Preview of the LPGA, Bank of Hope Founders Cup in Phoenix, AZ
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Course: Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa
Distance: 6,679 yards
Defending Champion: Anna Nordqvist -25
Prize Fund: $1,500,000
The first event of the LPGA in the USA in 2018 sees the players head to Phoenix. The top 2 players in the world are not here this week but there is still a quality line up.
We will start with defending champion Anna Nordqvist. The Swedish player currently ranked 5th in the world has had a slow start to the season finishing 19th & 24th in her 2 tournaments so far. She will be looking to find the form that saw her lift two trophies last year, including a major. Last year, on the way to victory, she fired a course record 61! don't be surprised to see her name at the top of the leaderboard on Sunday.
2 weeks ago in Singapore Michelle Wie drained a monster putt to clinch her first win since the US Open in 2014. The signs had been there for a while and she had been knocking on the door for well over a year, but injures had hampered her. With the win she jumped to 14th place in the Rolex Rankings. Prior to her victory she had finished 11th in both her previous tournaments. This will be a chance for Michelle, much like Tiger Woods in his next tournament to show she really is back.
The highest ranked player going into this event is 2017 rookie and player of the year Sung Hyun Park. The world number 3 has got off to a slow start compared to last year falling outside the top 20 in both her tournaments. Compare that to last year and she only finished outside the top 20 on 4 occasions all season! Will she get her season going back on American soil.
This is usually a very low scoring event so look no further than Charly Hull and Brooke Henderson. Hull, currently leads the amount of birdies this season and is capable of firing 4 low rounds. While Henderson's form continues to be hot. This could be just the event where she picks up her first victory of 2018. After strong showings this season already, where she finished 2nd in Singapore last time out with a stunning final round capped with off with a birdie on 18.
One player who loves this event is Kiwi Lydia Ko. In the last 4 years she has finished 2,6,2 and 8th last year. She has not hit top form for a while, and some of that has been put down to the changes she has made off the course. However, a 10th place last time out means she will definitely be one to watch this weekend.
We could go through half the field, but, the final player we will pick out is Jin Young Ko. Jin, currently leads the Race to the CME Globe after a fantastic start to 2018 in her rookie season. After winning on her tour debut as a full time pro in Australia, she backed that up with 2 top 10s in Thailand and Singapore. Will her form continue back on American soil? We see no reason why not.
It looks like it will be another fascinating week is in store on the LPGA.
This week- Brooke Henderson (Can)
Minjee Lee (6th)
Shanshan Feng (5th)
Brooke Henderson (9th)
Cheyenne Woods (34th)