The LPGA Tour kicks off its U.S. domestic schedule this week in Phoenix, Ariz. at the newly-named JTBC Founders Cup. In its fourth year, the tournament continues to honor the past, present and future of women’s golf. The 144-player field that features 18 of the top-20 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings will be playing for a $1.5 million purse.
Stacy Lewis returns to Wildfire Golf Club to defend her title and to the site where her win pushed her into the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Rankings. Lewis overcame a four-shot deficit at the start of Sunday’s final round in 2013 and battled Japan’s Ai Miyazato down the stretch for a three-shot victory. The Texas native topped the week off by donating $50,000 to the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program on the 18th green.
The winners of the first four events of the 2014 – No. 27 Jessica Korda, No. 6 Karrie Webb, No. 15 Anna Nordqvist and No. 15 Paula Creamer – are all slated to play this week. Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park will also be in action and is coming off a victory at the LET’s World Ladies Championship in China. Park is off to a torrid start to the 2014 season and recorded a runner-up finish at the Honda LPGA Thailand and a tie for fourth at the HSBC Women’s Champions.
Twelve LPGA Tour rookies are also in the field including Rolex Rankings No. 4 Lydia Ko who has a demanding lead in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year race. The 16-year old from New Zealand already has two top-10 finishes this season and leads Mirim Lee by 164 points on the points list.
Will Shanshan Feng defend her title?