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JTBC Founders Cup

Round 4 - Masterful Hyo Joo Kim wins LPGA Founders Cup

March 22, 2015

Pressure doesn’t seem to faze 19-year-old Hyo Joo Kim. At least that’s the way it seems after the LPGA Tour rookie delivered a masterful display in Sunday’s final round of the JTBC Founders Cup, shooting a 5-under 67 to defeat Stacy Lewis by three strokes and capture her second LPGA Tour win.

Kim burst onto the LPGA scene at last year’s Evian Championship. A member of the KLPGA at the time, Kim outdueled LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member Karrie Webb as she sank a 12-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to defeat Webb by one and capture her first LPGA win and her first major championship. It was also the first major championship that Kim had ever competed in on the LPGA Tour.

On Sunday, Kim was paired in the final group with another top player in the women’s game – Rolex Rankings No. 3 Stacy Lewis – and once again she didn’t seem to flinch when the pressure was on her. After a bogey on the 10th hole where a ruling didn’t go the way she had hoped, Kim bounced back with three straight birdies. Despite Lewis putting the pressure on Kim with a stretch of four birdies in five holes from No. 12 to No. 16, Kim kept making birdies of her own en route to shooting a 4-under 32 on the back nine. And even with just a one-shot lead heading into the final hole, Kim didn’t seem to be affected by the pressure as she made birdie to clinch her victory.

“It’s impossible not to feel a little pressure or nervous, especially when your playing partner is playing so well,” Kim said through a translator. “If anything, I think the situation on hole 10 helped because after I went through there and I got a bogey, I just realized there’s no time to feel pressure or feel afraid. I’ve just got to go out there and play.”

With her victory at the JTBC Founders Cup that made her a Rolex First-Time Winner, Kim is projected to move to No. 4 in the Rolex Rankings. The 19-year-old may just be a rookie on the LPGA Tour but she’s already gaining a lot of respect for her game from her fellow competitors.

“She’s just really solid,” Lewis said of Kim after Sunday’s round. “Kind of had to battle back from some adversity there on 10. But just really solid. On the front, I didn’t put much pressure on her but even when I did make some putts, she made the putts to follow and she put a lot of pressure on and was just really solid all day.”

Numbers to know:
13 - Hyo Joo Kim has played in 13 LPGA events and has yet to finish outside of the top-25, with eight top-10 finishes and a pair of victories
6 - Hyo Joo Kim becomes the sixth consecutive Korean born player to win on Tour this season.
2 - Kim is the second Rolex First Time Winner and second rookie to win this season joining country woman Sei Young Kim
69 - Number of combined wins for the four winners of the JTBC Founders Cup
-21 - Kim becomes the first player to win on Tour with a score of 20-under or better since Inbee Park at the 2014 Fubon LPGA Taiwan
17 - Stacy Lewis now has 17 career second place finishes

Ridiculous Rookie Class:
Hyo Joo Kim is just one member of a very talented rookie class on the LPGA Tour this season. She’s the second rookie to win this season, joining fellow South Korean rookie Sei Young Kim who captured a victory at the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic.

The top five rookies in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year race entering this week have now combined to deliver two victories, eight additional top 10s and a total of 16-top 25 finishes through the first six events of the 2015 season.

“I’m a rookie, too, so I don’t have time to think too much about it,” Kim said of the impressive rookie class. “But I have known these players from since we used to play on the Korean ladies tour, and I know how good they can be. In fact, everyone on the LPGA Tour is really good, otherwise they wouldn’t be here. So I’m just trying to find my place.”

Homecoming results in Woods best finish of the year:
Cheyenne Woods had over 40 family members and friends out this week at the JTBC Founders Cup many of whom were wearing “We’re with Woods” t-shirts. The LPGA rookie was able to put on a show for them during the week finishing up at 11-under and tied for 24th.

“It’s great to play well this week, especially with this being a home tournament for me,” Woods said. “Being born and raised here, I have a lot of friends and family to watch. It’s been a fun week and I’m happy with how I’ve played”

The 24th place finish was the best of Woods’ rookie campaign and just missed her best LPGA finish of T23 at the 2014 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. Woods is hoping her solid play will carry over to the rest of the LPGA’s west coast swing.

“I think so,” Woods said. “Kind of helps build that confidence. It’s a different feeling now that I’m out here full time playing against these girls. The girls are amazing; so for me to be able to compete with them shows me a lot about my game. So I’m excited for next week now.”

Ilhee lee playing for a cause:
Ilhee Lee had one of the rounds of the day on Sunday eventually finishing up at 16-under par and tied for third. Her best finish since a runner-up showing at the Mizuno Classic last November.

“Well today on the front nine, I thought this weekend is not my weekend,” Lee admitted. “Every putt goes so close but didn’t go in. But my caddie, he told me, be patient because it’s going to go in. Then I had seven holes left, and made birdie, five feet from the par 3, and made it, and then I start to feel like I can make more. But then I made eagle putt, that was like 20 feet away. And like this far, birdie, right next hole. I mean, finished strong. I’m happy. I’m happy for I finished strong. “

While Lee is happy with her play she is also happy that the money from her strong finish will help her give back to people in need.

“I told my friend, if I make money, like plenty money this week, I will help for the Africa to help build pipe things for the water,” Lee explained. “So I keep thinking about that, I want to make more birdie for them. I think that ends up really good.”

Quote of the Day:
“Well, it’s impossible not to feel a little pressure or nervous, especially when your playing partner is playing so well.” -Hyo Joo Kim on having nerves playing with Stacy Lewis

Click here for full scores & prize money.

Round 3 - Crowded leaderboard in Arizona

March 21, 2015

Currently 17 players sit within six shots of the lead entering Sunday’s final round and that list includes Stacy Lewis, who is only two behind Kim at 14-under. The last two winners of the JTBC Founders Cup – Karrie Webb and Lewis -- have each gone low in the final round, shooting rounds of 63 and 64 respectively, to take home the title.
So it’s no surprise that Lewis already has her sights set on going low on

“It’s going to be a shootout,” Lewis said. “ It’s going to be what this golf course sets up for and the leaderboard this year sets up for it even more. For me, I think it almost makes things easier because you have to just go out there and play and see what happens. You can’t watch one person or the people in your groups. You’ve just got to go play golf.”

Rookie Alison Lee showed that low scores can be fired this week as she tied the course record with a 63 of her own on Saturday to move into a tie for third at 13-under-par. The 20-year-old California native will have an opportunity to capture her first LPGA victory as she’ll be in the penultimate group on Sunday.

