Manulife Financial LPGA Classic Preview and TV Schedule


Apr 4, 2015; Rancho Mirage, CA, USA; Inbee Park tees off on the sixth hole during the third round of the ANA Inspiration at Mission Hills CC – Dinah Shore Tournament Course. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The LPGA Tour travels to Canada this week for the fourth edition of the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic, contested for the first time at Whistle Bear Golf Club, Cambridge, Ontario.  World ranked number two Inbee Park is the defending champion.

More from Pro Golf Now

Whistle Bear, a relatively new links style track designed to wind through a natural wetlands and forest habitat, will play par-72, 6613 yards this week.  We’ll know more about how the course measures up against the world’s best golfers on Sunday afternoon.

Last year, after delivering three rounds of rather relaxed golf, Inbee Park stormed back into contention in the final round of the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic with an astonishing 10-under par, edging out Cristie Kerr, Shanshan Feng, Belen Mozo and Lydia Ko.  She certainly has the game in her bag to repeat that performance, and Kerr, Feng, Mozo and Ko are all in the field this week.

However, I’m looking for a different contest this week.  I’m expecting both Park and Stacy Lewis to play at or near the top of the board as they both turn up the heat going into next week’s inaugural KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

Park and Lewis, are not alone among the top-ranked players in their quest for a win this week.  Twenty-first ranked Morgan Pressel and10th ranked Suzann Pettersen are both poised for a 2015 win, Pressel perhaps a bit moreso than Pettersen, but look for both of them to be playing for the top of the board this week as well.

I’m also looking for a strong performance from several younger players.  Brooke and Brittany Henderson, both playing on sponsor invites, are hometown favorites and will enjoy tremendous fan support.  I have the sisters on my radar.

More from Golf News

Brooke will bring the additional boost of having been named this week to the Canadian team for the TORONTO 2015 Pan American Games next month.  The combined decision by the Canadian Olympic Committee and Golf Canada surely signals a pending decision to send Brooke Henderson to Rio next year under the maple leaf flag.

Tour rookies Alison Lee and Kelly Shon are also players to watch this week.  They’ve both had a recent taste of life at the top of the leaderboard and they’re both delivering very strong games.  My crystal ball tells me they’re both positioned to notch a victory before the 2015 season ends.

Finally, Charley Hull — perhaps the most casual rookie on the Tour — is in the field this week.  I keep waiting for Hull to wake up and start playing that game I saw two years ago in her match against Paula Creamer.  Perhaps it will appear this week at Whistle Bear?

Golf Channel will provide daily coverage of all four rounds of the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic: Thursday, June 4 and Friday, June 5, noon – 2pm; Saturday, June 6 and Sunday, June 7, 2:30-5:30pm, all times ET.

You can, of course, follow the action at the Manulife live via the LPGA electronic leaderboard and ProGolfNow will provide ongoing coverage throughout the tournament.  Follow us on Twitter @ProGolfNow and we’ll notify you when we publish updates to the Manulife as well as other news

Next: It's Not Going to be Your Traditional US Open