LPGA KICKS OFF SUMMER AT PURE SILK CHAMPIONSHIP
After a two-week break, the LPGA Tour returns to Williamsburg, Virginia at the Kingsmill Resort River Course for the 15th edition of the Pure Silk Championship presented by Visit Williamsburg. The tournament is the start of 12 straight events, which runs until the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open in August.
At the 2018 event at the Kingsmill Resort, weather forced the tournament to shorten to 54 holes. In the final round of regulation, 2016 champion Ariya Jutanugarn birdied six of her first 11 holes to storm her way into contention. Jutanugarn eventually defeatedIn Gee Chun and Nasa Hataoka in two playoff holes to secure her first of three wins last season, and the eighth of her LPGA career.
Jutanugarn returns this year looking to match Cristie Kerr as a three-time winner at Kingsmill Resort, alongside a field with five of the tournaments’ past winners, including Kerr (2013, 2009, 2005), Minjee Lee (2015), Lizette Salas (2014) and Karrie Web (2009). Eight of the 2019 season’s winners will tee it up including Rolex Rankings No. 1 Jin Young Ko, along with eight others inside the Rolex Rankings top-10.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE PURE SILK CHAMPIONSHIP
- This is the 15th playing of the Pure Silk Championship presented by Visit Williamsburg at the Kingsmill Resort River Course. Formally known as the Kingsmill Championship, Pure Silk agreed to a three-year deal from 2019-2021 as the title sponsor.
- There are 12 different winners in the tournament’s history. Cristie Kerr (2013, 2009, 2005) and Ariya Jutanugarn (2018, 2016) are the only multiple time winners.
- There have been four playoffs in the event’s 14-year history, including a 9-hole sudden-death in 2012 between Jiyai Shin and Paula Creamer.
- There are eight countries represented by the 12 different champions, with the most coming from the United States (3 different winners).
- The overall tournament record is -20 set by Lexi Thompson in 2017, featuring three 65s.
JUTANUGARN LOOKING FOR THE THREE-PEAT AT PURE SILK CHAMPIONSHIP
On the final day of the 2018 Pure Silk Championship presented by Visit Williamsburg, Ariya Jutanugarn carded six birdies in the final round to lead to a playoff against In Gee Chun and Nasa Hataoka. It only took two extra holes and two birdies for Jutanugarn to secure her first of three wins during the 2018 season and her second victory at the Kingsmill Resort River Course.
The win was the catalyst of what became an impressive year for the former World No. 1. Jutanugarn went on to win the U.S. Women's Open and the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open, sweep the season-ending awards including the Rolex Player of the Year and nab the Race to the CME Globe title. At this year’s tournament, she is looking to start fresh, even if it means not dwelling on her 2018 accomplishments.
“It's getting more tough and tough like when try not compare myself to last year, but I still doing okay with that. Even like sometime I thinking about the outcome so much so it make me feel harder to play well,” said Jutanugarn. “I just really have to come back and really focus on like the thing under my control. I been working that with like my coach. So I think I'm getting better.”
Her highest placement this year was at the LOTTE Championship, where she tied for third. She said it was in Hawaii that she started to feel herself focus on her “process,” thanks in part to her team around her. “I feel I'm so lucky, because like every time when I feel struggle they help me, they support me, they always give me the best support,” said Jutanugarn.
With a two-week break under her belt, Jutanugarn feels rejuvenated and ready to keep her mindset in check. A win this week would make her the second three-time winner of this event, along with Cristie Kerr. “I'm going to say last few months only thing I think is I want to play well. I want to finish top 10. I keep asking like why. I keep asking myself why,” said Jutanugarn. “But right now I'm just going to tell myself like how I'm going to do this. So just come back to that. I think I'm on my way.”
SALAS REFLECTS ON FIVE-YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF WIN
Lizette Salas has fond memories of the 2014 edition of the Pure Silk Championship presented by Visit Williamsburg. Leading the tournament in the final round, she recorded only one bogey on the day to finish 13-under 271 and nab her first and only win on the LPGA Tour. She calls it a “fantastic moment” of her career, a memory she hopes to repeat again.
