Mariah Stackhouse, Anna Nordqvist, Bronte Law 8:25 A.M. (10th tee)
This group has top-level talent. Mariah Stackhouse has a pair of top 10 finishes this year and has flashed the winning ways that she displayed often in junior golf and college. Stackhouse is coming off a rare missed cut at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. She had made nine cuts in a row before the slip up last week. Stackhouse had one of her best weeks last season in Oneida when she tied for eighth with rounds of 69-68-68-67. Anna Nordqvist, an eight-time winner and major champion, also enters after a missed cut so there will be extra motivation. She seemed to be turning the corner with top 10s at the Meijer LPGA Classic and the ShopRite LPGA Classic, but she carded a 77 in round one of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship and was sent home early. Nordqvist will try to anchor Team Sweden at the UL International Crown. The third player, Bronte Law, will also compete at the UL International Crown for Team England. Law had a nice week at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, finishing T18. She has two top 10 finishes including a T6 at the season-opening Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic. Law made the cut at Thornberry Creek as a rookie in 2017, but finishedtowards the bottom of the cut at T55.
Carlota Ciganda, Minjee Lee, Charley Hull 8:36 A.M. (10th tee)
There is plenty of firepower in this group as Carlota Ciganda, Minjee Lee and Charley Hull with play together the first two days. Ciganda has a pair of top 10s this year and has made the cut in seven straight starts. The Spaniards shining moment was a third place result at the U.S. Women’s Open. She ranks seventh on Tour with 35 rounds under par. This will be her first trip to Thornberry Creek. Lee, who will anchor Team Australia at the UL International Crown, is ranked No. 10 in the world. She has seven top 10s this year and a win five weeks ago at the LPGA Volvik Championship. Lee ranks fourth on Tour in scoring average at 69.91. She finished T20 in Oneida a year ago. Hull has played well of late with three top 10s in her last five starts including a T6 at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. She’s the only player on Tour with top 10s in all three majors. Hull generally drives it long and is accurate with her approach shots, a recipe for success on any golf course. She ranks seventh on Tour in greens in regulation, which should set up plenty of birdie chances this week. Hull did miss the cut last year at Thornberry Creek so we’ll see if it better suits her eye this year.
Katherine Kirk, Lydia Ko, Moriya Jutanugarn 8:47 A.M. (10th tee)
The defending champion Katherine Kirk is part of a marquee group that also includes world No. 14 Lydia Ko and No. 9 Moriya Jutanugarn. Kirk comes to Oneida feeling a world of good vibes after firing a 22-under four-day total in 2017 to win by one shot. However, the three-time LPGA winner doesn’t come in with her top form, having missed the cut in five of her last six starts so maybe a return to the spot of a joyous memory is all she needs. Kirk’s best result this year is a solo fourth early at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. Meanwhile, Ko is playing her sixth straight tournament and said during her Tuesday press conference that she is just trying to survive as a bit of fatigue may be setting in. She does have two top 10s during the last five weeks. Ko’s putting has been excellent this year and that will be key on a course where a really low number is likely going to be needed. She ranks third in putting average this year (28.63.). Jutanugarn has seven top 10s and 13 top 25s this year so anytime she enters a tournament there is a strong chance she’ll be in the hunt. She finished T11 last week at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. Moriya also finished T11 last year at Thornberry Creek with a first round and final round 67 last year.
Sung Hyun Park, Angel Yin, Ariya Jutanugarn 1:36 P.M. (1st tee)
This may be the group with the most pure talent. Sung Hyun Park is obviously coming off capturing her second major championship last week at the KPMG Women’s Championship. She bested So Yeon Ryu with a final round 69 and birdies on both playoff holes. While Park has two wins this year, she also has five missed cuts and just one additional top 10. She moved up to No. 2 in the world and Inbee Park is not in the field so a win this week could push her back to No. 1. This is definitely a long bombing group as Park ranks fourth on Tour in driving distance at 272.87 yards a strike. She did not play at Thornberry Creek last year. Angel Yin should have a lot of momentum after a tie for fourth last week at the major with closing rounds of 69-68-71. It was her second best finish of the year. She tied for third at the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship. The second-year pro finished T15 at Thornberry Creek as a rookie. Yin moved up 14 spots in the world rankings with her strong finish last week and is now No. 42 in the world. Like Park, Yin can smash it off the tee as she ranks fifth on Tour (272.40) in driving distance. The expectations are so high for Ariya Jutanugarn every week because of how well she has played this year. That said, it becomes alarming that she doesn’t have a top 10 in her last three starts. She’ll be looking to pick up her 11th top 10 of the year this week. She’d love her third win, too. She won the Kingsmill Championship in mid-April and the U.S. Women’s Open a couple weeks later. Ariya leads the Tour in birdies made this year with 273, which will be critical with all the opportunities this week. She withdrew from the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic last year after round one.
Emma Talley, Brooke Henderson, Nasa Hataoka 1:47 P.M. (1st tee)
The charismatic rookie Emma Talley will be paired with a couple young superstars in Brooke Henderson and the red-hot Nasa Hataoka. Talley has two top 10s in her first year, but is looking for her first since the HUGEL-JTBC LA Open in mid-April. It’s impressive to note that Talley has made the cut at all three major championships this season. Henderson enters after a T6 last week at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. Even though the flatstick let her down on Sunday, she still picked up her sixth top 10 of the year. The pride of Canada finished T28 at Thornberry Creek last year. Nobody has played better than Hataoka over the last couple of weeks. She won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship and finished T2 last week at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship buoyed by a final round 64. Incredibly, the second-year player is now fourth on the Race to the CME Globe and second in money earned this year. Hataoka did not play in Oneida last year.