Sung Hyun Park comes into the Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning and O-I fresh off her maiden LPGA victory at the U.S. Women’s Open. The LPGA rookie’s cumulative 10-under-par for the weekend saw her finish two shots ahead of Hye Jin Choi to pick her first major championship win.
Her U.S. Open victory should come as no surprise as the Korean already has 10 career wins on the KLPGA Tour and was one shot off the lead heading to the final hole at last year’s tournament. However, a bogey would see Park finish in a tie for 3rd.
This win see’s Park become the 8th player from the Republic of Korea to win on the LPGA Tour this season and has been in fine form making 14 cuts from 14 starts, including four additional top-10 finishes.
Three is the Magic Number
Lydia Ko will not only be looking to pick up her first win on the LPGA this year, but win the Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning and O-I for a third time in four years this week in Ohio.
After the regulation 72-holes at last year’s event, Ko found her 14-under-par score only good enough for a spot in a three-person playoff alongside Ariya Jutanugarn and Mirim Lee. Four holes later, and after the longest playoff in the tournament’s history, Ko would be picking up her then 14th LPGA Tour victory.
This year, Ko comes into the week showing signs of the form that propelled her to the world No.1 spot but is yet to find consistency in her game.
The final few positions on Team USA’s Solheim Cup team are very much still up for grabs, with several players still in contention to make the team. Austin Ernst and Angela Stanford are both on the cusp of automatic qualification, and a strong week here could see them move closer or even into the automatic places.
Stanford first featured in red, white and blue 14-years-ago and has since made a further five appearances. The Solheim Cup veteran will certainly be doing all she can to represent her country for a remarkable 7th time.
For Austin Ernst, it is a very different story. The 25-year-old is yet to make a Solheim Cup team and will be hoping to be part of Julie Inkster’s plans in a few weeks’ time. The youngster does have some experience in international matchplay, as she represented the United States at the 2012 Curtis Cup.
Marina Alex and Lizette Salas also gave Julie Inkster something to think about with strong performances at the U.S. Women’s Open. Alex was the leading American in T-11 place at 4-under-par, whereas Salas was two shots further back in a tie for 15th.
Done It Before
Three previous winners of the Marathon Classic feature at this week’s tournament looking to become two-time winners alongside Ko, Se Ri Pak, Kelly Robbins and Penny Hammel. These are 2010 champion Na Yeon Choi, 2013 winner Beatriz Recari and, most recently, 2015 victor Chella Choi.
Both Chella Choi and Na Yeon Choi had to come through playoffs to be successful in Ohio, whereas Recari is the only outright winner of the trio, as she finished one shot ahead of Paula Creamer at 17-under-par in 2013.