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Round 4 - Kerr breaks record, wins Kia Classic

MArch 29, 2015

Known as a heartedly self-motivated player on the LPGA Tour, Cristie Kerr used a little bit of extra personal motivation this week to claim her 17th career LPGA Tour victory at the Kia Classic. It looked as if nothing would get in Kerr’s way en-route to a final-round 65. Her four-round total of 20-under par 268 broke the event’s scoring record by four shots.

“It does, and you know what, my caddie Greg’s father passed away last week, and he wasn’t with me in Phoenix,” said Kerr. “I played for the both of us this week, and I said I was going to do it, and I did it and it made it that much more special for us as our first win together and for my son being there, my family, and probably -- I mean this right here.”

Kerr started Sunday’s round three shots off the lead and a hot putter in the middle of the round helped kick start the charge. She carded five birdies in a span of six holes from Nos. 5-10. But a bogey on the par 4 12th dropped her back into a three-way tie with Lydia Ko and Mirim Lee at 17-under par.

“You know, starting to the fifth hole, you know, the first couple -- first couple holes I just made really great pars and just hung in there, actually the first three holes I did that, and you know, I said to Gregor, my caddie on 5, come on, you know, here we begin,” said Kerr. “I made a lot of birdies on the front after that, even, you know, even not birdieing the 8th hole, I still did great on the front and just gutted out a terrific birdie on 10.”

Kerr bogeyed her first hole of the day on No. 12 but ignited a fire which started a birdie barrage of four-consecutive birdies on Nos. 13-16 and extended her lead to three shots with two holes to play.

But second-year Tour member Mirim Lee hit the shot of the day, bombing her tee shot on the par 4 16th hole to three feet. She sank the putt for eagle and cut the lead to one shot.

But Lee would double bogey No. 17 from a poor tee shot that landed in the right woods and dropped two shots back. Kerr walked to the 18th tee with a three-shot lead, a good enough cushion to let her bogey the final hole and finish two shots clear.

“I feel obviously very confident. I am so happy that my caddie and I got a win early on the board together,” said Kerr. “You know, his father passing away last week, I mean it just shows you life is really short and you have to seize the moment when you can, and I really just felt extra motivation to play for us and also reflecting back to what I’m grateful for and have in my life. I just tried to play as many shots without interference as possible this week, and I did great.”

Kerr made 43 starts in between her last two victories, her last coming at the 2013 Kingsmill Championship. She becomes the first American winner of the 2015 season and first to win the event in its six-year history. Kerr said the win had a little bit of destiny attached to it now that she and her caddie got their first win coming off an emotional week.

“Just felt like it was meant to be, our first win together, even our first Top 10 together really,” said Kerr.

“I mean we just fell in stride and the team that we are is pretty amazing in such a short period of time.”

Leaderboard
Player R1 R2 R3 R4 To Par
Cristie Kerr 67 68 68 65 -20
Mirim Lee 65 69 66 70 -18
Lydia Ko 67 70 67 67 -17
Alison Lee 69 66 66 71 -16
Inbee Park 68 70 68 67 -15

The Streak Continues:
Rolex Rankings No. 1 Lydia Ko continued her streak of sub-par rounds to 28 with a 5-under 67 on Sunday. Earlier this week, she said she likes to take the tough rounds as lessons learned. She said that today made her realize she needs to feel more comfortable over her putts when her ball striking lags.

“Today, I just said -- like even at the Coates, I wasn’t hitting the ball very well,” said Ko. “I was just holing a lot of good putts, and that was kind of what was going on today. Obviously I stuck a couple close, and that was good. I think some parts of I just gotta be confident in my game still because I know that I’m playing good enough, that I can trust my putter even though my ball striking is a little off or vice versa.”

Ko has been playing consistently terrific golf and will be bringing a ton of momentum into the year’s first major next week at the ANA Inspiration. The 17-year old has another shot at history and could become the youngest major champion with a win in the desert.

“I mean I’ve been watching Golf Channel, and they’ve been saying the spotlight is kind of on me, you know, who’s going to win, but you know, it’s going to be definitely a tough week,” said Ko. “I know that all the girls are trying to bring their A games together, and that’s what I gotta do. So I’m just going to try and have fun. Hopefully I’ll hit some really good shots, make some good putts and give myself a good run for it.”

