Manulife Financial LPGA Classic Top Storylines

Hee Young Park
Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images

Hee Young Park of South Korea poses with the trophy after her win in a three hole playoff over Angela Stanford during the fourth round of the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic at the Grey Silo Golf Course in Waterloo, Canada.

THIS WEEK ON THE LPGA TOUR
Week of June 2nd
Manulife Financial LPGA Classic
Grey Silo Golf Course
Waterloo, Ontario


(Note: Waterloo is Eastern Time Zone)

 

THREE PLAYOFFS IN THREE YEARS?
This week’s Manulife Financial LPGA Classic will mark the third edition of this tournament with many more to come as Manulife and the LPGA announced plans a month ago to extend the tournament through at least 2016.

Hee Young Park returns to the site of her dramatic win a year ago, where it took three extra holes for her to defeat Angela Stanford for the title. Park’s 26-under four-day total tied the LPGA record a year ago. Equally impressive was Park and Stanford both birdied the last to send it to a playoff, but Park went on to birdie the par-5 18th hole three straight times before Stanford finally blinked on the third try.

Playoffs have become a theme of this event during the two years so far. The inaugural event saw a spectacular four-player playoff between Brittany Lang, Chella Choi, Inbee Park and Hee Kyung Seo go three holes, but three straight birdies of the 18th sealed the victory up for Lang - her first win on tour.

The event has been a tremendous success so far in the two years since its inception with both years drawing over 60,000 fans to see the best women’s golf has to offer.

AN AMERICAN REVIVAL
It may not have been the case in recent years, but the Americans are absolutely dominating the LPGA this year. Stacy Lewis’ win Sunday marked the sixth time in seven events that an American has won. Out of 13 events, an American has won eight times, and the Race to the CME Globe standings look much the same with three Americans in the top five.

The Rolex Rankings bear this out, too. Of the top 17 players in the world, eight are American including the No. 1 player in the world. The next closest country is South Korea, but they’ve gone winless so far this season after dominating the tour in recent years.

This American women’s golf renaissance shows no signs of slowing either with every American winner so far under the age of 30. In addition, each of those American winners are in the top 16 in the world in the Rolex Rankings heading into this week.

Only three other countries have even gotten wins on tour this season with Karrie Webb (Australia), Lydia Ko (New Zealand) and Anna Nordqvist (Sweden) notching wins.

THE YOUTH MOVEMENT
If the winners are on tour this year are any indication, talent’s outweighing experience these days. Of the 13 events so far this season, only one winner - Karrie Webb, who won twice - has been over the age of 30. Two-time winners Jessica Korda, Anna Nordqvist and Stacy Lewis are all of 21, 26, and 29, respectively, Kraft Nabisco Championship winner Lexi Thompson is all of 19, and the No. 3 ranked player in the world Lydia Ko, winner of the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic, just turned 17 a little over a month ago. Sprinkle in wins by a pair of 24-year-olds Michelle Wie and Lizette Salas and 27-year old Paula Creamer and the youth movement is alive and well on this tour.


LEWIS’ REDEMPTION
Stacy Lewis didn’t like the short-lived four-week run that was her previous stint as No.1 and she wanted the moniker back. It took her 59 weeks, but she got back to the pinnacle of the Rolex Rankings on Sunday and overtook Inbee Park after 59 weeks as No. 1. In her winner’s press conference at the ShopRite LPGA Classic Presented by Acer, Lewis said she felt more equipped to deal with the demands that come with being No. 1 this year.

“I think managing the schedule is going to be key,” Lewis said Sunday after her win.. “At the same time, you know, I can’t put too much pressure on myself. You know, my goal, I know people get tired of me saying it, but my goal is to win the tournaments, and so whatever happens after that is fine.”


THEIR BIG BREAKS
Big Break winner Jackie Stoelting won’t be the only one getting a big break with a sponsor exemption this week. 16-year-old Canadian amateur Brooke Henderson received a sponsor exemption and has already made two LPGA cuts, firing a second-round 68 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship two months ago to make the cut. She’s the world’s No. 3 ranked amateur.

June 5-8
ManuLife Financial LPGA Classic

Grey Silo Golf Course
Waterloo, Ontario

Field: 134 (133 professionals, 1 amateur)
Par: 71
Yardage: 6,330
Purse: $1,500,000
Winner: $225,000
Defending Champion: Hee Young Park

TV Times
Golf Channel

June 5 12:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
June 6 12:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.
June 7 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
June 8
3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
All times listed are Eastern

Sponsor Invitations (2)
Jackie Stoelting
Brooke Henderson (a)

2014 LPGA Tour Rookies (21)
Anya Alvarez Xi Yu Lin
Amy Anderson Megan McChrystal
Jaye Marie Green Giulia Molinaro
Megan Grehan Erica Popson
Dani Holmqvist Paula Reto
Emma Jandel Natalie Sheary
Stacey Keating Kristie Smith
Jennifer Kirby Jackie Stoelting
Joanna Klatten Line Videl
Lydia Ko Caroline Westrup
Mirim Lee  

Rolex Rankings
Top 10: 6/10
Top 20: 12/20

2014 LPGA Official Money List
Top 10: 5/10
Top 20:
13/20

PRESS CONFERENCE AND MEDIA EVENT SCHEDULE

Tuesday, June 3
Time Event Location
1:00 p.m. Hee Young Park Press Conference Media Center
3:00 p.m. Jackie Stoelting & Brooke Henderson Press Conference Media Center
     
Wednesday, June 4
10:30 a.m. Stacy Lewis Press Conference Media Center
1:30 p.m. Inbee Park Press Conference Media Center
     
* All times are Eastern

Topics: Storylines, Manulife Financial LPGA Classic

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