TEAM JELLY BRINGING SISTER ENERGY TO DOW GLBI
“We're like, ‘Jelly, that's perfect.’”
Jessica and Nelly Korda, known this week as Team Jelly, came up with their team name for the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational during a practice round at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. When the two heard of the inaugural team event, picking a partner came with no hesitation.
“I've always wanted to play some sort of team event with my sister and what a great opportunity to be able to do that. Obviously also kind of good prep for Solheim, but we're really excited,” said Jessica.
“I think it's going to be a really exciting event,” added Nelly. “It's definitely something new and we'll see how this week goes, but today we already played alternate shot together and it went well, so that was good.”
The Kordas have their own separate experiences in team events. Jessica played on the 2013 U.S. Solheim Cup Team (she also qualified in 2017 but withdrew due to injury) and represented the USA at the 2018 UL International Crown, with a 2-2-0 record. Nelly was a member of the victorious 2015 U.S. Junior Solheim Team. They will finally play on the same team this year, as both players have clinched spots on the U.S. Solheim Cup Team.
Nelly said the last time the two were paired together was her rookie year in 2017. She said she is ready to have the chance to play a 72-hole event side-by-side with Jessica. “I just hope she doesn't push my buttons,” joked Nelly, who is nearly six years younger than Jessica (currently 20 and 26).
Jessica said the bond between the siblings and their caddies is a key for the team this week. “I think honestly our caddies are really easy going as well and we're taking this as a really fun opportunity for us,” said Jessica. “Obviously we want to win and play our best, and, you know, if we just keep playing our own games, we're going to be just fine. In terms of having fun out there, that's just a given.”
LPGA TOUR READY TO #TEAMUP AT INAUGURAL DOW GREAT LAKES BAY INVITATIONAL
For the first time in LPGA history, team play is part of the Tour’s official schedule. The Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, a 72-hole, stroke-play tournament, will feature 71 two-player teams competing in the foursomes and four-ball formats with a $2 million purse. Among the teams competing at Midland Country Club in Midland, Mich., are Rolex Rankings No. 2 Jin Young Ko and No. 4 Minjee Lee; sister acts Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarnand Jessica and Nelly Korda; and 2019 European Solheim Cup Captain Catriona Matthew and Vice-Captain Suzann Pettersen, who is playing in her first LPGA Tour event since giving birth in August 2018.
The Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational further strengthens the partnership between the LPGA and Dow. In 2018, Dow joined the LPGA Tour as an Official Marketing Partner, and it also serves as a founding partner of the LPGA’s new online platform, the LPGA Women’s Network.
While this is the first official team event for the LPGA Tour, there have been several unofficial team competitions since the Tour was founded in 1950. Notable unofficial team events include the Hot Springs 4-Ball Invitational (1955-58) and the Women’s World Cup of Golf (2000, 2005-08). Also, the Wendy’s 3-Tour Challenge (1992-2013) and Hyundai Team Matches (1994-97, 1999-2002) included competitors from the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions.
PETTERSEN TEAMS UP WITH MATTHEW IN RETURN
Suzann Pettersen is returning to the LPGA Tour this week to team up with European Solheim Cup Captain Catriona Matthew at the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational. This will be Pettersen’s first LPGA start since giving birth to her son Herman Alexander in August 2018.
“We play golf forever, but when you haven't been around it for a long time, it's like starting working out. It's tough until you kind of get over the hurdle and the more you kind of practice, the more frustrating it gets. That part I definitely didn't miss,” said Pettersen, whose last LPGA start came at the 2017 CME Group Tour Championship. “But once you kind of get going, you start feeling like you've done this before and some automatic instincts come around and you start -- at least, I mean, game is getting better and better. I feel awfully good.”
The 15-time LPGA winner will have her husband Christian Ringvold on the bag this week and her parents in Midland to watch Herman, who was running around the clubhouse on Monday.
“I love being a mom,” said Pettersen as she contemplated her year away from golf. “I've loved every second with him being at home. It's just the greatest gift, to be honest.”
While Pettersen is getting back into her groove, Matthew, who won the 2009 Women's British Open 11 weeks after giving birth to her second daughter, is preparing to take a step back from life on the road. She plans to play primarily in Europe following this week’s event.
“Obviously this is my 25th year on Tour,” said Matthew. “I've had a great time, had a great run. My two daughters at home, they're 12 and 10 now, just getting to that age where they need you at home a bit more. It just seemed like the right time.”
Pettersen, an eight-time member of the European Solheim Cup team, will serve as a Vice Captain for Matthew at the Solheim Cup in Gleneagles this September. Matthew is looking forward to teeing it up alongside Pettersen, but also sees the great opportunity to size up potential Team Europe members in this week’s unique format.
“Match play sometimes is a slightly easier format, so we'll see what it's like being out there taking a score,” said Matthew of the foursomes/four-ball format. “I think it's just fun. I always think that's why I've loved the Solheim so much, because you've got a teammate there and obviously you've got more than one, but it's just different because golf is so individual usually that to have that camaraderie out on the golf course is good fun.”
NOTABLE FIRST-ROUND GROUPINGS
The sister duos of Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn and Jessica and Nelly Korda will play together, starting at 9:40 a.m. off the 10th tee
Dow Ambassador Suzann Pettersen and European Solheim Cup CaptainCatriona Matthew will play with European stalwarts Anna Nordqvist and Caroline Hedwall, off No. 1 at 1:15 p.m.
A quartet of American favorites – Lexi Thompson and Cristie Kerr, along with #TeamBabyMamas Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller – will tee off No. 10 at 9:30 a.m.
RACE TO THE CME GLOBE UPDATE
Heading into the 20th week of the 2019 Race to the CME Globe, Jin Young Ko leads the standings with 2,412 points. Rolex Rankings No. 1 Sung Hyun Park sits in second with 2,055 points, just four points clear of Lexi Thompson, who has 2,051 points, and 10 points ahead of Brooke Henderson, who has 2,045 points. Jeongeun Lee6 rounds out the top five with 1,941 points.
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.
DOW GREAT LAKES BAY INVITATIONAL FORMAT
The tournament is a 72-hole, stroke-play team event with teams comprised of two players. The first and third rounds will be played in foursomes (alternate shot) and the second and final rounds will be played in a four-ball (best-ball) format. After 36 holes, the field will be cut to the low 35 teams and ties.
In the event of a playoff, the champions will be determined by a hole-by-hole playoff in the foursomes format.
Each LPGA Member on the winning team will receive the standard two-year winner’s exemption on the LPGA Priority List. Winners will also get into the 2019 Evian Championship, 2020 ANA Inspiration and 2020 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, as well as the 2020 and 2021 Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions. CME points and prize money will be official for the purposes of the current-year LPGA Official Money List and Race to the CME Globe Standings. Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, Rolex Player of the Year, Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year and U.S. Solheim Cup points will not be allocated, and statistics will not be calculated.