“I really haven’t even thought about that yet,” Lee said of being in contention for her first LPGA win. “I’m still trying to sink in how my round went today but yeah, it’s really weird. Obviously since junior golf and to college and now
professional golf, I’ve been slowly progressively moving up; and to be here and to be able to play well out on the LPGA Tour against these professional golfers, I mean, just that in itself, I feel really blessed and really great and really confident that I can compete with a lot of the girls out here.”

Among the other players just a few shots back of Kim are Rolex Rankings No. 1 Lydia Ko (-12) and LPGA Tour winners Sandra Gal, Lizette Salas and Amy Yang who all sit at 11-under. The 17-year-old Ko already has one victory under her belt in 2015, capturing her sixth LPGA Tour win at the ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open last month.

Numbers to know:
12 - Hyo Joo Kim has played in 12 LPGA events and has yet to finish outside of the top-25, with seven top-10 finishes and a win at the Evian Championship
5/7 - Five of the top-7 players on the leaderboard are first or second year LPGA players (Hyo Joo Kim, Kim Kaufman, Alison Lee, Lydia Ko and Ha Na Jang)
16 - 16 players six within six shots of the lead, last season, Karrie Webb rallied from six shots back on Sunday to win
7 - Number of countries represented in the top-15 on the leaderboard
83 - 83 players made the cut

Time for a breakthrough?
Stacy Lewis has found herself in contention many times this season but so far she has been unable to walk away with a victory. Lewis has finished in the top 11 in all four of her events so far in 2015, including a runner-up finish at the Honda LPGA Thailand and a third place finish at the HSBC Women’s Champions.

But unlike previous seasons when Lewis has been very solid in the final round, she has struggled to close at times this year. Her final round scoring average has been 72.5, more than three strokes higher than her average in any other round this season.

Lewis has been making some tweaks to her swing over the past six months, trying to get back to the form that she had in 2012 when she felt it was in its best place. That, she said, has led to some struggles of reverting back to her old swing when the pressure is on.

Lewis was asked if being in contention so many times this season without a win has been frustrating for her or if she looked at it as a positive sign that her swing is getting closer to being back to what she wants it to be.

“Probably a little bit of both,” Lewis said. “I was pretty excited about just putting myself in contention just because of what I was working on with my golf swing. I was glad that I was able to kind of put myself there.

“But then weakness of it kind of came out. I mean, so there’s good and bad in it. You all want to win. I mean, that’s the ultimate, but just knowing that I’m working in the right direction and going in the right direction. I mean, ultimately you want to be playing your best golf this summer, not necessarily in February.”

Lewis’ average per round this season:
Round 1 – 67.2
Round 2 – 69.4
Round 3 – 68.8
Round 4 – 72.5

Going to Disneyland:
Currently sitting tied for third, Alison Lee has just about as decorated amateur career as anyone in golf having earned co-medalist honors at Q-School, the inaugural ANNIKA Award given to the nation’s top female collegiate golfer,
playing in Curtis Cups and five LPGA events as an amateur. With that background you would think Lee was born with a club in her hand but that isn’t the case.

“I actually had this conversation with my dad like last week because we were looking through pictures,” Lee said. “And I found a picture of me when I was three with like a little plastic club on the putting green, and my dad told me that he was like a golf fanatic. He told me I didn’t like it at all. Like I didn’t like to practice. I didn’t like being out there.”

So what did Lee’s father do to get his daughter out on the course.
“He bribed me, like what a normal dad would,” Lee said with a smile. “He said, “Okay if you come out and practice, play golf, not just run around for a couple days, we’ll go to Disneyland.” So that’s what got me started. And then yeah, I remember, having season passes to every single amusement park. My mom told me she hates Universal Studios now because she’s been there so many times.”

While the bribes may have worked for a time, Lee’s competitive nature eventually took over.

“Yeah, I think I played in my first tournament when I was seven. It was like a small local tournament, but I won that tournament, and that’s what sparked in me the competition, being in competition, playing. That’s what got me
started and, yeah, the rest is history.”

Calm as Kaufman:
A consistence presence on the leaderboard and tied for third heading into the final round of JTBC Founders Cup, most might think a second-year Tour player would carry a lot of pressure and nerves. Not Kim Kaufman. Kaufman has been able to remain calm and relaxed out here on the golf course this week and the set up for her surroundings could be playing a large part of it.

Her mom is in town and they celebrated her birthday, which helped her not think too much about her game, but
another factor helped keep mind at ease- her alma mater Texas Tech Golf Team.

“The college team here is great,” Kaufman said. “I went to the Suns game with them, been out with my mom and my uncle. I think everybody from South Dakota winters down here. It really helps take you mind off it.”
Just three shots off the lead, Kaufman will look to make a few more aggressive moves Sunday in hopes of her first LPGA Tour Title here in Phoenix, Arizona.

“Going into tomorrow, might go for it a little bit more being the last day,” Kaufman said. “Be a little more aggressive. But overall, you’ve just got to make some putts.”

Respect your elders:
For most people, 30 doesn’t seem old. But Stacy Lewis knows that with all of the young talent emerging in women’s golf, she has quickly become one of the veteran players out on the LPGA Tour.

That is pretty evident looking at the leaderboard following Saturday’s third round of the JTBC Founders Cup. Of the top 7 players on the leaderboard, no one is older than 23 besides Lewis.

“I do feel old, yes,” Lewis said with a laugh. “We knew it was coming. A lot of the young Koreans were coming out, and so it’s not surprising. I mean, they are fearless. They don’t have the experience, so that’s hopefully to my advantage. But it is a little strange to be ten years older than some of these girls.”

Quote of the day:
“I’m super relieved. The worst part is going to sleep thinking about that one shot or that one putt you have to hit. I think that’s the hardest part. So just being able to do the normal stuff in the morning and not having to worry about going to bed so early, you can watch some basketball tonight. Just kind of have a normal night, which is good, since we haven’t had that yet this week.”

-Stacy Lewis on getting the third round complete on Saturday

Round 2 - Korean rookie takes lead, R2 to resume tomorrow

March 20, 2015

While the early part of the day belonged to Rolex Rankings No. 3 Stacy Lewis, who came out on fire with a stretch of seven birdies in nine holes en route to taking the first-round lead at 8-under-par, it was a South Korean rookie who held the second-round lead when play was halted due to darkness at 6:39 p.m. PT.

Ha Na Jang is the current leader at the JTBC Founders Cup at 11-under-par through 11 holes of her second round. Jang caught fire with seven birdies in her first 11 holes, including four straight before play was called for the night.

