Honda LPGA Thailand 2013. The University of Southern California graduate then went on to record no worse than 13th in her next three starts before finishing T25 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
At last week’s LPGA LOTTE Championship, Salas found herself sitting in a tie for fifth after the third round but a final-round 10-under 62 catapulted her to the top of the leaderboard into a tie with Suzann Pettersen. The duo headed to the 18th but Pettersen prevailed after a chunked iron shot by Salas on the first playoff hold found the water.
Despite the difficult loss, Salas has inched her way into a tie for seventh on the U.S. Solheim Cup points standings and has moved to No. 22 on the Rolex Rankings.
Also scheduled to compete this week is current Rolex Rankings No. 1, Inbee Park. A former Symetra Tour member, Park earned her way onto the LPGA Tour after finishing third on the 2006 Volvik Race for the Card standings. On this year’s LPGA Tour, Park has recorded two wins and two additional top-20 finishes.
The Symetra Tour returns to action this week at the Guardian Retirement Championship at Sara Bay, which will take place April 26-28 at Sara Bay Country Club in Sarasota, Fla. It will mark the third event on the Symetra Tour this season and so far there have been two different winners – Jaclyn Sweeney (Bradenton, Fla.) and Melissa Eaton (Port Shepstone, S. Africa).