The young LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship is returning this week for just its fourth playing. But this time around, the tournament won’t be found at Lake Merced Golf Club in Daly City. The championship will be held at The Saticoy Club for the tour’s fourth tournament in Southern California this season.
New Year, New Digs
After spending its first three years in the Bay Area, the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship is moving six hours south to The Saticoy Club, nestled in the hills of Somis, California on the Ventura County coast. The LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship will be the first professional golf event held at the 72-par course designed by William F. Bell. This year’s event will also be the first held in Ventura County in over 20 years. The last LPGA tournament to be held in the county was the final installment of Los Angeles Women’s Championship in 2000 at the Wood Ranch Golf Club in Simi Valley.
Historic Defending Champion
Last year, Matilda Castren made history at the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship: she became the first player from Finland to win on the LPGA tour – and she did it in dramatic fashion. Castren teed off in the fourth round at 7-under par and two shots off the lead. She proceeded to put on a clinic, carding five birdies and an eagle to finish -14 and set a tournament scoring record.
So far this season, Castren’s best finish is a second-place result at the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational alongside Malaysia’s Kelly Tan. Castren’s 2021 LPGA MEDIHEAL title remains her only victory on the tour.
This week will serve as a homecoming for Danielle Kang, who recently returned to the tour after taking time off due to injury. The Saticoy Club is located just 30 minutes west of Kang’s hometown, Thousand Oaks, and less than an hour from her alma mater – Pepperdine University.
Last year, Kang carded a career-best performance at the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship. She shot 7-under par and tied for fifth. In 2022, Kang has proved to be a contender regardless of injury. She turned in a second-place finish at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G, just her third tournament back on the tour. It was her best result since she earned the first victory of the 2022 with a -16 finish at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions.
More SoCal Roots
Kang is just one of several Southern California natives currently in the field. Fellow SoCal natives and LPGA winners that will join Kang are Andrea Lee, Ryann O’Toole and Mo Martin. Lee, who earned her first LPGA victory in September at the AmazingCre Portland Classic, is a Hermosa Beach native. O’Toole is a San Clemente-native and Martin hails from Altadena. O’Toole and Martin are also UCLA alums. But none are as close to home as Kang, their hometowns are over an hour away from The Saticoy Club without traffic.
A California Qualifier
Lucy Li, a Redwood Shores-native, turned in a -3 performance to Monday qualify for this week’s tournament. The LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship will be Li’s sixth LPGA event of the 2022 season. She most recently competed at the Dana Open presented by Marathon where she tied for fourth, her best finish so far.
Li was the first player on the Epson Tour to mathematically clinch her 2023 LPGA Tour card. She is a two-time Epson Tour winner with victories at the Carolina Golf Classic presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and the Twin Bridges Championship.
The now 20-year-old has been a star for a full decade since she qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links as a 10-year-old and then qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst No.2 at the age of 11.