Fellow South Korean Hyo Joo Kim shot rounds of 65-69 on Friday to hold the clubhouse lead at 10-under-par through two rounds while Lewis sits two shots back at 9-under-par (64-71). For all of the players, it was an exhausting day that featured a lot of golf for some and a lot of waiting around for others.

“I was sleepy this morning,” said Kim, who had 12 holes to play in her first round when play resumed at 7:37 a.m. on Friday morning. “I just played relaxed and I just think to myself, hit soft, and that’s the key for me. Because I came early this morning, I was very tired.”

Play to resume tomorrow: Round 2 was suspended at 6:38pm due to darkness. Round 2 will resume at 7:30am Saturday morning.

Round 3 is projected to begin at 11:15am with a 2-tee start. Pairings will be generated using the standard LPGA method with the leaders going off last on hole #1, the median scores first off of holes #1 and #10 and the higher scores going off last on hole #10. There are currently 82 players at -2.

The real deal: Hyo Joo Kim may be a rookie on the LPGA Tour but she’s no stranger to many of the LPGA Tour players.
Kim burst onto the LPGA scene with her victory at the Evian Championship, as she birdied the 72nd hole to defeat Karrie Webb by a stroke. It was a pretty impressive performance by a 19-year-old who was playing in her first major championship.

Webb certainly remembers how impressive Kim’s performance at that event and it’s why she wasn’t surprised to see Kim’s name at the top of the leaderboard on Friday at the JTBC Founders Cup.

“I’ve only played that one round with her, but I felt like I was putting plenty of pressure on her, and she just hit good shot after good shot,” Webb said. “Even when I thought, you know, the nerves had gotten the best of her, she made one of the best up and downs I’ve ever seen under pressure on 17 and then made one of the best birdies I’ve of seen on 18.

“She’s definitely got game. Winning Evian wasn’t a fluke last year.”

A three-way race: For many years on the LPGA Tour, one player has emerged as the person to beat. But recently a “Big Three” has started to develop on Tour with Lydia Ko, Stacy Lewis and Inbee Park consistently finding themselves near the top of the leaderboard and in contention.

The top-3 ranked players in the world were paired together for the final round at the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore with Park emerging as the victor. Park isn’t in the field this week at the JTBC Founders Cup but it doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone to see Lewis and Ko once again near the top of the leaderboard through two days of play in Phoenix.

Lewis finished off her first round with a flourish on Friday morning, making seven birdies in a stretch of nine holes to shoot 64 and take the outright first-round lead. Lewis slowed her pace during her second round with a 1-under 71 but sits just two shots back.
Ko, who shot a 6-under 66 on Thursday, was tied for the lead when first-round play was halted due to darkness on Thursday evening. She was 1-under through seven holes

For Lewis, this rivalry that is emerging on Tour is a positive not only for women’s golf but also for her own game as well.

“We’ve always had kind of a dominant player, which is not necessarily good for the Tour I think,” Lewis said. “So this rivalry that’s becoming, I think it’s really great for us. It’s making us better. It’s fun. I know Lydia is going to be up there every week. I know Inbee, even though she’s not here, she would be on the leaderboard if she was. It makes us better and that’s what you’re seeing, you’re seeing better golf out of all of us.”

Karrie Webb has seen various rivalries throughout her time on the LPGA Tour, including being part of one with Annika Sorenstam as the two dominated the Tour back in the late 90s and early 2000s. Webb played with Lewis during the first two rounds in Phoenix and continues to be impressed by the play she’s witnessing from this ‘Big Three’ right now.

“15 years ago, I don’t remember it ever feeling as automatic as it seems whenever you play with Stacy or Inbee or Lydia, that they just put themselves on the leaderboard,” Webb said. “This morning, we resumed early and Stacy 3 putted from nowhere and all of the sudden, she’s only 1 under. Then in the next 10, 11 holes, she shot 7 under in the next 11 holes.

“I think those players are playing with that sort of confidence that I don’t feel like they feel like they have to press; that the scores are just going to be there, and that’s a great feeling to have is to know that, yeah, I gave one away there but there’s plenty of opportunity still to go.”

Triple costs Icher lead: Karine Icher was cruising along at 12-under par before a tough closing stretch which included a triple bogey six on the par-3 16th where she flew the green and wound up in brush and had to try and chip out.

“I had no other choice,” Icher said of her choice to try and play from the brush. “If I declare it unplayable and go back in the bunker to drop my ball in the bunker, it will plug. So I mean, it would be probable the same number at the end. So I tried to be smart and drop far back, but in this stuff, I don’t know how to play that. I mean, it’s hard. It’s not the bunker. It’s not the fairway. It’s in between. So maybe I’m going to practice that the next few days.”

Outside of the final three holes, Icher has had an impressive first two rounds sitting at 8-under for the event and is right in the hunt going into the weekend.

“Same as the first two days,” Icher said of her approach entering the final two rounds. “I mean, you cannot approach differently. Have to be a little more aggressive on a few shots, a few holes. But it’s the kind of golf course you play like driver has to be in place and then second shot. So I’m going to attack next two days exactly the same.”

Walk with Sandra: With this week’s JTBC Founders Cup honoring the LPGA’s strong foundation and bright future Girls Golf has taken to the forefront. Sandra Gal wanted to help out with the cause and came up with her own unique way to contribute to Girls Golf.

“I just had my time off in December and I was just thinking about how I can just give back to whatever I do with my job. I came up with this idea, and I created the Walk with Sandra inside the ropes,” Gal said. “So little girls enter a contest and they write me a letter and they paint some art, and then one of them gets picked by the coach of the girls at the local Girls Golf program. Then they get to walk with me 18 holes, and just chat with me and get a firsthand experience what it is like to be on the fairway at an LPGA event.”

Gal tried the program out for the first time this week and it’s already been a hit.

“I had such a good time,” Gal explained. “I had a really, really good time because they were very interested, had lots of questions, and they were just so excited to be there. It was so infectious even for me, motivational for myself just to be there and talk to them a little bit about what we do.”

The girls walking with Gal got to see some impressive golf as she currently sits at 6-under for the tournament.

“I think I’ve been really solid tee to green,” Gal said of her play. “So yeah, nothing too spectacular. I had an eagle yesterday in my first round. That kind of helps. The course is very scorable. You’re going to see low rounds so still got to catch up a little bit.”

