The LPGA Tour heads north this week for the first of two Canadian events this season and will kick off its slate of July tournaments at the second annual Manulife Financial LPGA Classic. Eager to return to the Grey Silo Golf Course in Waterloo, Ontario, the 144 players slated to be in the field will compete for a $1.3 million purse.
Rolex Rankings No. 43 Brittany Lang revisits the course in Waterloo to defend her title after outlasting Chella Choi, Inbee Park and Hee Kyung Seo in a three-hole, sudden death playoff in 2012. Lang had a rough start to her 2013 LPGA campaign, but has put together her best finishes of the season the weeks leading up to her first title defense of her career. She finished T13 at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G followed by a T7 at the U.S. Women’s Open and those two finishes also helped boost her campaign for U.S. Solheim Cup consideration. She currently takes the eighth spot on the team with 226 points.
Others in the field this week include three of the top finishers from the U.S. Women’s Open conducted by the USGA, including that week’s champion Inbee Park, Rolex Rankings No. 10 I.K. Kim and No. 5 So Yeon Ryu.
Park is fresh off winning her third straight major of the season, becoming just the second player since Babe Zaharias in 1950 to capture this feat. Park will also be going for her fourth consecutive victory, having won the LPGA’s three previous events (the Wegmans LPGA Championship, the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G and the U.S. Women’s Open. The most dominant player in the LPGA Tour, Park has earned more than $2 million this season and leads the Rolex Player of the Year race by nearly 200 points over Stacy Lewis.
Kim is on the verge of a breakthrough after notching her seventh top-10 finish and second runner-up of the season at the U.S. Women’s Open. The South Korean is looking to end a nearly three-year winless streak this week and will be searching for her fourth career victory at this week’s Manulife Financial LPGA Classic.
After missing her first cut of the season at the Wegmans LPGA Championship, Ryu came back firing on all cylinders. The reigning Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year posted a runner-up finish at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship followed by a solo third-place finish at the U.S. Women’s Open at Sebonack Golf Club at the end of June.