A SHORE TRADITION ON THE LPGA TOUR
Fresh off the season’s second major of the year, the LPGA Tour returns to South Jersey for the 25th edition of the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer. The tournament is one of three 54-hole tournaments on the 2019 schedule, along with the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G and the TOTO Japan Classic, and boasts a Hall of Fame list of champions that includes Karrie Webb, Annika Sorenstam, Betsy King, Se Ri Park, Nancy Lopez and Juli Inkster.
Despite inclement weather during the second round in 2018, Annie Park added her name to that historic list to become a Rolex First-Time winner after a spectacular Sunday finish. Park recorded an eagle and six birdies to complete a 54-hole score of 16-under 197, a stroke off the tournament record.
Park will join three other ShopRite LPGA Classic champions in the field this week, including two-time winners Anna Nordqvist (2016, 2015) and Stacy Lewis (2014, 2012) along with Webb (2013). The field also features 26 of the 27 2019 LPGA rookies, including newly turned professionals Maria Fassi and Jennifer Kupcho and 2019 U.S. Women’s Open Champion Jeongeun Lee6, who has yet to finish below 27th in any Tour event this season.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE SHOPRITE LPGA CLASSIC
- This is the 31st playing of the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer at the Bay Course at Seaview, A Dolce Hotel. The tournament was originally known as the Atlantic City LPGA Classic; its name was changed in 1992 to the ShopRite LPGA Classic when Wakefern Food Corporation took over as the sponsor. Acer, the presenting sponsor, signed on in 2013.
- Betsy King (1987, 1995, 2001) and Annika Sorenstam (1998, 2002, 2005) are the only three-time winners of the ShopRite LPGA Classic
- There have been 23 different winners in tournament history
- The 18-hole tournament record is 61, recorded in 2018 by Sakura Yokomine and Sei Young Kim
ANNIE PARK REFLECTS ON MEMORABLE FIRST VICTORY
For Annie Park, the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer is almost like home. Only a couple hours away from her hometown of Levittown, N.Y. on Long Island, it was the perfect place in 2018 for Park to earn her first victory on the LPGA Tour and become one of 10 Rolex First-Time winners of 2018. Park posted a final round 63 that included an eagle and six birdies in her first 14 holes to finish one stroke ahead of Japan’s Sakura Yokomine.
“When I think about that day, I just remember making long putts, and I always think back and wish I could do that again,” said Park. “Thankfully my family was there to witness it with me, and I think it was very memorable and just to look back on that Sunday, I can't thank my family enough and the fans and volunteers.”
So far in 2019, Park continues to work for the same spark she had in last year’s final round. Park’s best finish this year is T3 at the HUGEL-AIR PREMIA LA Open, where she posted her lowest round of the season thus far (66), but since then has failed to miss the cut in her last two events. In preparation for this year’s tournament, Park said she has worked on “everything, driver to putting” for a course she feels comfortable on.
“Hopefully I can do something better or the same. I guess I've had some really good finishes at this golf course, and I like the layout” said Park. “It can be tough with the wind, so I like how challenging it is in that aspect.”
And for this year, Park said she has some extra motivation on her side. “I have a lot of friends come out this week, and they're all pressuring me to win again so they can witness it in person.” said Park. “New York is roots for me. I was born here. So it's good to see having all my friends and family around this week.”
LEE6 REFOCUSED AFTER U.S. WOMEN’S OPEN WIN
Five days after turning 23-years-old, Jeongeun Lee6 went on to win her first career LPGA Tour victory at the U.S. Women’s Open Championship conducted by the USGA. Charleston and the world lay witness to Lee6 finishing at -6 and becoming the first player in championship history to earn the $1,000,000 winner’s check. But after a competitive weekend, the young Korean superstar now shifts her focus to the Jersey Shore, as she looks to earn back-to-back wins at the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer.
“I'm still a rookie player. Even though I won the U.S. Open, I still wanted to play well the rest of the tournaments, and I really want to focus on other tournaments and play well,” said Lee6. “I don't want to think about, ‘oh, I won the major tournament, so I'm good.’ I really want to play the rest of the tournaments.”
The six-time KLPGA winner barely had time to celebrate the win before heading to Seaview, A Dolce Hotel, but said she had a celebratory sushi dinner – her favorite, she said – with two of her managers. “I was really busy with sending all the messages to my fans and family and to everyone out there,” said Lee6. “My fingers were tired, it hurt a lot, because I've been sending so many messages and e-mails and phone calls to everyone. But yeah, I feel super happy that all my fans are proud of me, and even my family, and even here, the people who are big fans of me.”
With a goal to finish in the top-10 as much as possible in 2019, Lee6 is ready to take on the Bay Course this week. “I played on the course, and then my shots were pretty good,” said Lee6. “It's not that bad but I just have to focus more on the course management, and it feels weird, playing three rounds, because I like playing the four rounds because I have things to make an improvement. Playing three rounds, I think I should focus more, and then play well as much as I can.”
2019 Rolex First-Time Winner Bronte Law will play alongside two of the LPGA’s new moms, major champion Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller, off the first tee at 8:21 a.m. Friday
Defending champion Annie Park will tee off No. 1 at 8:32 a.m. on Friday alongside major champion Lexi Thompson and 2019 LPGA rookie Kristen Gillman
2019 U.S. Women’s Open winner Jeongeun Lee6 will tee off No. 10 at 1:10 p.m. with major champion Morgan Pressel and two-time LPGA winner Carlota Ciganda
RACE TO THE CME GLOBE UPDATE
Heading into the 14th week of the 2019 Race to the CME Globe, two-time 2019 winner Jin Young Ko continues to lead the standings with 2,240 points. She is followed by four other 2019 champions –Minjee Lee (1,718 points), Jeongeun Lee6 (1,417 points), Nelly Korda (1,340 points) and Brooke Henderson (1,324 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.