Numbers to know:
25 - Hyo Joo Kim has played in 25 LPGA events and has yet to finish outside of the top-25, with seven top-10 finishes
66 - 66 golfers finished their rounds and 66 golfers remain on the course after play was suspended
93 - 93 players are under par when play was halted
9 - Number of birdies recorded by Stacy Lewis in her first round

Quote of the day: “I think we have so many good storylines right now, I don’t think it really matters if one person dominates or not. It looks like right now Lydia could take that step where she’s going to dominate, but I really feel like Inbee and Stacy are definitely hungry enough to maybe not let her get too far ahead and there’s a bunch of other good players that will definitely have consistent years as well.” -Karrie Webb on the big three

Round 1 - Four-way tie as play delayed

March 19, 2015

Four players sat tied atop the leaderboard at the JTBC Founders Cup at 6-under-par when first-round play was called for the day due to darkness at 6:30 p.m. PT on Thursday.

Rolex Rankings No. 1 Lydia Ko, Tiffany Joh, Kim Kaufman and Sophia Popov were tied for the first-round lead after each shot 66 in the first round in Phoenix. Tee times were delayed four hours on Thursday morning due to rain that caused unplayable conditions on the Wildfire Golf Club course at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa.

Ko continued her strong play of late. Her 66 on Thursday extended the 17-year-old’s streak of consecutive rounds-under-par to 21, a streak that dates back to the first round of the CME Group Tour Championship last November.

Popov, a 22-year-old rookie, didn’t seem to be affected by the flu bug which had kept her in the hospital until Sunday. She was the last player to earn a spot in this week’s field when Azahara Munoz withdrew late last week. And Popov certainly took advantage of the opportunity to play, shooting her career low round in just the second LPGA event of her rookie season.

Joh birdied six of her first 10 holes to get off to a hot start before paring her way into the clubhouse. Kaufman bogeyed her first hole of the day, the 10th, but then caught fire as she shot consecutive 33s to put herself in a tie for the first-round lead when play was suspended.

Play to resume tomorrow: For those 66 players not completing their rounds on Thursday, the resumption of round one will begin at 7:30 a.m. on Friday morning.

Round 2 is scheduled to begin at 10:30am off of the 1st and 10th tees.

Kaufman rallies for 66: Kim Kaufman’s day didn’t get off to the best start having to wake up at 4:30 a.m. and arriving at the course to the news of a two hour rain delay followed by another two hour delay..

“I got up at 4:30 and had an hour drive,” Kaufman explained. “I’m staying in South Phoenix with some friends, which now is a bad idea I think. I got here and I slept in the dining room, and then warmed up a bit and then slept in the restaurant for the next one and then we finally went out and played.”

Kaufman killed some time at the course with a pair of naps, one of which was captured on social media by Demi Runas.

“But it is hard, when you’re sitting there and you’re sleeping on a table
somewhere, the last thing you want to do is go warm up on the range,” Kaufman said. “But you do, you go out there and get going and get into it, and everyone did it.”

Kaufman also had to rally from a bogey on her opening hole.

“I had a poor start, and I told myself, I’m not going to have this long day,” Kaufman said. “But it had been a long morning already so wanted to get something going. I was patient, rolled in a few birdies, hit it close on a couple holes and played pretty steady after that.”

Popov goes from hospital to top of leaderboard: When Sophia Popov got the news that she would be replacing Azahara Munoz as the final player in the field at the JTBC Founders Cup she was in a hospital bed in Naples, Florida.

“At first I thought, I can’t play,” Popov said. “I was about to call my agent and say, you know what, there’s no way. But I was kind of feeling better going into Friday, and then the doctor said, yeah, no, you’re not going anywhere. Tough luck pretty much. He wasn’t really sympathizing with me a lot. He’s pretty mean. But I thought, you know, how I felt, I was like, I think I could give this a shot.”

“I said, I have to see how I feel by Sunday, Monday and that’s how I decided,” Popov continued. “Sunday, I was still in the hospital and then they had me go home and get another infusion outside of the hospital and then I said, you know what, we’re going to fly Tuesday. This was after I already rebooked my flight a million times. I said, that’s it, we’re going, and I feel okay.”

Popov was only able to get nine holes of practice in on Tuesday and walked the back nine while following her friend Jaye Marie Green’s pro-am group.

“I kind of went in and just said, you know what, we are going to, it’s not like an exam and you’re like, let’s wing it,” she said. But you kind of go in and just say, try to hit the shots you’re able to, kind of trust the game that you had before you got sick, and then just kind of see what happens.”

What happened was a 6-under round of 66 and a tie for the lead.

“No, definitely not,” Popov said when asked if she’d reccomend the sickness approach to her fellow players. “I hope everyone stays healthy here because I don’t wish that on anyone. But it does lower expectations a little.”

Joh takes advantage of delay: The four-hour delay Thursday was a disruption to many players getting ready to hit the course. For Tiffany Joh, she saw the delay as an opportunity, an opportunity to hit the snooze button.

“I was in my car when I got the e-mail alert, I popped a U-y and went back straight to bed,” Joh said. “Didn’t affect me at all.”

Joh’s original morning tee time ended up turning into an afternoon time, but she was one of the 66 players that were able to finish her round today. Although she shot a 66 and is currently tied for the lead, she admits that it is not a place she feels comfortable.

“To be honest, not comfortable at all,” Joh admitted. “It’s only the first day and not even all the players have finished their rounds. And especially with conditions as good as they are right now, I can see this being kind of a horse race.”

Considering half of the field has yet to finish their first round, Joh is right about it being early in the tournament. Joh will have a late tee time tomorrow and plans on not overthinking where she sits on the leaderboard.

“I honestly don’t even think about it at all and when I leave the golf course, I leave it at the golf course. That just means more time tomorrow to go catch a matinee or something.”

Countdown is on: Lydia Ko won’t turn 18 years old until April 24 but she already has six LPGA Tour victories under her belt. Perhaps another one could be right around the corner following Ko’s opening-round 6-under 66 that had her tied for the first-round lead at the JTBC Founders Cup, where she finished runner-up last year.

The current No. 1 player in the world has been setting records for accomplishments at such a young age. But it was a record that will take many more years to accomplish that had Ko leaving the media members laughing about following her round on Thursday.

After Ko’s win in Australia earlier this year, LPGA Tour legend Patty Sheehan tweeted to the 17-year-old star. Sheehan congratulated the youngster on her ninth professional win and asked “You know who Kathy Whitworth is, right?”

Of course Whitworth is the all-time LPGA career victories leader with 88 – more wins than any other professional, male or female. And yes, Ko was well aware of the record.

“I’ve got 82 more to reach there,” she said with a laugh. “But it’s a long way and I say I would like to retire when I’m 30, and I don’t know how it all divides and how many I need to do.”

