LPGA BACK IN MEXICO
After spending the past six weeks across the world in Asia, the LPGA returns to the Western Hemisphere and North America for the ninth edition of the Citibanamex Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Aeromexico and Delta.
The championship is up for grabs as 2015 winner Inbee Park announced she would not be returning to defend her title. Park (-18) won last year by a three-shot margin over a charging Carlota Ciganda (-15) for her 17th career LPGA victory and fifth of the 2015 season.
Four former champions will return to take their shot at becoming the only player to ever win this tournament multiple times. Five Mexican players are aiming to become the first since Ochoa (2009 Navistar LPGA Classic) to win an LPGA event.
The smallest field of the 2016 season features 36 players including three Mexican-born amateurs. The four-day tournament has no cut and only the top-20 finishers will earn points towards the Race to CME Globe.
This will be the third year this tournament is hosted by Club de Golf México after spending its first six years at Guadalajara Country Club in Guadalajara, Mexico. It has been the only event on the LPGA's schedule in Mexico annually since 2011.
WHO’S IN THE FIELD
Past Lorena Ochoa Invitational Winners (4)
Christina Kim (2014), In-Kyung Kim (2010), Michelle Wie (2009), Angela Stanford (2008)
Mexican Golfers (5):
Maria Fassi (a), Isabella Fierro (a), Alejandra Llaneza, Gaby Lopez, Regina Plasencia (a)
LPGA NUMBERS TO KNOW
22.26 - Average age of winners in 2016
23 - Thru 31 events, 23 were won by players 23 years old or younger
3 - Number of teenagers who have won on the LPGA Tour in 2016 (Lydia Ko, Brooke Henderson, Minjee Lee)
3 - Number of players with consecutive wins on the LPGA Tour in 2016 (Lydia Ko, Ariya Jutanugarn, Shanshan Feng)
7 - In the current Rolex Rankings, seven of the top-10 players in the world are 24 years old or younger
17 & 11 - Seventeen players have LPGA wins in 2016, with eleven different countries represented amongst winners
OCHOA EN ROUTE TO WORLD GOLF HOF
On Tuesday, Club de Golf México will host a celebration and media reception in honor of Lorena Ochoa's induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Ochoa will be joined in a press conference by World Golf Hall of Fame President Jack Peter and the LPGA's Chief Communications and Tour Operations Officer Heather Daly-Donofrio.
Ochoa finished her career with 27 LPGA wins (tied 16th all-time), including two major championships. She won the Rolex Player of the Year award and Vare Trophy in four consecutive seasons from 2006-2009. Ochoa was ranked No. 1 in the world for 158 weeks (most all-time) from 2007-2010 and was the first Mexican golfer (male or female) to reach number one in the world; she will also be the first Mexican golfer to enter the World Golf Hall of Fame.
LOI DEFENDING CHAMP PARK FOCUSED ON RECOVERING
Inbee Park will not return to defend her title after her three-shot victory at Club de Golf México in 2015. Park released the following statement in advance of this year's tournament:
"I’m very disappointed to announce that I won't be able to attend this year’s Citibanamex Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Aeromexico and Delta at Mexico City. Since I have unforgettable memories at last year’s Lorena Ochoa Invitational, this has been an incredibly hard decision for me to make.
For the past couple months after the 2016 Rio Olympics, I’ve been focusing on recovering from my left thumb injury. I had to put on a cast for about 4 weeks which was during the Evian Championship. So far, I’m seeing some positive improvements on my rehab and I’ve started to hit some balls. However, my injury is still not fully recovered. I’m very cautious regarding my injury and if possible would like to take extra precautionary measures since the injury can negatively recur.
Lorena Ochoa Invitational means so much to me and I really wanted to see the beautiful course of Club de Golf Mexico once again and compete to defend my title. Unfortunately, my left thumb injury still needs more rehab then I wished for. Therefore, I will be unable to commit this year’s Lorena Ochoa Invitational and I will focus on getting fully recovered from the injury and put all efforts to be back on the golf course as soon as possible."
RACE TO CME GLOBE NEARING FINISH LINE
One event remains in the Race to CME Globe to decide who will be competing for the $1 million dollar first prize at the CME Group Tour Championship.
The top 72 LPGA Members and those tied for 72nd on the Race to the CME Globe Points Standings, ranked in the order of their position on the standings at the conclusion of the Citibanamex Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Aeromexico and Delta, will have earned their way into field at CME.
Once the players have qualified for the event the points will reset. After the reset, the players in the top-3 positions on the Race to the CME Globe Points Standings will be able to win the Race to the CME Globe with a win at the Tour Championship. Additionally, the players in the top-9 positions will have a mathematical chance to win the race based on various scenarios.
The current standings and battle for the top-3 and top-9 spots are laid out below. With a top-20 finish this week, Anna Nordqvist would climb her way into the top-9 of the Race to CME Globe standings.
RACE TO CME GLOBE BATTLES
1. Ariya Jutanugarn - 4,491
2. Lydia Ko - 4,365
3. Brooke Henderson - 3,186
4. Ha Na Jang - 2,879
5. Sei Young Kim - 2,573
6. Shanshan Feng - 2,551
7. Minjee Lee - 2,526
8. In Gee Chun - 2,494
9. Haru Nomura - 2,491
10. Anna Nordqvist - 2,440
11. Amy Yang - 2,233
12. Stacy Lewis - 2,074
13. So Yeon Ryu - 1,939
14. Carlota Ciganda - 1,803
*BOLD = In the field at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational