LAST PUSH FOR THE ANA INSPIRATION
This week’s Kia Classic marks the final opportunity for players to earn spots in the field for the first major of the 2016 season, the ANA Inspiration.
The final criteria for players to get into the field at next week’s ANA Inspiration is the top-20 players, who aren’t already qualified and are currently in the top-80 on the 2016 LPGA Official Money List at the conclusion of the Kia Classic.
Jodi Ewart Shadoff helped her chances of earning a spot with an opening round 67 and a second round 71 at Aviara Golf Club. Ewart Shadoff currently sits 76th ($23,274) on the 2016 LPGA Official Money List and a strong finish at this week’s event would likely guarantee her a spot.
Here are a few other players to watch:
|Position on Money List||Player||Money Won||Position After Rd.2|
The par-3 third hole at Aviara Golf Club was the site of not one but two holes-in-one during Friday’s second round of the Kia Classic. Lizette Salas holed out with her 50-degree wedge from 92 yards and rookie Rachel Rohanna hit her 56-degree wedge 93 yards into the hole. Thanks to their aces, both players walked away with an Acer Aspire Switch tablet. For Rohanna, it was a pretty special moment as it was her first ever hole-in-one.
“To have Acer help sponsor us and help support the LPGA and to give this out for hole-in-one prizes is definitely a bonus,” Rohanna said. “I’m just so excited. I was just about to buy a tablet and I swear I was looking at Acer’s, so this is perfect.”
Fans can follow each hole-in-one on the LPGA this season and enter to win a sweepstakes on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #AcedIt. Winners will be selected to win an Acer Aspire prize package after every hole-in-one starting March 17 at the JTBC Founders Cup and running through the CME Group Tour Championship in November.
ROLEX RANKINGS SCENARIOS
Below are the Rolex Rankings projections for this week at the Kia Classic. Note: Please confirm with the LPGA staff during the tournament for updates.
Lydia Ko remains No. 1 this week regardless of her result and what happens in the field.
Inbee Park will maintain No. 2 no matter the result of all players.
INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION IN FOCUS
Jessica Korda knows that to have an opportunity to compete for her country this summer in either the UL International Crown or in the Olympics, she needs to move up in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings and be among the top four ranked Americans in the world.
And so while Korda always has high expectations for herself in a season, this one in particular means a lot.
“This being an Olympic year, it’s different,” Korda said. “I would almost say that my expectations are a little bit bigger than they were last year, but I also feel that I’m a little bit differently prepared.”
Korda has described her 2015 season on the LPGA Tour as a struggle despite picking up one victory in Malaysia in the fall. She went through a rough stretch that began at the ANA Inspiration, missing the cut in seven of the next 12 events that she played while also withdrawing from another. Korda made a change in her swing coach late last summer to David Whelan, who had been Paula Creamer’s longtime coach. She is starting to see results of their efforts, which included a tie for third at the Honda LPGA Thailand, and she has a shot to do even better this week following a 67 in Friday’s second round of the Kia Classic that has her tied for fourth at 7-under-par entering the weekend.
“I’m working with David Whelan really hard going back to fundamentals,” Korda said. “It’s still a little iffy. There’s still a lot of miss-hit shots, but it will be there. It’s a process and we’re having a lot of fun kind of working on it.”
Kia Motors America announced recently that they had partnered with Hire Heroes USA, which would be designated as the official charity partner of the 2016 Kia Classic. Hire Heroes USA is a national non-profit organization dedicated to providing consistently effective and individualized career coaching services to help veteran transform their military service into civilian success.
On Friday, which was Military Appreciation Day at the Kia Classic, a press conference was held to present Hire Heroes USA with a $25,000 check from Kia as part of their initial donation to the non-profit. A portion of ticket proceeds from this week’s event will also be donated to Hire Heroes USA.
“On behalf of Hire Heroes USA organization and the thousands of service members and their husbands and wives who we change the lives for and assist every year, I’d like to deeply thank Kia Motors for this donation,” said Matt Ferrerra of Hire Heroes USA. “This will be instrumental in us delivering our services throughout the Southern California region and possibly around the entire country.”
“Times have changed. It’s still golf though. You still have to get the ball in the hole and my clubs don’t really know how old I am - or at least they don’t tell me. These young girls are a lot of fun to hang out with. It’s like hanging out with my kids.” –Juli Inkster talking about the youth movement in golf
- 81 players Friday emerged at +2 or better to make it into the weekend. Notable past champions who missed the cut include defending champion Cristie Kerr (+5) and 2013 winner Beatriz Recari (+5)
- LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member Se Ri Pak shot a 2-under 70 to make the cut at the Kia Classic. Pak is trying to earn entry into next week’s ANA Inspiration but will likely need to make a significant move on the weekend to earn enough money to move into the top 80 on the LPGA Official Money List
- Sponsor invite Sung Hyun Park shot a 6-under 66 and sits in a tie for sixth at 7-under-par with Jessica Korda.
- Alison Lee and Ji Young Oh withdrew from the Kia Classic prior to the conclusion of the first round