“They have got such amazing records and they feel so far away. I’m trying to concentrate on one tournament at a time and that’s all I can do. It’s just hard to be those kind of people. I’ve still got a lot to work on my game to get even halfway near their record.”

Molinaro wins car: As the sun started to dip below the clouds, Giulia Molinaro stepped to the tee at the par-3 17th and noticed

“I hit second and when Ryann (O’Toole) was hitting I actually stared at the car and thought ‘that’s a really nice car’ but then i didn’t think of it and I hit an 8-iron.“

Molinaro’s 8-iron traveled the 148 yards and found itself in the bottom of the cup for the ace and the keys to a 2016 Kia K900.

“I saw it hit and go in and my first reaction was oh great a hole-in-one and then it clicked that it was actually for a car and then I think I screamed ‘car!’ in Italian,” she said.

The hole-in-one was the fourth of Molinaro’s life and second on the LPGA Tour.

“It’s been a good week,” Molinaro said. “Monday qualified in and won a car so it’s been pretty good. I can’t complain.”

Molinaro won’t have to drive the car far as she is a Valley resident and graduate of Arizona State.

“Of course it means more,” Molinaro said of playing in her hometown. “i love living here, especially with how close I am to ASU. It’s always a great feeling to play at home. It’s an honor to play in any event but when it’s at home then it’s a bit more special.”

Tax time: As players sat in the dining room during Thursday morning’s four-hour rain delay, there were plenty of interesting discussions taking place. For Amy Anderson, the most prominent question from her fellow LPGA Tour players: “Can you help me with my taxes?”

Anderson, who was an accounting major at North Dakota State University, reached a big personal accomplishment last week when she passed her final CPA exam. It was the last of four tests she had to take over the past year and a half to get her certification.

“I’ve taken four tests in four different testing locations: I took it in Orlando; Grand Forks, North Dakota; Fargo, North Dakota, and West Palm Beach, Florida,” Anderson said.

Anderson was playing golf with some members at her club in Florida last Wednesday when she received the news that she had passed the exam. The members were unaware of Anderson’s second “career” and so she tried not to show her excitement over the news.

“I didn’t want to freak out and brag on myself,” Anderson said sheepishly. “So I just kind of giggled to myself in the cart.”

Among those in the gallery watching Anderson in Thursday’s opening round of the JTBC Founders Cup was her accounting professor from North Dakota State, Nancy Emerson, who helped her throughout the entire CPA process. After going out and shooting a 2-under-par 70 Thursday, Anderson was asked if the exam or the round she had just played was more challenging.

“Golf is always more difficult,” Anderson said. “I think studying is actually pretty easy compared to golf because the harder you work at it, I mean, the smarter you get. Golf doesn’t always work that way. So honestly, I thought that studying was a good reprieve from golf and it was almost relaxing.”

Studying may have been relaxing but if Anderson was to take up all of the requests for tax help, she might be left with little time left to practice for her actual job.

“I have made so many new friends since I passed my CPA,” she said with a laugh. “And they all need taxes done.”

Ace Ace Baby: Ai Miyazato had a hole-in-one Thursday on the fourth hole. Miyazato used a 5-Rescue to go 168 yards and ace the par-3. The ace was the 12 year veteran’s first in professional competition.

The day was up and down for Miyzato, besides her ace, she had five birdies combined with five bogeys. Miyazato shot a first round 70, finishing two-under for the day.

Numbers to know:
2 - Number of hole-in-ones tallied on Thursday, matching the total made on the LPGA through the first five events
66 - 66 golfers finished their rounds and 66 golfers remain on the course after play was suspended
14 - 14 players are within two strokes of the lead
21 - Lydia Ko has played 21 straight rounds under par
70 - Number of players Giulia Molinaro had to beat to earn her spot in the field

Quote of the day: “It’s pretty cool to hear it on the tee when you’re teeing off, and at announcer says, “Rolex Rankings world No. 1.” But I’m probably still not used to it. I never will be. “

