INKSTER BACK IN THE GOLDEN STATE
Juli Inkster feels right at home this week in her native state and hopes to have a strong week at Lake Merced where she had one of her best results last season (T15 in 2015). The U.S. Solheim Cup Captain says she likes the state of her game at the moment, but hasn’t been able to put the pieces all together this year.
“I’ve actually been playing pretty good,” said Inkster. “I think I’ve played five tournaments and made all the cuts and finished in the 30th bracket. I always seem to have one bad nine holes out there. My concentration isn’t what it used to be.”
GOING FOR THREE IN-A-ROW
Lydia Ko won in her previous two starts (Kia Classic, ANA Inspiration) prior to a T23 finish last week at the LOTTE Championship, and seeks to return to her winning ways by capturing her third win of the season at an event she has owned since its inception. The number one player in the world returns to the site of her first career LPGA Tour victory with the opportunity to become the 11th different player in LPGA history to win the same tournament three years in a row. The last player to accomplish the feat was Inbee Park (KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, 2013-15), who withdrew from Swinging Skirts with a left thumb injury.
Ko understands the challenges of defending, let alone winning any event, and hopes her game will allow her to put together another solid performance over the next four days.
“For me this week, I’ve just got to enjoy it, have fun,” said Ko. “I know the course is tough, so I’ve just got to play to my game and my strengths. That’s all I can do.”
Most Consecutive Wins at the Same Tournament:
|5||Annika Sorenstam||Mizuno Classic||2001-2005|
|4||Laura Davies||Standard Register PING||1994-1997|
|3||Patty Berg||World Championship||1953-1955|
|3||Betsy Rawls||Tampa Open||1956-1958|
|3||Louise Suggs||Dallas Civitan Open||1959-1961|
|3||Kathy Whitworth||Orange Blossom Classic||1968-1970|
|3||Sandra Haynie||Charity Golf Classic||1973-1975|
|3||Annika Sorenstam||Michelob Light Classic||1997-1999|
|3||Karrie Webb||Australian Ladies Masters||1998-2000|
|3||Annika Sorenstam||McDonald's LPGA Championship||2003-2005|
|3||Lorena Ochoa||Sybase Classic Presented by ShopRite||2006-2008|
|3||Inbee Park||KPMG Women's PGA Championship||2013-2015|
SWINGING SKIRTS HOSTS EXECUTIVE WOMEN’S DAY
On Wednesday, the San Francisco Mayor’s Women’s Golf Council held the inaugural Swinging Skirts Executive Women’s Day at Lake Merced Golf Club. The event was created to bring together influential women from the Bay Area to engage in topics focused on personal and professional development and to highlight golf’s return to the Olympic Games in 2016. Bay Area native and two-time Solheim Cup Captain Juli Inkster was the keynote speaker at the Executive Women’s Day.
“I think that it’s great for us to learn from them and they can learn from us,” said Inkster of the conference. “Just kind of empowering women and getting them together, changing ideas, different initiatives, I think it’s good for us.”
Her message for the day?
“You know, I think being a mother and a wife and a professional golfer, everybody asks me, how you do it? I think you can do it all. You’ve just got to kind of set your priorities. I love to talk to executive women and how they go about doing both,” Inkster said.
LOVE FOR LAKE MERCED
Players raved about the track at Lake Merced Golf Club leading into the third staging of the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic this week and defending champ Lydia Ko thinks conditions this week will be tougher than the first two years.
“I think Chairman Wang’s plan is to have the final score not to be extremely low,” said Ko. “I think I can see that by the last two years, that the scores were under 10-under par. Not that many events where that kind of happens at the end of Sunday.”
Minjee Lee, who won the 2012 U.S. Girls’ Junior at Lake Merced, said players need their complete games to finish well.
“I think it tests every part of your game. Like you got to drive it well, chip and putt really well,” said Lee. “If your ball-striking is on then you’re going to have a lot of chances. So, yeah, I think it just tests every part of your game. It’s a great challenge to have. The golf course is fun.”
Ko said accuracy off the tee on the tree-lined course will be key.
“I feel like you need to hit a lot of fairways here, especially with the rough growing out a little bit,” said Ko. “I think as the weather gets cooler there is a bit more moisture and that makes it tough. If you don’t hit the fairways with the firm greens they don’t mix very well. You need to hit the fairways and give yourself a lot of opportunities. There are a lot of holes out there where you come off with a par and that’s still a good score.”
- Two-time Swinging Skirts defending champion Lydia Ko (World No. 1), Stacy Lewis (World No. 4) and LPGA Tour Rookie In Gee Chun (World No. 6) are grouped together on Thursday and Friday.
- Thanks to her T2 finish last week at the LOTTE Championship, Katie Burnett jumped 85 spots to No. 110 in the Rolex Rankings and could crack the Top-100 for the first time in her career with a strong result this week.
- World No. 2 Inbee Park withdrew this week with a ligament issue in her left thumb.
- This week there will be a total of 22 sponsor exemptions. The top ten players from the LPGA of Taiwan (TLPGA) 2015 money list received an automatic invitation, while seven additional players of Taiwanese descent earned a spot in this week’s field. The following five players also received spots in the field as unrestricted invitations: Nasa Hataoka (a), Katherine Kirk, Belen Mozo, Yuting Shi, Angel Yin.
- The 2012 U.S. Girls’ Junior was held at Lake Merced Golf Club with the four semifinalists that year now members of the LPGA Tour. Minjee Lee was the champion that year and defeated Alison Lee in the 36-hole final. Minjee knocked off defending champion Ariya Jutanugarn and Alison defeated Lydia Ko. All four players are currently ranked in the top-40 in the Rolex Rankings.