The girls are back in the US and the sticks are going to start swinging in earnest on Thursday at the Wildfire Golf Club in Phoenix. America’s top-ranked golfer, Stacy Lewis, says she’s ready to defend her JTBC Founders Cup title against a field of 144 players that includes two very excited Monday qualifiers, Symerta Tour players Alex Stewart and Jenny Suh.
This is Stewart’s rookie year. Suh, who turned pro in 2008, got bumped back to the Symetra Tour last year. She’s playing hard to get her LPGA card back. The pair is coming down off the porch and will play with the big dogs this week!
It’s a Strong Field
Eighteen of the top-20 Rolex Ranked golfers, including the winners of the first four events of the 2014 – No. 27 Jessica Korda, No. 6 Karrie Webb, No. 15 Anna Nordqvist and No. 15 Paula Creamer are in the field. Rolex Ranked No. 1 Inbee Park, who’s off to a red hot start this season, will step up to the first tee coming off a victory at the LET’s World Ladies Championship in China.
There will also be 12 Tour rookies in the field, including Rolex Rankings No. 4 Lydia Ko who has a commanding lead in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year race. The 16-year old from New Zealand already has two top-10 finishes this season and leads Mirim Lee by 164 points on the points list. Alex Stewart and Jenny Suh have their work cut out for them.
Lewis’s 2013 Victory
Lewis overcame a four-shot deficit at the start of Sunday’s final round in 2013 and battled Japan’s Ai Miyazato down the stretch for a three-shot victory. The Texas native topped the week off by donating $50,000 to the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program on the 18th green. Can she pull another winning game out of her bag? She’s going to need more than she showed us at the HSBC Womens Champions in Singapore a couple of weeks ago.
Golf Channel will provide daily coverage, Thursday, March 20 & Friday, March 21, 6:30-9pm, and Saturday, March 22 & Sunday, March 23, 7-9pm, all times ET. And I’ll provide my usual player previews and a daily wrap-up of each round.