Click here for complete groups and tee times for the opening round of the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give.
Brooke Henderson, Carlota Ciganda, So Yeon Ryu 8:21 A.M.v (1st Tee)
The defending champion Brooke Henderson headlines this group along with Carlota Ciganda, who finished third at the U.S. Women’s Open and So Yeon Ryu, who is No. 6 in the world. Henderson comes to Blythefield Country Club with a lot of great memories from her victory in 2017, including her 63 in the first round to her 66 in the final round to hold off Michelle Wie and Lexi Thompson. She was able to win on Father’s Day with her dad and coach, Dave, in attendance. Henderson also performed well in 2016 in Grand Rapids with two more rounds in the 60s and a T21 finish. Henderson has one win this season at the LOTTE Championship and ranks fifth on the LPGA money list, but hasn’t been as sharp over the last month. Meanwhile, Ciganda is trending in the right direction over the last month. The third place finish at Shoal Creek is the highlight, but she has finished inside the top 12 in her last four starts. She also played well at Meijer last year, turning in rounds of 68-64-68-67 to finish in a tie for seventh. It wasn’t a fluke; she finished second in Grand Rapids in 2016. Ryu is looking for her first win of the season. She's been fairly quiet with a pair of top 10s and ranks 32nd on the money list. At No. 6 in the world, she is still on the bubble for the UL International Crown if Hye Jin Choi or In Gee Chun make a late charge.
Lexi Thompson, Ariya Jutanugarn, In Gee Chun 8:32 A.M. (1st Tee)
Ariya Jutanugarn is making her first start since winning the U.S. Women’s Open two weeks ago and she does have a realistic chance to reclaim the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Rankings with a victory. Jutanugarn has finished in the top 10 in seven of her last eight starts and five in a row, including the two wins. At the midway point of the season, Jutanugarn has a very real chance to win the Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average (currently second), the Rolex Player of the Year (currently first) and the Race to CME Globe (currently first). Thompson has always played well in Grand Rapids including her win in 2015. She finished in a tie for second at Blythefield last year. Thompson performed very admirably at the U.S. Women’s Open, closing with back-to-back 70s to finish T5. She skipped the ShopRite LPGA Classic last week. In Gee Chun is starting to find her game this year. She finished T2 at the Kingsmill Championship and T10 at the ShopRite LPGA Classic last week. She is still within striking distance of making Team Republic of Korea for the UL International Crown. Chun did not play in Grand Rapids last year, but she did finish third in 2016.
Danielle Kang, Su Oh, Paula Creamer 1:10 P.M. (10th Tee)
Two-thirds of this group, Danielle Kang and Su Oh, have major UL International Crown hopes, while Paula Creamer is coming off a T28 at the ShopRite LPGA Classic. Kang is currently No. 20 in the world and five spots behind Michelle Wie for the fourth and final spot on Team USA. Kang looked sharp in her last start at the U.S. Women’s Open when she carded rounds of 70-69 over the weekend to finish fourth. She left with a top 10 despite a 77 in round two. She also finished T7 the week prior at the Volvik Championship. Oh is coming off an important T5 at the ShopRite LPGA Classic which gave her a bit of a cushion in the race for the fourth spot on Team Australia. Oh has past success in Grand Rapids, including last year when she finished T4. Creamer has been up and down this year, which probably should be expected considering she revamped her swing this off season. She finished inside the top 30 in two of her last four starts. She missed the cut in Meijer last year, but closed T43 in 2016.
Lydia Ko, Nelly Korda, Annie Park 1:21 P.M. (10th Tee)
This is a fun, youthful group. Crazy to think that Annie Park is the oldest at the tender age of 23. Lydia Ko has been better this year than most people probably give her credit for. She has a win and ranks 16th on the money list. Nelly Korda likely falls in the same category. She doesn’t have a win yet, but still has three top 10s and ranks 24th on the money list. She finished T10 at the U.S. Women’s Open, but has also missed four cuts. Park is making her first start since her surprising win in Atlantic City. She spent 24 hours in New York City celebrating with her family and then flew to Michigan. After finishing T18 in her first start in San Francisco, she missed the cut in her next start so we’ll see how she handles success this time around. Park is now a top 90 player in the world. It’s hard to imagine considering she was outside the top 300 just two months ago.
Hannah Green, Aditi Ashok, Anna Nordqvist 1:32 P.M. (1st Tee)
A couple young guns and an experienced veteran are in this group. Hannah Green is nine spots outside of Su Oh for the fourth position on Team Australia for the UL International Crown so you know she has a lot to play for in the coming weeks. Ashok had that one stretch in late April when she went T7, T6, but then she didn’t get into the U.S. Women’s Open and returned last week and finished T45 at the ShopRite LPGA Classic. Ashok finished T32 last year at Blythefield. Meanwhile, Nordqvist didn’t play in Grand Rapids last year, but did finish T13 in 2016. Nordqvist recovered from a missed cut at the U.S. Women’s Open to finish T17 at ShopRite last week. She’s hoping for her ninth career win this week.