LPGA HEADS BACK TO TOLEDO FOR THE 33RD TIME
Toledo, Ohio, is the next destination for the 2018 LPGA Tour, as the world’s best female golfers take for Highland Meadows Golf Club for the 33rd Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning and O-I. The 2018 Marathon Classic marks the culmination of nine consecutive weeks of tournament action, and the last event before the Tour heads to Europe.
In-Kyung Kim returns to Toledo to defend her 2017 title, where she shot a personal-best 21-under 263 and earned a four-stroke victory over Lexi Thompson. Past Marathon champions Chella Choi (2015), Paula Creamer (2008) and Beatriz Recari (2013) are in this week’s field, as is last week’s winner Sei Young Kim, who set an LPGA scoring record with her incredible 31-under performance at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic. This week also marks the final event of the season for Stacy Lewis, who was born in Toledo and is playing her final event before starting her maternity leave.
The Marathon Classic also marks the final opportunity for LPGA players to play their way into the season’s next major, the Ricoh Women’s British Open. At the completion of the Marathon Classic, the top five players not already exempt into the British Open field will earn trips to Royal Lytham and St Annes. A Marathon win proved useful in 2017, as Kim’s Toledo success paved the way to victory two weeks later at the Ricoh Women’s British Open, her first major title.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE MARATHON CLASSIC PRESENTED BY OWENS CORNING AND O-I
- This is the 33rd playing of the Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning and O-I, dating back to 1984 and the inaugural Jamie Farr Toledo Classic
- Famed actor and Toledo native Jamie Farr, well-known as Klinger on the TV show “M*A*S*H,” hosted the tournament through 2012
- Se Ri Pak has the most Marathon victories with five (1998, 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2007)
- Players from the USA have won the tournament 13 times, the most of any country; however, the last American winner was Paula Creamer in 2008
- In-Kyung Kim shot a 6-under 28 on the outward nine of her final round in 2017, the lowest nine-hole score of the season
ONE LAST EVENT FOR LEWIS BEFORE MATERNITY LEAVE
This is Stacy Lewis’ 12th consecutive Marathon Classic, dating back to 2006, when she received a sponsor invitation to play in her first LPGA event. Lewis was born in Toledo, and while she only lived here for two years before her family relocated to Houston, she spent many summers outside the ropes at the Marathon Classic, clamoring for autographs and idolizing the women inside the ropes.
“I still have all the stuff that I had signed for me,” said Lewis with a smile. “Just a lot of memories here.”
Fast forward to 2018 and this tournament is even more deeply personal to Lewis. Beyond the oodles of family she gets to visit, Marathon Petroleum Corporation, headquartered in nearby Findlay, has sponsored Lewis for nearly seven years, even before assuming title sponsorship of the Toledo event in 2013. Lewis also chose this event as her final competitive stop before going on maternity leave ahead of her Nov. 3 due date and the imminent birth of her daughter.
“I’ve been fortunate with no injuries, so I haven’t had a break in 10 years,” said Lewis, who hopes to tee it up in the 2018 Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions before making her full-time return at the 2018 Bank of Hope Founders Cup. “I’m excited to go home and design a nursery and do all that stuff at the same time with my husband. I’m just really looking forward to these four or five months.”
MARATHON CLASSIC IS LAP 20 IN RACE TO THE CME GLOBE
This week’s Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning & O-I marks the 20th lap of the 2018 Race to the CME Globe. Ariya Jutanugarn continues to sit atop the standings with 2,654 points, followed by her sister Moriya Jutanugarn with 1,860 points. Minjee Lee sits third with 1,805 points, followed by Nasa Hataoka (1,690 points) and Inbee Park (1,642 points).
Throughout the season’s official events, LPGA Members will battle for position, with the top 12 players after the Blue Bay LPGA heading into the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship with the opportunity to take home a $1 million bonus, the biggest prize in women’s golf.
All tournaments have the same point values except for the five major championships, which carry 25 percent more value. For all events with a cut, points are awarded to members who make the cut, while for events without a cut, points are awarded to members who finish in the top 40 and ties.
Points will be reset for the CME Group Tour Championship following the Blue Bay LPGA, with the top 72 LPGA Members, as well as any non-Member winners and alternates, seeded into the championship field. For the top five players, it’s easy – win the CME Group Tour Championship and take home $1 million. However, the top 12 in the points race all have a mathematical chance to take the title of Race to the CME Globe Champion and win the coveted check.
In 2017, Lexi Thompson became the first American winner of the Race to the CME Globe and the accompanying $1 million prize. She joined Lydia Ko (2014, 2015) and Ariya Jutanugarn (2016) as the only players to hoist the crystal trophy.