After a one-week hiatus, the LPGA Tour heads north of the border for the CP Women’s Open. Led by Canadian superstar and defending champion Brooke Henderson, 156 of the world’s best female golfers will take to Magna Golf Club in Aurora, Ontario, to vie for the $2.25 million purse and the title of Canada’s national champion.
Henderson captured the 2018 title at Saskatchewan’s Wascana Golf Club, becoming just the second Canadian winner since the tournament became in 1973. She is one of 18 players in the top 20 of the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings in this week’s field, including No. 1 Jin Young Ko, No. 2 Sung Hyun Park and No. 3 Lexi Thompson. There are also nine past champions in the field – Henderson (2018), Park (2017), Ariya Jutanugarn (2016), Lydia Ko (2012, 2013, 2015), So Yeon Ryu (2014), Suzann Pettersen (2009), Katherine Kirk (2008), Cristie Kerr (2006) and Juli Inkster (1984).
Additionally, the CP Women’s Open marks the final week for American players to qualify for the 2019 USA Solheim Cup Team. Captain Juli Inkster, who is celebrating the 35th anniversary of her CP Women’s Open win, is not only in the field but is keenly keeping an eye on potential captain’s picks, as she will have two wild-card selections to make once the 10 automatic qualifiers are locked in following the completion of play on Sunday.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE CP WOMEN’S OPEN
- Two Canadians have won the CP Women’s Open – Brooke Henderson, who won in 2018, and Jocelyne Bourassa, who won the inaugural CP Women’s Open (then called the La Canadienne) in 1973
- Since 2001, five Americans have won the CP Women’s Open a combined six times: Meg Mallon (2002, 2004), Beth Daniel (2003), Cristie Kerr (2006), Michelle Wie (2010) and Brittany Lincicome (2011)
- From 1979 to 2000, the tournament was a major on the LPGA Tour and known by a series of names, most famously the du Maurier Classic; notable winners include World Golf Hall of Fame members Amy Alcott (1979), Pat Bradley (1980, 1985, 1986), Sandra Haynie (1982), Hollis Stacy (1983), Juli Inkster (1984), Laura Davies (1996), Karrie Webb (1999) and Meg Mallon (2000)
- The 2020 CP Women’s Open will be held at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club in Vancouver, British Columbia
HENDERSON READY FOR TITLE DEFENSE
Brooke Henderson called winning the 2018 CP Women’s Open “the highlight of my career so far.” That’s high praise from the 21-year-old Canadian, who has nine LPGA titles, including a major win, and is the winningest Canadian professional golfer on the LPGA and PGA Tours.
“Just being with all the great fans from the nation and just having so much attention on me and then still being able to perform as well as I did and execute those shots under pressure was really exciting for me,” said Henderson, who became her country’s winningest golfer with her victory at the 2019 Meijer LPGA Classic. “I feel like it gave me a lot confidence and a lot of momentum, and I'm just really excited to come back here as the defending champion.”
This week at Magna Golf Club is all Henderson, all the time. Her smiling face is plastered across buildings and credentials and posters, which Henderson said was cool with a slightly abashed smile on her face. Henderson has twice successfully defended an LPGA Tour title, winning the 2015 and 2016 Cambia Portland Classic and the 2018 and 2019 LOTTE Championship. With a clear mind, ignoring her own face surrounding her, Henderson knows what’s at stake when she steps to the first tee on Thursday.
“To be able to win on the LPGA Tour once is really cool. To come back next year and defend your title is really special I think and pretty unique. It doesn't happen very often with these courses,” said Henderson. “I felt like I had a great game plan and I felt very confident; whereas this tournament we have moved around the courses ever single year, so that is a little bit different feeling coming into this week. But I think you still carry over a lot of positive energy and momentum from last year.”
A LOT ON THE MIND FOR INKSTER
35 years ago, World Golf Hall of Fame Member Juli Inkster hoisted her third career LPGA trophy at the 1984 du Maurier Classic, then a major championship on the LPGA. She would go on to win 31 LPGA titles and seven major championships, and this week is making her fifth start of the 2019 season at the now-dubbed CP Women’s Open in Aurora, Ontario.
“I hear it's a great golf course; in really good shape; fairways are plush,” Inkster said of Magna Golf Club. “Kind of right out in front of you. What you see is what you get. Not really tricked up. So I'm looking forward to getting out there.”
While Inkster is trying to make her first cut of the 2019 season, the U.S. Solheim Cup Captain has other things on her mind this week as this is the last qualifying event for players to make Team USA.
“It's going to be hard,” Inkster said of making her two captain’s picks. “This year is really hard. It's almost like I wish I had zero picks. Two is going to be tough. I got a young team, a lot of rookies, but they got a lot of fire in their belly, and that's what I like to see. They're very excited to go over there and play. I got my core group that have been on the team, so it's going to be hard.
“Sunday is going to be really hard. I've been not sleeping great just because I'm trying to figure out what's best for the team. Really there is so much up for grabs on Sunday. I really have to just wait and see how it plays out before I can think about who I'm going to pick.”