-Lydia Ko on being Rolex Rankings No. 1


Pos. Player Scores Total To Par Prize Money
1 Hyo Joo Kim 65 - 69 - 66 - 67 267 -21 $225,000.00
2 Stacy Lewis 64 - 71 - 67 - 68 270 -18 $135,414.00
3T Ilhee Lee 69 - 67 - 70 - 66 272 -16 $78,463.00
3T Pornanong Phatlum 68 - 71 - 66 - 67 272 -16 $78,463.00
3T Mi Hyang Lee 70 - 66 - 68 - 68 272 -16 $78,463.00
6T Na Yeon Choi 70 - 66 - 71 - 66 273 -15 $38,330.00
6T Anna Nordqvist 72 - 67 - 70 - 64 273 -15 $38,330.00
6T Lydia Ko 66 - 69 - 69 - 69 273 -15 $38,330.00
6T Austin Ernst 68 - 67 - 73 - 65 273 -15 $38,330.00
6T Sei Young Kim 69 - 66 - 73 - 65 273 -15 $38,330.00
11T Sandra Gal 68 - 70 - 67 - 69 274 -14 $26,875.00
11T Lizette Salas 73 - 65 - 67 - 69 274 -14 $26,875.00
13T Jane Park 67 - 72 - 67 - 69 275 -13 $22,241.00
13T Amy Yang 68 - 69 - 68 - 70 275 -13 $22,241.00
13T Ha Na Jang 68 - 68 - 68 - 71 275 -13 $22,241.00
13T Kim Kaufman 66 - 67 - 70 - 72 275 -13 $22,241.00
17T Angela Stanford 67 - 70 - 71 - 68 276 -12 $17,137.00
17T Ai Miyazato 70 - 69 - 71 - 66 276 -12 $17,137.00
17T Jessica Korda 72 - 66 - 71 - 67 276 -12 $17,137.00
17T Ariya Jutanugarn 69 - 66 - 70 - 71 276 -12 $17,137.00
17T Moriya Jutanugarn 67 - 69 - 70 - 70 276 -12 $17,137.00
17T Xiyu Lin 71 - 66 - 68 - 71 276 -12 $17,137.00
17T Q Baek 69 - 69 - 71 - 67 276 -12 $17,137.00
24T Yueer Cindy Feng 73 - 66 - 69 - 69 277 -11 $13,641.00
24T Haru Nomura 69 - 70 - 70 - 68 277 -11 $13,641.00
24T Jaye Marie Green 69 - 70 - 69 - 69 277 -11 $13,641.00
24T Alison Lee 70 - 70 - 63 - 74 277 -11 $13,641.00
24T Cheyenne Woods 70 - 70 - 67 - 70 277 -11 $13,641.00
29T Paula Creamer 69 - 68 - 71 - 70 278 -10 $11,195.00
29T Brittany Lincicome 70 - 67 - 71 - 70 278 -10 $11,195.00
29T Alena Sharp 68 - 72 - 69 - 69 278 -10 $11,195.00
29T Jenny Shin 72 - 70 - 70 - 66 278 -10 $11,195.00
29T Carlota Ciganda 70 - 69 - 68 - 71 278 -10 $11,195.00
34T Karrie Webb 67 - 70 - 73 - 69 279 -9 $9,490.00
34T Gerina Piller 68 - 72 - 73 - 66 279 -9 $9,490.00
34T Julie Yang 72 - 68 - 69 - 70 279 -9 $9,490.00
37T Karine Icher 66 - 70 - 70 - 74 280 -8 $7,590.00
37T Hee Young Park 73 - 67 - 69 - 71 280 -8 $7,590.00
37T Chella Choi 71 - 69 - 70 - 70 280 -8 $7,590.00
37T Mika Miyazato 69 - 71 - 70 - 70 280 -8 $7,590.00
37T Dewi Claire Schreefel 67 - 70 - 71 - 72 280 -8 $7,590.00
37T Jennifer Johnson 69 - 69 - 70 - 72 280 -8 $7,590.00
37T Katie Burnett 69 - 70 - 68 - 73 280 -8 $7,590.00
37T In Gee Chun 67 - 69 - 71 - 73 280 -8 $7,590.00
In Gee Chun
45T Kris Tamulis 70 - 72 - 70 - 69 281 -7 $5,461.00
45T Cristie Kerr 72 - 68 - 72 - 69 281 -7 $5,461.00
45T Julieta Granada 70 - 70 - 69 - 72 281 -7 $5,461.00
45T Seon Hwa Lee 69 - 71 - 70 - 71 281 -7 $5,461.00
45T Karin Sjodin 71 - 69 - 71 - 70 281 -7 $5,461.00
45T Eun-Hee Ji 70 - 72 - 73 - 66 281 -7 $5,461.00
45T Tiffany Joh 66 - 75 - 72 - 68 281 -7 $5,461.00
45T Ayako Uehara 73 - 69 - 70 - 69 281 -7 $5,461.00
45T SooBin Kim 68 - 69 - 71 - 73 281 -7 $5,461.00
54T Natalie Gulbis 72 - 67 - 71 - 72 282 -6 $4,300.00
54T Mina Harigae 69 - 73 - 70 - 70 282 -6 $4,300.00
54T Jodi Ewart Shadoff 71 - 71 - 68 - 72 282 -6 $4,300.00
54T Thidapa Suwannapura 68 - 72 - 72 - 70 282 -6 $4,300.00
54T Demi Runas 69 - 73 - 67 - 73 282 -6 $4,300.00
59T Jennifer Song 71 - 71 - 73 - 68 283 -5 $3,648.00
59T Sydnee Michaels 69 - 69 - 72 - 73 283 -5 $3,648.00
59T Brooke Pancake 71 - 69 - 73 - 70 283 -5 $3,648.00
59T Giulia Molinaro 70 - 72 - 72 - 69 283 -5 $3,648.00
59T Simin Feng 68 - 70 - 76 - 69 283 -5 $3,648.00
64T Sarah Jane Smith 70 - 67 - 76 - 71 284 -4 $3,188.00
64T Morgan Pressel 71 - 71 - 73 - 69 284 -4 $3,188.00
64T Ji Young Oh 69 - 71 - 73 - 71 284 -4 $3,188.00
64T Michelle Wie 73 - 69 - 71 - 71 284 -4 $3,188.00
64T Maria Hernandez 69 - 72 - 73 - 70 284 -4 $3,188.00
64T Min Lee 71 - 66 - 74 - 73 284 -4 $3,188.00
64T Marina Alex 71 - 71 - 67 - 75 284 -4 $3,188.00
71T Ashleigh Simon 70 - 72 - 70 - 73 285 -3 $2,891.00
71T Mariajo Uribe 69 - 67 - 75 - 74 285 -3 $2,891.00
71T Sophia Popov 66 - 76 - 68 - 75 285 -3 $2,891.00
74T Ryann O'Toole 70 - 69 - 74 - 73 286 -2 $2,800.00
74T Caroline Masson 72 - 69 - 72 - 73 286 -2 $2,800.00
76 Marissa Steen 70 - 71 - 73 - 73 287 -1 $2,748.00
77 Mirim Lee 74 - 66 - 72 - 76 288 E $2,713.00
78T Se Ri Pak 70 - 70 - 74 - 75 289 1 $2,644.00
78T Mo Martin 71 - 67 - 75 - 76 289 1 $2,644.00
78T Amy Anderson 70 - 71 - 72 - 76 289 1 $2,644.00
81 Kelly Shon 72 - 70 - 71 - 77 290 2 $2,577.00
82 Amelia Lewis 68 - 74 - 78 - 71 291 3 $2,544.00
83 Hee Kyung Seo 74 - 68 - 78 - 72 292 4 $2,511.00
CUT Kelly Tan 70 - 73 143 -1 $0.00
CUT Jenny Gleason 74 - 76 150 6 $0.00
CUT Meena Lee 73 - 71 144 E $0.00
CUT Nicole Castrale 78 - 70 148 4 $0.00
CUT Katherine Kirk 76 - 75 151 7 $0.00
CUT Juli Inkster 74 - 71 145 1 $0.00
CUT Christina Kim 72 - 71 143 -1 $0.00
CUT Candie Kung 74 - 73 147 3 $0.00
CUT Laura Diaz 73 - 71 144 E $0.00
CUT Jennifer Rosales 69 - 74 143 -1 $0.00
CUT Giulia Sergas 73 - 71 144 E $0.00
CUT Laura Davies 69 - 76 145 1 $0.00
CUT Brittany Lang 73 - 72 145 1 $0.00
CUT Sun Young Yoo 69 - 74 143 -1 $0.00
CUT Lisa Ferrero 73 - 71 144 E $0.00
CUT I.K. Kim 75 - 68 143 -1 $0.00
CUT Kristy McPherson 74 - 73 147 3 $0.00
CUT Sarah Kemp 73 - 72 145 1 $0.00
CUT Yani Tseng 75 - 77 152 8 $0.00
CUT Danah Bordner 71 - 74 145 1 $0.00
CUT Alison Walshe 70 - 74 144 E $0.00
CUT Mi Jung Hur 75 - 71 146 2 $0.00
CUT Haeji Kang 77 - 73 150 6 $0.00
CUT Jaclyn Sweeney 72 - 71 143 -1 $0.00
CUT Jackie Stoelting 72 - 72 144 E $0.00
CUT Beatriz Recari 74 - 70 144 E $0.00
CUT Paula Reto 74 - 71 145 1 $0.00
CUT Victoria Elizabeth 72 - 72 144 E $0.00
CUT Kendall Dye 76 - 69 145 1 $0.00
CUT Christine Song 85 - 77 162 18 $0.00
CUT Pernilla Lindberg 74 - 72 146 2 $0.00
CUT Min Seo Kwak 71 - 73 144 E $0.00
View Player Profile
CUT Kathleen Ekey 70 - 76 146 2 $0.00
CUT Dori Carter 77 - 68 145 1 $0.00
CUT Nannette Hill 73 - 73 146 2 $0.00
CUT Mallory Blackwelder 71 - 73 144 E $0.00
CUT Paz Echeverria 74 - 73 147 3 $0.00
CUT Danielle Kang 71 - 72 143 -1 $0.00
CUT Therese Koelbaek 77 - 71 148 4 $0.00
CUT Sadena Parks 73 - 74 147 3 $0.00
CUT Sakura Yokomine 70 - 76 146 2 $0.00
CUT Belen Mozo 73 - 73 146 2 $0.00
CUT P.K. Kongkraphan 71 - 74 145 1 $0.00
CUT Christel Boeljon 72 - 71 143 -1 $0.00
CUT Joanna Klatten 76 - 73 149 5 $0.00
CUT Minjee Lee 74 - 73 147 3 $0.00
CUT Line Vedel 74 - 78 152 8 $0.00
CUT Wei Ling Hsu 73 - 76 149 5 $0.00
CUT Perrine Delacour 72 - 75 147 3 $0.00


