HERE WE GO
12 weeks, 12 tournaments, three major championships. Summer is here and with it comes the longest LPGA Tour tournament stretch, starting with this week’s Kingsmill Championship Presented by JTBC in Williamsburg, Virginia. The 144-player field includes 20 of the top 25 players in the Rolex Rankings, 87 of the top 100 players on the 2017 LPGA Tour money list and six past Kingsmill champions, all competing for a $1.3 million purse at the Kingsmill Resort’s River Course.
At the 2016 Kingsmill Championship Presented by JTBC, Ariya Jutanugarn shot a final-round 67 to claim her second consecutive LPGA Tour victory, the second of her five tournament titles in 2016. Jutanugarn shot all four rounds in the 60s at the River Course and finished at 14-under par and one shot clear of rookie Su Oh of Australia. American Gerina Piller and Sei Young Kim of South Korea finished tied for third at 12-under par.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE KINGSMILL CHAMPIONSHIP PRESENTED BY JTBC
1 – Only Cristie Kerr (2005, 2009, 2013) has won the Kingsmill Championship multiple times
3 – Winners of the event who were Rolex First-Time Winners: Suzann Pettersen (2007), Lizette Salas (2014) and Minjee Lee (2015)
4 – Cristie Kerr’s three wins (2005, 2009, 2013) at the Kingsmill Championship have each come in four-year increments, with her last win coming in 2013 a win this year would keep the trend alive
9 – There’s been three playoffs in the event’s 13-year history and the epic nine-hole sudden death between Jiyai Shin and Paula Creamer in 2012 stands as the longest sudden-death playoff between two players in LPGA history
13 – This is the 13th edition of the Kingsmill Championship
62 – 18-hole scoring record, most recently shot by In Gee Chun in the second round in 2016
265 – Tournament record 19-under-par 72-hole score set by Annika Sorenstam in 2008
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DEFENDING CHAMPION AND WORLD NO. 3 ARIYA JUTANUGARN
In 10 starts in 2017, Jutanugarn has posted eight top-nine finishes, including three runner-up finishes (HSBC Women’s Champions, Bank of Hope Founders Cup, Citibanamex Lorena Ochoa Match Play presented by Aeromexico and Delta)
In February 2016, she was the No. 62 in the world; by the end of the 2016 season, Jutanugarn:
Won five LPGA titles
Became the first player in Tour history to have the first three wins of her career come in consecutive tournaments (Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic, Kingsmill Championship, Volvik Championship)
Became the first player since Inbee Park in 2013 to win three LPGA tournaments in a row
Won the Women’s British Open, becoming the first major champion (male or female) from Thailand
Became the second player to win the Rolex Player of the Year, Race to the CME Globe and the LPGA Official Money Title in the same season
Won the Rolex Player of the Year by 20 points over Lydia Ko to become the second-youngest winner in the 50-year history of the award, trailing only Ko in 2015
WHO’S IN THE FIELD
Past Kingsmill Championship Presented by JTBC Winners (6):
Ariya Jutanugarn (2016), Minjee Lee (2015), Lizette Salas (2014), Cristie Kerr (2013, 2009, 2005), Suzann Pettersen (2007), Karrie Webb (2006)
2017 Winners (8):
Brittany Lincicome (Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic), Amy Yang (Honda LPGA Thailand), Anna Nordqvist (Bank of Hope Founders Cup), Mirim Lee (Kia Classic), So Yeon Ryu (ANA Inspiration), Cristie Kerr (LOTTE Championship Presented by Hershey), Haru Nomura (Volunteers of America Texas Shootout Presented by JTBC) and Sei Young Kim (Citibanamex Lorena Ochoa Match Play presented by Aeromexico and Delta)
2017 Rookies (21):
Aditi Ashok, Nicole Broch Larsen, Peiyun Chien, Karen Chung, Regan De Guzman, Dana Finkelstein, Laura Gonzalez Escallon, Jennifer Ha, Nasa Hataoka, Nelly Korda, Olafia Kristinsdottir, Bronte Law, Sung Hyun Park, Maria Parra, Katherine Perry, Mel Reid, Madelene Sagstrom, Madeleine Sheils, Mariah Stackhouse, Emily Tubert, Angel Yin
KINGSMILL IS LAP 11 OF RACE TO CME GLOBE
This week’s Kingsmill Championship Presented by JTBC will mark the 11th event in the season-long Race to CME Globe. ANA Inspiration champion and World No. 2 So Yeon Ryu holds a narrow lead in the current Race to the CME Globe standings with 1,605 points. Reigning Race to the CME Globe winner Ariya Jutanugarn is close behind with 1,525 points, and she is followed closely by Cristie Kerr (1211) and Inbee Park (1082).
In 2017, the reset points for the Race to the CME Globe will be modified slightly. As a result of these modifications:
The top five finishers entering Naples will control their own destiny at the CME Group Tour Championship
If a player in the top five wins in Naples, she will also win the $1M CME Globe
The top 12 finishers entering Naples will have a mathematical chance to win the $1M CME Globe
Please note that previously, the top three controlled their destiny and top nine had a mathematical chance
The Kingsmill Championship field features 21 of the 37 2017 LPGA Tour rookies, the most to tee it up at a tournament this season.
With seven tournaments under her belt and seven top 25s to boot, South Korean rookie Sung Hyun Park is the early leader in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award. With 406 points, Park leads Angel Yin, who has four top 25s in eight events this season, by 181 points.
Regan De Guzman (four starts, four MC), Madeleine Sheils (one start, one MC) and Mariah Stackhouse (two starts, two MC) will be looking to make their first cuts as LPGA Tour members.
In 2017, the LPGA expanded its global representation with the addition of five rookies from new countries: Aditi Ashok (India), Laura Gonzalez Escallon (Belgium), Daniela Darquea (Ecuador), Olafia Kristinsdottir (Iceland) and Krista Puisite (Latvia). Ashok, Escallon and Kristinsdottir will be in action at the Kingsmill Championship.
Teeing it up on the River Course alongside the 144-player field will be Maryland native and sponsor invite Kaylin Yost. In March, the hearing-impaired Yost made waves by Monday qualifying and subsequently playing the weekend in her first LPGA tournament at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
“I think she’s such an intriguing story,” Kingsmill Championship Tournament Director Matthew Schulze said. “Having her life challenges, then trying to give up on her dream and realizing she couldn’t not continue to try to play on the LPGA is inspiring.”
Read more about Kaylin’s story in a piece by the Daily Press’ David Teel: http://www.dailypress.com/dp-spt-teel-column-kaylin-yost-kingsmill-20170513-column.html
Kingsmill is the only LPGA Tour stop in Virginia, and three LPGA players will tee it up in a place that is close to their hearts.
Rolex Rankings No. 28 Brittany Lang, the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open champion, was born in nearby Richmond, Virginia. In nine appearances at the Kingsmill Resort, her career-best finish is 12th in 2014.
Sandra Changkija was born in Alexandria, Virginia, and she has yet to miss the stop at the Kingsmill Championship, making the cut in three of her five starts.
Brittany Altomare was a four-time All-American and the 2013 ACC Player of the Year while attending the University of Virginia. At the 2016 Kingsmill Championship, she recorded her first career top-20 finish (T-18), and has since earned four more.