“I'm still trying to figure out what happened that day and try to apply it to every other golf tournament. You know, everything just fell into place that week,” said Salas. “I remember just being in the state of mind where nothing was throwing me off.”
In fact, Salas said she went to the outlet mall the morning of the final round and bought a handbag, a purchase she keeps close to the heart. “I still have that handbag to just remind me of that's what you did and you were so relaxed and so focused; ready to have fun and get it done,” said Salas. “My mom wanted to use it and I told her the story and she's like, ‘Yeah, never mind. I'm going to put it away.’”
The past few years in Virginia have been disappointing to Salas, who has only made the cut one time at Kingsmill Resort since her lone victory. “I try not to think about it anymore. I remember I did make a few changes that probably weren't the best idea. You know, you learn from your mistakes. I still have that confidence that I can play well here, so I'm just going to stick to the game plan,” said Salas. “I know my game is there and I've been saying all year I'm close, I'm close. Probably make a big step forward this week.”
Salas comes into the 2019 tournament with three top-20 finishes in the last four events, momentum she wants to turn into another victory. “I think it all comes down to how you view things and yourself. I know I'm a top player and I can win again. It's just a matter of everything falling into place. It takes skill, luck; it takes a lot of things.”
FITTING FINALE FOR LINCICOME
Brittany Lincicome learned two days before Christmas she was expecting her first child, a baby girl, with her husband Dewald Gouws on Sept. 1.
At this week’s Pure Silk Championship, Lincicome is making her seventh start of the 2019 LPGA season and has announced it will be her last event of the year.
“It's really bittersweet because I feel so good that I really just want to keep playing as long as possible...Just next week with the U.S Women’s Open it's so stressful and it's such a big week that I didn't want that much stress in my life. I just wanted to play normal events.”
Lincicome looked to new moms like Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller for advice on what to expect from motherhood and when to hang up the clubs for the season. As a Pure Silk ambassador, this week in Williamsburg lined up perfectly for Lincicome to make her last start.
“Obviously being a sponsor this week, it kind of worked out perfectly if this is my last week,” Lincicome said. “Obviously wanted to play for them. My mom loves coming to this one. I love coming to this one. So many good memories here. So my husband and I actually when he first came over from South Africa when we were dating this is the first event he came to, so there are so many good memories.
“It's cool to be back. It's definitely a stop on tour that I look forward to every single year, so it's kind of fitting if it is my last one that it's the perfect one.”
Lincicome’s season-best finish came at her first event of the year in the form of a T22 finish at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions, which coincidentally is where Lincicome is targeting her return in 2020.
In 2019, there are 11 mothers active on the LPGA Tour: Laura Diaz, Karine Icher, Juli Inkster, Cristie Kerr, Stacy Lewis, Catriona Matthew, Sydnee Michaels, Brooke Pancake, Suzann Pettersen, Gerina Piller and Rachel Rohanna. Additionally, along with Lincicome, Sarah Jane Smith is expecting her first child in July 2019 and Jackie Stoelting is expecting her first child in October 2019.
RACE TO THE CME GLOBE UPDATE
Heading into a 12-week stretch and the 12th week of the 2019 Race to the GME Globe, two-time 2019 winner Jin Young Ko holds a commanding lead over fellow 2019 winner Minjee Lee in the standings at 2,121 points and 1,577 points respectively. 2019 tournament winner Eun-Hee Ji is in third with 1,279 points followed by Rolex Rankings No. 10 Nelly Korda with 1,264 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.
TOURNAMENT SCORING RECORDS
18 holes: 62 (-9), In Gee Chun (third round, 2016) and Jiyai Shin (first round, 2012)
36 holes: 129 (-13), Lorena Ochoa, 2009
54 holes: 197 (-16), Paula Creamer, 2012
72 holes: 264 (-20), Lexi Thompson, 2017