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Kraft Nabisco Championship's top storylines
April 01, 2013

Back to where it all began
Stacy’s Back… and this time she is no underdog. Rolex Rankings No. 1 Stacy Lewis this week returns to the Kraft Nabisco Championship, where she became a Rolex First-Time winner and won her first major championship at the Kraft Nabisco Championship in 2011. Lewis has come a long way since notching her first victory on tour. The Texas native was ranked No. 28 in the Rolex Rankings the week she outdueled then No. 1 Yani Tseng in the final round at the Kraft Nabisco.

The tables will be turned quite a bit now that Lewis is playing in her first major with the No. 1 target on her back. Lewis has since won six more times on tour and already has two wins this season. She has two additional top-10 finishes and is in true form to clinch her second major championship this week. The reigning Rolex Player of the Year leads the tour in eleven statistical categories including No. 1 on the official money, scoring average, Player of the Year points and U.S. Solheim Cup Team points.

Coming off a break
Plenty of eyes will be on Rolex Rankings No. 2 Yani Tseng to see how she bounces back after not playing in the LPGA’s last event at the Kia Classic due to a missed pro-am tee time. Tseng, who won her second-career major championship at the Kraft Nabisco in 2010, seems to always play well at Mission Hills Country Club. She’s finished in the top-25 in each of her five starts at the Kraft Nabisco, including three top-3 finishes in the past three years.

The former world No. 1 also has the chance to make history once again this week. With a win, Tseng would become the youngest professional golfer to win six major championships, a mark currently held by Tiger Woods at 26 years, 3 months and 9 days when he won the 2001 Masters. Tseng already holds the record for youngest player to five majors when she won the 2011 RICOH Women’s British Open at 22 years, six months and eight days.

IK Back to Mission Hills
It was just a year ago that I.K. Kim captured the attention of the entire golf world after she missed a 14-inch putt on the 72nd hole at the Kraft Nabisco Championship that would have won her the tournament. Kim became a cover star of many golf publications as the world immediately sympathized with the shock shown by the diminutive, 5-foot-3 golfer. But while the putt certainly impacted Kim, it hasn’t defined her on the golf course since then and there seems to be no one more excited than Kim to get back to Mission Hills this week.

Kim, who lost to Sun Young Yoo in a playoff at last year’s Kraft Nabisco, is coming off a solid finish at the 2013 Kia Classic. Kim finished runner-up for the sixth time in her career, as she lost to Beatriz Recari in a two-hole playoff. It was Kim’s second top-10 finish of the 2013 season. She also finished T10 at the Honda LPGA Thailand back in February.

Ko back on the big stage
Fifteen year-old amateur sensation Lydia Ko will make her third LPGA Tour appearance of the season this week, having qualified for the field with her win at the CN Canadian Women’s Open in 2012. Ko took the golf world by storm after she became the youngest winner in LPGA Tour history last year and continues to be a contending presence in professional events, even on golf’s biggest stages.

This week will be her third appearance in a major championship. She earned low amateur honors at both the U.S. Women’s Open (T39) and the RICOH Women’s British Open (T17) last year and has already gotten off to an impressive start in the professional events this season. The top-ranked amateur in the world won the ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open on the LET & ALPG earlier this year and went on to strong finishes at the first two LPGA events of 2013 at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open (3rd) and the Honda LPGA Thailand (T14).

Tennis legends’ daughters tee up
Petr Korda and Ivan Lendl made their names on the tennis court, totaling nine grand slam titles between the two of them, but their daughters have chosen to pursue a career on the links instead. Jessica Korda has already etched her place into LPGA history, earning her first victory at last year’s season-opening ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. This week, Korda will be joined in the Kraft Nabisco Championship field by her longtime friend, Isabelle Lendl. A senior at the University of Florida, Lendl has seven amateur and collegiate titles to her credit. In addition to Lendl, nine other amateur invites will tee it up this week at the Kraft Nabisco, including 15-year-old Lydia Ko, who became the youngest winner in LPGA history at last year’s CN Canadian Women’s Open.

Symetra Tour current player and alum factoids

The season’s first major is on the horizon at this week’s Kraft Nabisco Championship and several Symetra Tour alum will be competing to take the historic leap into Poppie’s Pond. Rolex Rankings No. 1 Stacy Lewis headlines the star-studded group of alum in the field this week and will make her first major appearance since taking over the top spot. Also in the field this week is Thidapa Suwannapura who earned her 2013 LPGA Tour card by finishing fourth on the Symetra Tour’s Volvik Race for the Card. While the Thailand native was a rookie on last year’s Symetra Tour, this week will serve as her first start in a major championship. Suwannapura was one of 10 players to play her way into the star-studded field based on her solid start this season. In her first three starts, she made three cuts including a season-best tied for eighth at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.

The Symetra Tour will return to action the week of April 22 when the Tour heads across the state of Florida to Sarasota for the Guardian Retirement Championship at Sara Bay. South African Melissa Eaton will try to make it two wins in a row after she captured her first career Symetra Tour title at the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic in Winter Haven, Fla. on March 24. The top-10 players on the Tour’s season-ending money list will earn exempt status on the LPGA Tour next year.

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