Airbus LPGA Classic Presented by JTBC Top Storylines

Photo Credit: Chris Trotman/Getty Images

(L) Lexi Thompson dunks water on (R) Jennifer Johnson following her first LPGA victory after the final round of the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic at the Crossings Course at the Robert Trent Jones Trail at Magnolia Grove on May 19, 2013 in Mobile, Alabama.

THIS WEEK ON THE LPGA TOUR
Week of May 19, 2014
Airbus LPGA Classic Presented by JTBC
Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Magnolia Grove
Mobile, Alabama


TO
P STORYLINES

JOHNSON LOOKS TO DEFEND HER TITLE
Defending champion Jennifer Johnson will be in the field this week as she looks to defend her 2013 Mobile Bay LPGA Classic title. Johnson shot a final-round 65 (7-under par) last year to become a Rolex First-Time Winner, and mark a record-breaking 21-under for her tournament total.

Since her win in Mobile last year, Johnson has been pretty quiet on the course this season. Johnson’s best finishes this year came at the Kingsmill Championship Presented by JTBC and the LPGA North Texas Shootout,  when she tied for 12th place.

AMERICANS CONTINUE TO STEAMROLL
Lizette Salas is coming off a huge win at the Kingsmill Championship Presented by JTBC this past weekend. After sealing her four-stroke victory, Salas captured her first victory on the LPGA Tour and has become the sixth different American to win this year. 

Her finish shows promise and erases doubt for the future of Salas. Every previous winner of the Kingsmill Championship has won, or went on to win, a major. This could be the turning point for Salas. Salas started the final-round with a three shot lead, then racked up birdies on the third and fifth hole to secure the lead.

After clinching her victory, Salas has moved up six spots in the Rolex World Rankings, and now holds the No. 10 spot. Currently, seven out of the top 15 players in the Rolex World Rankings are Americans.

TSENG SHOWS STRIDES
Former Rolex World No. 1 Yani Tseng had a strong showing at the Kingsmill Championship Presented by JTBC with her best finish for 2014. Tseng was a contender throughout the weekend, but after a double-bogey on the 18th hole, she shot a final-round 2-under to finish 9-under for the tournament and a tie for second place.

Tseng has been struggling to find her way back into the Winner’s Circle, her last victory was in 2012 at the Kia Classic. Her strong performance in Kingsmill shows a glimpse of light for the former top player as she looks to build on her finish these next few weeks.

Tseng will compete in the Airbus Long Drive competition on Tuesday at the Brookley Aeroplex.

MOVEMENT IN THE ROLEX RANKINGS
Inbee Park still holds the No. 1 Rolex World Ranking after she took the week off in Kingsmill and both Stacy Lewis and Lydia Ko failed to take over the top spot.

Park returns to play this week in Mobile, along with No. 2 Stacy Lewis- while No. 3 Lydia Ko takes the week off. If Lewis snatches another victory, this could be the week she takes back control of the No. 1 spot from the long-standing top player, Inbee Park.

So Yeon Ryu moved up a spot to No. 7 with her performance, while Shanshan Feng moved down a spot to No. 8. Lizette made quite the jump as she moved up six spots to become No. 10 in the Rolex Rankings.

SWEET (SECOND) HOME ALABAMA
Lexi Thompson had another top-10 finish this past weekend as she heads to Mobile. The 19-year old star has a track record of playing well in the Alabama tournaments and looks to continue that trend this week.

After taking a month off following her first major win at Kraft Nabisco Championship, shereturned to play each of the last two tournaments. In those events, Thompson tied for sixth place at North Texas and tied for second at the Kingsmill Championship Presented by JTBC. Thompson has two top-10 finishes in her three total appearances in Mobile.


YOUTH MOVEMENT
The young LPGA players are leading the pack this season. With the exception of Karrie Webb, a two-time winner this season, all the other winners have been under the age of 30. 

Jessica Korda (21), Paula Creamer (27), Anna Nordqvist (26), Lexi Thompson (19), Michelle Wie (24), Lydia Ko (17), Stacy Lewis (29) and Lizette Salas (24).


QUICK FACTS

May 22-25
Airbus LPGA Classic Presented by JTBC
Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Magnolia Grove Mobile, AL

Field:
144 Par: 72 Yardage: 6,521 Purse: $1,300,000
- Winner $195,000
Defending Champion: Jennifer Johnson

TV Times
Golf Channel
May 22 6:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
May 23 6:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
May 24 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
May 25 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

All times listed are Eastern

Past Champions
2013 Jennifer Johnson
2012 Stacy Lewis
2011 Maria Hjorth

2014 LPGA Tour Rookies (21)
Anya Alvarez Xi Yu Lin
Amy Anderson Mirim Lee
Dottie Ardina Megan McChrystal
Jaye Marie Green Giulia Molinaro
Megan Grehan Erica Popson
Daniela Holmqvist Paula Reto
Emma Jandel Natalie Sheary
Kim Kaufman Line Vedel
Stacy Keating Caroline Westrup
Jennifer Kirby Kelly Tan
Joanna Klatten  


Sponsor Invitations

Kim Welch
Charley Hull

Qualifiers
Ariya Jutanugarn (65, -7)
Paula Hurtado (71, -1)

Rolex Rankings
Top 10: 7/10
Top 20: 14/20

Topics: Storylines, Airbus LPGA Classic

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