Players To Watch
Ariya Jutanugarn- Jutanugarn finished at (+2) in Los Angeles last week. It’s been an up and down past few events for Jutanguarn, finishing T61, 3rd, then T48. She played the same few events at T4, T3, and T24 last season. She played consistently at Lake Merced last year, shooting even or better in all four rounds to finish at T7 at (-7). She’s done that twice so far this year, at the Bank of Hope Founder’s Cup and Honda LPGA Thailand.
Minjee Lee- Lee comes in off a victory at the HUGEL-AIR PREMIA LA Open, the culmination of a strong start to the year. She had back to back 2ndplace finishes in Thailand and Singapore, and a T3 finish at the LOTTE Championship before her victory at Wilshire Country Club. Last year at the LPGA Mediheal Championship Lee lost in a playoff to Lydia Ko. On the first playoff hole Ko stuck her second shot on the par 5, 18thhole close to the flag, she tapped in for eagle and the win. Lee has also recorded a T18 and T11 finish at Lake Merced Golf Club during her rookie year in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
Lexi Thompson- Thompson ventures to Northern California looking to improve from her first missed cut since the Evian Championship in 2018. She sat in the top 10 after the first round of the Mediheal Championship last year, carding a 69, one off the best round of the day. It’s the best round she’s had at Lake Merced Country Club, but not the best finish. In 2016, Thompson posted T6, where she navigated difficult conditions to finish (-1) and be near the top of the leaderboard.
Lydia Ko Defends
Lydia Ko has won three times at Lake Merced Country Club over the four years an LPGA event has been hosted there. Ko won the then Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic in 2014 and 2015, including a playoff victory over Morgan Pressel. She then returned to the victory circle in 2018 in her second playoff victory, beating Minjee Lee with an eagle on the first playoff hole. Ron Sirak took a deep dive with Ko on her success at Lake Merced, which you can read here.
“When that putt dropped, I was like oh, my God. I actually thought my chip might go in the first time I played the 18th hole, but a lot of emotions. My whole team and my family, they've worked really hard for this moment, so I'm happy that a few of them are here and we can celebrate together.” Lydia Ko on her victory last year.
AON Risk Reward Hole
The longest hole on the course, this par 5 gives a player the chance to go for the green in two but she needs to balance the risk with the reward and navigate the 14 bunkers that protect this hole. A bunker down the right side of the fairway requires a carry of 240 yards so an accurate drive is essential here. The green is protected by a deep creek in front that also wraps around the back so club selection is important, especially when the pin is cut front right or back left.
Numbers to Know
$1,800,000- The purse for this week’s event
6,507- Yardage the field will play at the par 72 Lake Merced Country Club
70- The size of the field, and ties, that will make the cut
22- Number of LPGA rookies in the field this week
5-Number of times Lake Merced Country Club has hosted an LPGA event
About This Week
The LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship will air on the Golf Channel this week. It’s the fifth time the LPGA has visited Lake Merced Golf Club, after visiting from 2014-2016 in the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic. The Mediheal Championship will air just before the lights go down in the city on Thursday May 2ndthrough Sunday May 5th, from 6:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M.