After the long break, a final-round 67 at the Marathon LPGA Classic put a big smile on Marina Alex’s face. Her unexpected offseason was made even longer when she tested positive for COVID-19 prior to traveling to Ohio, even though she never showed any symptoms. With a clean bill of health after the required quarantine period, Alex finished T5 at Highland Meadows Golf Club.
“First couple days were tough. Just been ages since competing, as I'm sure everyone has said that, especially last week and this week,” said Alex after her round. “But it was good. I felt like today it finally was a little bit more of how it felt to compete before we had a stop. Good to get a little momentum.”
This is by far her best finish at the Marathon LPGA Classic, never finishing better than 25th in her previous five appearances. For someone who admits to being slow to return to competitive form after an extended break, Alex feels this is a good sign for the rest of her season.
“I've always felt like I struggle the first few events back at the start of every year because I can't quite get the switch from practice to tournament,” said Alex, who earned her second consecutive top-five finish, joining a tie for fourth at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. “I think it comes easier or harder for some people, so to get off to a good start out of the gate like this was actually really refreshing. I didn't have a lot expectation for myself, so this was a good week.”
The LPGA Tour wrapped up its pre-charter testing on Sunday ahead of next week’s Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open. A total of 120 players and caddies were tested in advance of their travel to Scotland and all of the tests came back negative.
AIG WOMEN’S OPEN QUALIFYING RESULTS
There were 10 spots available this week at the Marathon LPGA Classic presented by Dana for the 2020 AIG Women’s Open, to be held Aug. 20-23 at Royal Troon in Scotland. The 10 spots were determined by the players with the 10 lowest scores after 72 holes at this week’s Marathon LPGA Classic. In the case of a tie for 10th, a series of tiebreakers have been set to determine the final qualifier. If one of the qualifiers elects to not play in the AIG Women’s Open, the spot will not go down to the next available player. Any unused spots will be allocated to the qualifier at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open.
The following 10 players qualified for the AIG Women’s Open:
- Emma Talley, 276
- Andrea Lee, 276
- Patty Tavatanakit, 277
- Maria Fassi, 277
- Kendall Dye, 277
- Sophia Popov, 277
- Kelly Tan, 277
- Peiyun Chien, 278
- Dottie Ardina, 278
- Lindy Duncan, 279 (winner of a tiebreaker with Elizabeth Szokol and Matilda Castren)
CME GROUP CARES CHALLENGE – SCORE 1 FOR ST. JUDE
The CME Group Cares Challenge is a season-long charitable giving program that turns aces into donations. CME Group donated $20,000 for each hole-in-one made on the LPGA Tour in 2019, with a minimum guaranteed donation of $500,000 to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, which is leading the way in how the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
Louise Ridderstrom made the fifth hole-in-one of the 2020 LPGA Tour season on Friday, acing the 135-yard eighth hole with an 8-iron. It was her fifth career hole-in-one. The 2020 season has seen five aces, for a total of $100,000 donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
The 2019 LPGA Tour season saw 32 aces from 31 different players, for a total of $620,000. This more than covers the average cost of $425,000 needed to treat a pediatric cancer patient.