DATES: March 19-22
SITE:  Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort and Spa
PAR:  72
YARDAGE:   6,583
PRIZE MONEY: $1,500,000
WINNER: $225,000
Click here for tournament stats & info

The JTBC Founders Cup was created to honor the Founders and Pioneers of the LPGA Tour and several players took time during their press conferences on Tuesday to acknowledge what this event means to them.

“I feel like this tournament has more history than years that we’ve played it,” two-time Founders Cup Champion Karrie Webb said of the event which is in its fifth year. “I’ve always said, and I’ll repeat myself, but it’s such a great concept. Shirley Spork was just sitting outside the media center here and I got to say hello to her. I think it’s very special that we take a week we should take more than a week, but we take this week and name a tournament after our 13 special women that founded our Tour.”

Michelle Wie echoed Webb’s sentiments on how important this tournament is to the players on Tour.

“This is definitely a very special event,”Wie said. “Personally for me, I think there’s so many times where we forget. We forget how hard the founders have worked in the past and how many sacrifices they had to make and how really easy we have it today and with our purse and everything, and everything happened because of our founders, so I think it’s really great, really special that we have a tournament that we dedicate to the founders and we can look back and really appreciate what they have done, not only for our Tour, for women in general.”

Webb may have said it best.

“I think this is a tournament I hope is a part of our history for many years to come.”

Wie on the mend: Michelle Wie is coming off a career year in 2014 but her 2015 season has not gotten off to the best start as she has been dealing with a variety of illnesses which included a sinus infection and a bout with strep throat.

“This past month has been really tough,” Wie admitted. “I got back from Asia, feeling really sick in Asia, and then I saw the doctors again and had to get back on antibiotics because I had a sinus infection, and still, the doctor said that I probably won’t be feeling 100 percent for the next couple of weeks. I’m feeling a lot better thankfully, but it’s been tough. I mean, just being sick in general, it’s never fun, so really right now my No. 1 priority is just getting my health back in order.”

The illness has been an unfortunate setback for Wie as she was one of the top players in the world in 2014 winning twice, including her first Major at the U.S. Women’s Open.

“It’s a little bit unlucky that I got sick in the Bahamas, but it’s a long season,”Wie explained. “It’s a long season, and I’m just building on everything. I’ve just got to kind of get there.”

Rookie blur: The rookie experience is different for every player on the LPGA Tour and Cheyenne Woods is certainly having a unique experience compared to many others in their first year on Tour.

The last name “Woods” brings a lot of extra media attention but the 24-year-old Wake Forest University graduate isn’t thrown off by the fact that she hasn’t been able to ease into her rookie season.

“I kind of came into it with a brighter spotlight on me than most might have, but that’s something I feel like I don’t know golf without that, so for me that’s normal,”Woods said. “For me that’s just what comes with golf. It’s just a normal life for me. It’s an everyday thing. So I kind of embrace it, and I think it would be weird without it.”

Woods spent two days last week on a media tour in New York City. She appeared on “Fox and Friends,” visited with magazines such as “Self,”“Shape,” and “Teen Vogue.” She even took part in a photo shoot for Refinery29 that was held at Chelsea Piers.

“I feel like I was in that movie “The Devil Wears Prada” where they’re all like in the fashion business in all the offi ces and stuff,”Woods said with a laugh. “It was fun to get away from golf and like dress up a little bit, talk about beauty and hair and stuff. I really enjoyed it.”

Woods has played in three LPGA events so far this season. While she hasn’t missed a cut, her best finish so far is a tie for 44th at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.
So how does Woods assess her rookie season up to this point?

“I feel like I’ve played decent, not great so far this year,” said Woods, who is a Scottsdale, Ariz. native. “It’s great that I have been able to make the cuts that I’ve played so far this year. Other than that, I feel like it’s just okay. I can do better, so I’ll look to do better this week.”

Webb never out of it: As a 20 year LPGA veteran Karrie Webb knows that a tournament is never over until the final putt drops and at no tour­nament does that statement ring truer for Webb than the JTBC Founders Cup. In 2011, Webb rallied from six strokes back to claim the inaugural title and then last year Webb repeated the feat again coming from six shots behind to become the first two-time champion at the event.

“It’s just one of those courses where you can get on a roll,”Webb said. “The conditions are I mean, barring a couple of rounds we’ve played here in the last four years, the conditions are perfect. The temperature is nice and warm, and not a lot of wind. It’s sort of set up for that sort of scoring.”

While Webb was happy to walk away with the title last year she didn’t think that it would happen after she dropped her final putt on 18.

