The LPGA and the lovely city of Portland, Ore., have a history that is both long and rich that dates back more than 40 years.
That history continues this week in the form of the Portland Classic Presented by Cambia Health Solutions. A full field of 144 talented players will once again take on Columbia Edgewater Country Club as they chase down the winner’s share of a $1.3 million purse.
A win this week would be a great way to put an exclamation point on the month of August and give a player great momentum heading into the Tour’s home stretch.
Suzann Pettersen has won two of the last three Portland stops and is coming off a tie for seventh that was her fifth consecutive top-10 finish of the season. The Norwegian is in fine form and will be the player with the bull’s eye on her back this week, but the field includes a number of players talented enough to hoist the champion’s trophy on Sunday.
Last week’s victor, So Yeon Ryu, is in the field, as well as fellow South Korean Na Yeon Choi, who finished second in Canada, and Japan’s Ai Miyazato and Mika Miyazato, who won in Portland in 2010 and 2012, respectively. Two-time 2014 champion Anna Nordqvist, as well as tournament winners Mo Martin, Lizette Salas and Mirim Lee, will also tee it up this week.
Pettersen won last year’s event with a 20-under-par total, so birdies should be plentiful at the par-72, 6,476-yard track. This week’s champion will also join the likes of LPGA Tour and World Golf Hall of Famers Lorena Ochoa (2007), Annika Sorenstam (2002-03), Juli Inkster (1999), Nancy Lopez (1985, 1987, 1992), Patty Sheehan (1990), Betsy King (1988), Amy Alcott (1984), JoAnne Carner (1974, 1983), Donna Caponi (1976) and Kathy Whitworth (1972-73) as LPGA winners in Portland.
After a slow start to the season, South Korean-born players have won the last three LPGA events, and they would love to keep the streak going at Columbia Edgewater. Another intriguing storyline to watch is the number of players in this week’s field who are searching for their first LPGA victory.
The Tour just might have its fourth Rolex First-Time Winner of the season this week, another breakthrough performer who would join Salas, Martin and Lee as players realizing a lifelong dream.
This week’s 72-hole event in Portland marks the end of a hectic August that included four events totaling more than $7 million in prize money. Next week’s break will give players a breather before going across the pond for the Tour’s fifth and final major of the season, the $3.25 million Evian Championship.
That major kicks off the LPGA’s final 10 events of the 2014 season, officially beginning this year’s home stretch, where players will make a final dash toward season-ending awards.
Regardless of who reigns supreme in the end, the drama should be good television on Golf Channel this weekend.