The LPGA Tour is just across the Upper New York Bay from the Big Apple this week for the inaugural Mizuho Americas Open at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, N.J. The 120-player field is studded with stars as seven of the top 10 players in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings and seven of the eight 2023 LPGA Tour winners are set to tee it up in the shadow of Lady Liberty.
This event will also feature 24 top-ranked AJGA juniors playing a no-cut, 72-hole Stableford competition. After the 36-hole professional cut is made after Friday to the top-50 and ties, the weekend groupings will see one AJGA amateur playing with two LPGA pros.
Here are some of the featured groups to keep an eye on this week at the Mizuho Americas Open:
Thursday, 8:21 a.m.
Nasa Hataoka/Jennifer Kupcho/Georgia Hall
It’s been a bit of a ho-hum year for six-time LPGA Tour winner Nasa Hataoka. She’s recorded six top-15 finishes in eight starts, the best of which was a solo fifth at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions. The 24-year-old played well at the Tour’s last stop in the Garden State, the Cognizant Founders Cup at Upper Montclair Country Club in Clifton, N.J, and will look to find that same form in Jersey City.
Jennifer Kupcho also hasn’t had much of a year to write home about, missing two cuts in nine starts and recording a season-best T16 finish at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions. But the Wake Forest University alum has proven that she can play well at storied, well-known venues, winning the 2022 Chevron Championship at Mission Hills Country Club and finishing T16 at last year’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Congressional Country Club, not to mention capturing the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur title in 2019.
On the flip side, Georgia Hall has had a stellar 2023 season, earning seven top-15 finishes in eight starts, including back-to-back runner-up results at the LPGA Drive On Championship at Superstition Mountain and the DIO Implant LA Open. Her worst result this season is a T44 that came at the JM Eagle LA Championship presented by Plastpro and she finished in a tie for tenth at the Cognizant Founders Cup a few weeks ago. Hall ranks second in sub-par holes, second in rounds under par, third in birdies, fifth in scoring average and 12th in greens in regulation this season.
Thursday, 8:32 a.m.
Jin Young Ko/Patty Tavatanakit/Danielle Kang
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Jin Young Ko earned her 15th career LPGA Tour victory at the Cognizant Founders Cup, winning in a playoff over Minjee Lee to capture her third Founders Cup in five total starts. Ko regained the top spot in the Rolex Rankings following the victory, and considering her affinity for New Jersey golf and with a week off’s worth of rest ahead of Mizuho, she’s certainly at the top of the list of players who could hoist the trophy come Sunday.
Patty Tavatanakit looked like herself again at the Hanwha LIFEPLUS International Crown earlier this month, helping the Thailand team to their first Crown title with an impressive 4-1-0 performance. She’s had a solid 2023 season after a challenging 2022, missing just one cut and earning one top-five finish, a T3 at the DIO Implant LA Open, in her eight previous starts.
Rounding out the group, Danielle Kang has been struggling a bit with her ball-striking and comes to Liberty National looking to regain the form that she had earlier this season. Despite the challenges, 2023 has seen some strong golf from the 30-year-old. She has earned three top-15 finishes, including a T3 that came at the HSBC Women’s World Championship, and missed no cuts, only withdrawing at the LPGA Drive On Championship due to illness.
Thursday, 1:10 p.m.*
Grace Kim/Ayaka Furue/Maja Stark
Rookie Grace Kim became a Rolex First-Time Winner earlier this season at the LOTTE Championship presented by Hoakalei, but hit a snag right after the victory, missing the cut at both The Chevron Championship and the JM Eagle LA Championship presented by Plastpro. However, the Australian found her footing once again, finishing T10 at the Cognizant Founders Cup in Clifton, N.J. and it will be interesting to see how she performs at Liberty National Golf Club.
Japan native Ayaka Furue is coming off a second-place showing at last week’s Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play presented by MGM Rewards, falling in the championship match for the second consecutive year. The Rolex Rankings No. 17 has been trending towards her second career LPGA Tour victory this season, recording four top-five finishes, including her runner-up performance in Las Vegas.
Maja Stark is also riding some momentum into the second New Jersey event of the 2023 season. The Swede just missed out on a berth in the Elite Eight at the Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play and finished ninth, her fourth top-15 result of the year. Two of those finishes are top-fives, coming at the Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions and the Honda LPGA Thailand, where Stark finished T2 and T4, respectively.
*Starting on No. 10