The 10 automatic qualifiers for Team USA are set to be announced Sunday following the CP Women’s Open, with Inkster revealing her captain’s picks on Monday. The 2019 Solheim Cup will take place at the PGA Centenary Course at The Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, Scotland, from Sept. 13-15, 2019. The U.S. heads to Scotland leading Europe 10-5 all-time in Solheim Cup competition, with Inkster at the helm for the U.S. an unprecedented-third time.
For Inkster’s new Captain’s Blog, visit www.lpga.com/news/2019-juli-inkster-captains-blog-captains-picks-on-line
USA SOLHEIM CUP TEAM SCENARIOS
Five players can play their way into the top eight of the Team USA Solheim Cup points standings with a strong finish at the CP Women’s Open.
- Brittany Altomare, who currently sits eighth with 257.5 points, has the most chances with many combinations.
- Ally McDonald, ninth with 250 points, needs a 17th or better finish to have a chance.
- Cristie Kerr must win and have Altomare finish fifth or worse. If Kerr wins and Altomare finishes fourth, the tiebreaker would be the Rolex Rankings.
- Angel Yin needs to win, have McDonald finish fifth or worse and have Altomare finish 10th or worse. If Yin wins and Altomare finishes ninth, the tiebreaker would be Rolex Rankings.
- Stacy Lewis needs to win, have McDonald finish 13th or worse and have Altomare finish 18th or worse. If Lewis wins and Altomare finishes 17th, the tiebreaker would be Rolex Rankings.
MAJOR MENTALITY IS KEY FOR SALAS
Lizette Salas is making her first start at this week’s CP Women’s Open since she took home a runner-up finish at the AIG Women’s British Open three weeks ago. While Salas fell short of hoisting the trophy in England, she said she learned a lot from the sixth runner-up finish of her LPGA career.
“It has helped so much confidence-wise, game-wise,” Salas said on Tuesday at Magna Golf Club. “I've set new goals like for next year, and it's just kind of opened up a whole new chapter in my golf game. I said it before. I just felt like I was reborn and I was excited to play golf again. I felt that way this whole entire year. To play the way I did for the past two events, it's really helped a lot. Just want to keep that momentum going and set new goals and try to adapt that major mentality into every week.”
At the 2019 major championships, Salas never finished outside the top 30: T17 (ANA Inspiration), T26 (U.S. Women’s Open), T5 (KPMG Women’s PGA Championship), T13 (The Evian Championship) and second (AIG Women’s British Open). Salas hopes to launch off that success as she makes her fifth career appearance at the CP Women’s Open, her first since 2016, and looks to find the winner’s circle for the first time since 2014.
“It's just the mindset of why I've been able to play so well in major tournaments and the different attitude that I take during those weeks and how can we apply that week in and week out,” said Salas, who has secured a spot on Team USA for the 2019 Solheim Cup. “So we just come up with a game plan and how can I take advantage of this golf course and how can my game apply to this golf course to where I can contend each week. So that's my new task, and I think it's a perfect time with Solheim coming around the corner. Just kind of take my game up a notch and be a little more aggressive and be on top of the leaderboard more often.”
MARCHAND LEADING THE CHARGE FOR STEM EDUCATION
When Brittany Marchand was looking at colleges, one thing was clear – not only would she play golf, but she was getting a chemical engineering degree. The native of Orangeville, Ontario, has loved math since she was a child and while she dreamed of becoming a professional golfer, she also knew that getting her degree was non-negotiable.
“I had a lot of nos said to me when it came to engineering and having the idea of studying engineering and playing NCAA golf,” said Marchand. “There were a lot of coaches that didn't think that was a great idea. A lot of people told me it wasn't a good idea to have such a big focus outside of golf.”
Marchand ultimately found a program at North Carolina State University that allowed her to play collegiately while simultaneously getting her degree. Now in her second year on the LPGA Tour, Marchand is proudly flying the flag for STEM education, partnering with She is Sport and its STEM Meets Sports campaign to create visibility for girls and women in science, technology, engineering and math.
Those nos that Marchand heard? She blew right past them.
“I wanted to prove them wrong and I did,” said Marchand, one of 15 Canadians in the field. “I wanted to show other girls they can do that, too. You don't have to necessarily just choose one over the other. I think it's great to kind of be involved in both.”
RACE TO THE CME GLOBE UPDATE
Heading into the 24th week of the 2019 Race to the GME Globe, three-time winner Jin Young Ko has a near stranglehold on the competition. With 3,437 points, Ko has a sizable lead over Jeongeun Lee6, who sits second with 2,341 points. Sung Hyun Park is third with 2,286 points, with Minjee Lee (2,279 points) and Brooke Henderson (2,228 points) rounding out the top five.
The 2019 season brings a fresh face to the Race to the CME Globe. LPGA Members will accumulate points at each official LPGA Tour event leading up to the CME Group Tour Championship. The top 60 points earners and ties will then earn a spot in the CME Group Tour Championship, with the entire field competing for the $5 million purse and the $1.5 million winner’s check, the largest single prize in the history of women’s golf.