Three tournaments down, nine to go in the LPGA Tour’s 12-week tournament stretch, with three major championships still to come. This week’s Manulife LPGA Classic marks the 14th tournament of the 2017 LPGA season, and the first of two stops over the border in Canada. The field includes four of the top six players in the world, including No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn who has her eyes on No. 1; four players with 2017 tournament titles already under their belt, including last week’s ShopRite LPGA Classic winner In-Kyung Kim; and three past Manulife champions, all competing for a $1.7 million purse at Whistle Bear Golf Club.
In 2016, Germany’s Caroline Masson picked up her first LPGA Tour victory here, defeating Karine Icher, Minjee Lee and Mi Hyang Lee by one stroke. Masson started the day three shots back of the lead and fired a final round 6-under 66 to step inside the winner’s circle.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE MANULIFE LPGA CLASSIC
0 – There has never been a repeat winner of the tournament, while the 2017 LPGA season also has yet to feature a repeat winner
2 – Playoffs in Manulife history: In 2013, Hee Young Park beat Angela Stanford with a birdie on the third extra hole. In 2012, Brittany Lang beat Hee Kyung Seo, also with a birdie on the third extra hole (Chella Choi dropped out after the first extra hole, while Inbee Park dropped out on the second extra hole).
3 – Mi Hyang Lee has twice recorded three eagles at Whistle Bear Golf Club, and her six total eagles leads all LPGA players at this event
4 – Countries represented by past champions: Germany (Caroline Masson), Norway (Suzann Pettersen), Republic of Korea (Inbee Park, Hee Young Park), USA (Brittany Lang)
6 – This is the sixth year for the tournament, and will be the final with Manulife as the title sponsor
26 – In 2013, Angela Stanford and Hee Young Park set the tournament scoring record of -26 (258); Park went on to win in a playoff
60’s – Every past champion of the tournament recorded all four rounds in the 60s
61 – Inbee Park was the most recent player to shoot the tournament-low round of 61, which she did in the final round en route to her 2014 victory
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DEFENDING CHAMPION CAROLINE MASSON
- In 2016, Masson had a career-high four top-10 finishes, including becoming a Rolex First-Time Winner at the Manulife LPGA Classic, while recording her lowest-career tournament score in relation to par at -16
- At No. 58 in the Rolex Rankings, she is the highest ranked German player in the world
- In 10 starts this season, she has made eight cuts and posted four top-25 finishes, including a season-best T10 finish at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup
- Masson was a member of Team Europe in the last two Solheim Cups (2013, 2015), and in May was part of a Team Europe practice round at Des Moines Golf and Country Club (site of the 2017 Solheim Cup)
- In three starts at the Manulife LPGA Classic, she has finished 10th (2014), T19 (2015) and first (2016)
CAMBRIDGE IS LAP 14 OF RACE TO CME GLOBE
This week’s Manulife LPGA Classic will mark the 14th event in the season-long Race to CME Globe. ANA Inspiration champion and World No. 3 So Yeon Ryu holds a narrow lead in the current Race to the CME Globe standings with 1,695 points. Reigning Race to the CME Globe winner Ariya Jutanugarn is close behind with 1,628 points, followed closely by Lexi Thompson (1,486) and Cristie Kerr (1,233).
In 2017, the reset points for the Race to the CME Globe will be modified slightly. As a result of these modifications:
The top five finishers entering Naples will control their own destiny at the CME Group Tour Championship
If a player in the top five wins in Naples, she will also win the $1M CME Globe
The top 12 finishers entering Naples will have a mathematical chance to win the $1M CME Globe
Please note that previously, the top three controlled their destiny and top nine had a mathematical chance
The Manulife LPGA Classic field features 24 of the 37 2017 LPGA Tour rookies, the most to tee it up at a single tournament this season. Hannah Burke, Min-G Kim and Krista Puisite are making their LPGA Tour debut as members.
In 2017, the LPGA expanded its global representation with the addition of five rookies from new countries: Aditi Ashok (India), Laura Gonzalez Escallon (Belgium), Daniela Darquea (Ecuador), Olafia Kristinsdottir (Iceland) and Krista Puisite (Latvia). Escallon, Kristinsdottir and Puisite will be in action in Ontario.
THANK YOU MANULIFE
While this is the final year of the Manulife LPGA Classic, all of us at the LPGA are incredibly grateful for the partnership we enjoyed with Manulife and the Kitchener-Waterloo area! We will certainly do our best to bring an LPGA tournament back to this area and these tremendous golf fans.