With Inbee Park‘s abrupt withdrawal from the LPGA Safeway Classic Sponsored by Coca-Cola and the final hour addition of two newcomers, PK Kongkraphan and Kristina Merkle, we could be looking at some surprises over the next few days.
Mika Miyazato played to an exciting victory over Inbee Park and Brittany Lincicome last year. Kongkraphan, a rising star on the Symetra Tour, the LPGA’s development tour, and Merkle, an amateur, both carded rounds in the high 60s in Monday’s qualifying event. With some fresh blood in the field, we could be getting ready to witness a tournament with a surprise ending!
Gaining a slot at the Safeway was especially sweet for Kongkraphan, a top money earner on the Symetra Tour this year, who has attempted twice and failed twice to qualify for an LPGA event. This could be her big break, and she played well in the qualifier, hitting a hot streak of 5 birdies on the front 9!
The Safeway’s no toss-away. There’s a $1.3 million purse at stake and the new faces are going up against some heavy hitters, even with Park out of the picture. Karrie Webb, Lexi Thompson, Suzann Pettersen, Morgan Pressel, Lizette Salas, and Beatriz Ricari, just to mention a few, are all teeing off tomorrow for the 72-hole tournament.
The Golf Channel will provide coverage throughout the 72-hole event, which is being played at the Columbia Edgewater Country Club in Portland Oregon: Thursday, 5:30-8:30pm; Friday, 6:30-8:30pm; Saturday, 6:30-8:30pm; and Sunday, 7-9pm, all times ET. And I’ll provide a nightly wrap-up as well.