“I was just telling the story when we were walking down 18, last year in the last round when I was walking down 18, the leaders were on 10, so that’s how far ahead I was, but only starting six shots behind. I knew that I probably need­ed to make a birdie, but even when I made the birdie, as exciting as it was, I still didn’t think at the time that that was enough, and definitely not to have won it without even being in a playoff .”

Quote of the day: “Yeah, [I’ll] probably slow down. I think you’ll still see me, but maybe not as often. -Karrie Webb on how much she will play on the LPGA

The LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program will introduce more than 50,000 girls to the game of golf in 2015 and for many of those girls, the dream is to one day play on the LPGA Tour. Someone who understands that dream all too well is five-time LPGA Tour winner Brittany Lincicome, who not too many years ago was a Girls Golf member herself.

“I wish I was 12 again and I could be a part of 50,000 girls that are now involved, because it’s incredible to see how far it’s come in a short amount of time,” Lincicome said of the program, who just fi ve years ago had less than 5,000 girls involved per year. “Hopefully we can keep growing that. It was super beneficial to me. I don’t know if I would be here without it because like I said, other girls didn’t play golf and didn’t think it was cool back when I was 12 years old. Now to see where it’s grown, it’s incredible.”

LPGA-USGA Girls Golf is all about inspiration and Wednesday’s press conference at the JTBC Founders Cup showcased that. At the press conference, the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program kicked off their “Little Girls, Big Dreams” campaign with four of their LPGA Tour ambassadors: Tiffany Joh, Stacy Lewis, Lizette Salas and Lincicome. Sitting next to the players were five young members of the Girl Golf program who looked like the younger versions of the ambassadors. A reminder to all in attendance that all of these amazing players in the field this week were once little girls with big dreams.

This is a special week for Girls Golf as the spotlight shines brightly on the program. The JTBC Founders Cup, which began five years ago, was a vision of Commissioner Mike Whan to honor the past of the LPGA, celebrate the present and pay it forward to the future. Each year the LPGA celebrates its 13 Founders at this event as the best in the game compete on a grand stage with the proceeds going towards the future of golf.

And for the LPGA Tour players, the goal this week is to show these young golfers that anything they dream up is possible.

“Sky is the limit to play golf at the highest level you possibly can,” Salas said. “It’s up to you guys on how much you want it and you guys just want to play college golf, that’s great, and if you guys want to go to the highest level and play on the LPGA Tour, all of you can do it.”

NFL meets LPGA: Prior to the start of the JTBC Founders Cup several NFL players were able to team up with LPGA golfers to compete in the pro-am. Following their rounds, Arizona Cardinals Larry Fitzgerald and Brad Sowell joined former teammate and current Washington Redskin Andre Roberts as well as LPGA pros Juli Inkster and Nicole Castrale on stage for a press conference.

“It was a great experience, playing with Sandy and Nicole and Morgan,” Fitzgerald said. “It was really something special to be able to go out there and walk the fairways with some of the greatest players in the world is something I’ll never forget.”

Sowell, a two handicap, also walked away impressed.

“You don’t realize how good the pros are compared to us.,” Sowell said. “We’re good; but when you have to play it out, putt it out, do all the rules and stuff, it’s really hard to shoot a good score. That’s why you have got to respect pro golf because it’s extremely hard to get there.”

Inkster and Castrale also took a lot out of the day on the links with the NFL players.

“I think it’s great for our Tour,” Inkster said. “It brings a lot of respect for our Tour for these guys to come out and support us. It’s great to see kids out here with their jerseys on the back and their numbers. I think that’s really cool. The nine holes and playing with these guys, I mean, it was a breeze. It was a lot of fun. I enjoyed it and I wish we could do more like this. It’s great.

Castrale echoed Inkster’s statements.

“It’s great for the LPGA Tour,” Castrale said. “It definitely brings more exposure, but also shows how well rounded we are, and athletes respect athletes. Overall it was a win win for both. And maybe Cardinals will get another fan with Jules.”

While the golfers enjoyed the day they were able to teach the football players a thing or two as well.

“Swing easy,” Roberts said when asked of the main thing he learned. “Their swings are so easy and so smooth, and they get all the distance they need and all the accuracy they need. As guys, we always want to swing the club as hard as we can to get it to go far, and you know, watching the guys like Dustin Johnson just blow it past people swinging so hard, looks like it, but he’s probably swinging easy. But that’s one of the biggest things I see. They have got this smooth swing path. They swing easy and get everything they need out of it.”

No.1 but still a kid: World No. 1 Lydia Ko has been off to a stellar start in 2015; taking over the top spot, two straight wins, and a second place finish. Not to your typical teenager, but maintaining number one in the world is not what surprised Ko this week. It was that she could still be eligible for the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program.

“They were doing some fun things with music and they said, you know, kids that are 17 years and younger can participate in this game and you can enter for a prize,” Ko said. “I told David (Leadbetter), can I go up and sign up.”

Ko would have obviously had an unfair advantage over the other girl golfers, but the modest teenager still realizes the impact she has on younger golfers and ones of her own age. For Ko, golf has become her job and she has continued to master her craft while influencing girls entering the game.

“I don’t get to think about my age and all that,” Ko said. “But to see a lot of the girls here that are not much younger than me or the same age, it’s pretty cool. I just feel more fortunate that I can do this at my age.”

Lewis gunning for first title of 2015: Stacy Lewis has found herself in contention several times this season, tied for second on Tour with three top-10 finishes, but the Rolex Rankings No. 3 has yet to raise a trophy.

“I’m pretty happy actually with the way I played,” Lewis said. “I’m kind of been working on my golf swing and the old stuff kind of crept in on Sundays when the pressure got on. I would rather find that out now than in a week or two from now. So in that aspect, I’m working on the right things because obviously it’s there.”

As Lewis mentioned, her downfall this year has been the final round where she is averaging 72.5 strokes per round.

“A little bit frustrated that I didn’t play better on the Sundays but I mean, to be in contention, to make Top 10s, that’s the ultimate goal. So I’m happy. I’m happy with what we’re working on and the way we’re going with things.”

Munoz injury update: Azahara Munoz underwent surgery on Monday to remove a tumor in her left hand. She is expected to miss at least a month while she recovers from the surgery. Munoz withdrew from the JTBC Founders Cup last week prior to her surgery.

Quote of the day: “Growing up, I couldn’t play until after noon on the weekend. Even though I could beat most of the guys on the golf course, I still couldn’t play. You’re seeing things changing and we’re getting it at a good time right now where the money is there, the opportunity is there - it’s really a huge opportunity right now and we just need people to jump on board.”

-Stacy Lewis on the growth of women and young girls involved in golf and how it’s impacting the game

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