Key Numbers To Know:

1 – Cristie Kerr was the first American to win the Kia Classic
6 – Players from six different countries have now won the Kia Classic
9 – Consecutive weeks at the top of the Rolex Rankings for Lydia Ko after a third place finish
11 – Projected Rolex Ranking for Cristie Kerr after her win at the Kia Classic
17 – Career LPGA wins for Cristie Kerr
-20 - Tournament record score for Cristie Kerr at the Kia Classic this week at the Aviara Golf Club
28 – Consecutive rounds under par for Lydia Ko after the final round at the Kia Classic
64 – Ilhee Lee tied the Aviara Golf Club course record, originally set by Dori Carter in the second round of the 2014 Kia Classic and also done in the second round by Morgan Pressel and the third round by Se Ri Pak.

Quotable:

“I play with Morgan (Pressel). I learn from her. Tell her I try to copy her today.“

– Ilhee Lee when asked why so many players are tying the course record this week. She played with Morgan Pressel during the second round at thh Kia Classic, when Morgan also tied the course record.

Show Me the Eagles: 16 total eagles were made this weekend at the Kia Classic and players raised $16,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project as part of the season-long Wounded Warrior Project® Weekends.

The 16 eagles today pushes the season-total to $52,000.

Wounded Warrior Project® Weekends is a season-long charity program that will be tied into the Race to the CME Globe. Each Saturday and Sunday at LPGA tournaments, CME Group will donate $1,000 to Wounded Warrior Project® for each eagle that is recorded. This amount will increase to $5,000 for each eagle during the weekend of the CME Group Tour Championship and a formal check will be presented to the Wounded Warrior Project® during the trophy ceremony at the CME Group Tour Championship. To get involved and learn more, visit woundedwarriorproject.org.

Click here for full scores & prize money.

Round 3 - Lee poised for 3rd LPGA victory

March 28, 2015

Mirim Lee, already a two-time winner on LPGA Tour, is in prime position for her third victory in just her 33rd career LPGA event played. Lee fired a third round 6-under 66 and has a one stroke lead over rookie Alison Lee (-15) heading into the final round. Lee is looking for her first LPGA win in just her fourth start in her rookie year.

Mirim was all smiles after her round and confident in her position heading into Sunday.

“I think comfortable,” Mirim said about being in contention. “Just I think patience, patience, patience.”

After a 66th place finish at the 2014 Kia Classic, Mirim’s caddie Dylan Vallequette said there are no expectations coming in this week. Their goal was to just play, practice and get ready for next week.

Another rookie, Sakura Yokomine is tied with 16-time winner Cristie Kerr at 13-under par and three shots back. Yokomine’s best finish in an LPGA event is 4th, done two times previously.

The round of the day belongs to 25-time LPGA winner Se Ri Pak, who tied the course record of 8-under 64 today. The record was set by Dori Carter in the second round in 2014 and tied yesterday by Morgan Pressel. The track at Aviara Golf Club is one she enjoys playing on and finished T6 here in 2014.

“I had a shoulder injury last year, and this is my third event,” Pak said. “I wasn’t expecting anything, just each week hopefully get better. My game is getting together. But until yesterday it wasn’t really great, but today it was happening, so it really helps a lot. It was really fun.”

Leaderboard
Player
R1
R2
R3
R4
To Par
Mirim Lee
65
69
66
-
-16
Alison Lee
69
66
66
-
-15
Sakura Yokomine
69
67
67
-
-13
Cristie Kerr
67
68
68
-
-13
4 players tied at -12

 

The Streak Continues:
Another day, another round under par for Lydia Ko. In the third round of the Kia Classic, Ko extended her consecutive rounds under par streak to 27 straight with a 5-under 67 and is four strokes off leader Mirim Lee (-16). She has been within five of the lead heading into the final round in every LPGA event she has played in 2015.

Her approach tomorrow is to try to repeat exactly what she’s done the last few days.

“I played with Katie (Burnett) today and we both made a good share of birdies, and that’s what I’m going to try and do tomorrow with the other girl that I’m going to play with,” Ko said. “It’s a tough course. You can get really lucky and make a lot of great putts, and I think the person that is going to hole a lot of putts tomorrow is going to be the winner. Just being packed up towards the leaderboard, you never know who’s going to be the winner.”

Ko’s last non-sub par round was when she was even par in the final round of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in 2014.

Key Numbers To Know:
7 – Number of eagles on hole 16 today, 11 overall
8 – Consecutive weeks at the top of the Rolex Rankings for Lydia Ko
27 – Consecutive rounds under par for Lydia Ko after Rd. 2 at the Kia Classic
64 – Se Ri Pak tied the Aviara Golf Club course record, originally set by Dori Carter in the second round of the 2014 Kia Classic and also done in the second round yesterday by Morgan Pressel.

Strong Finish For Creamer:
Paula Creamer sits four shots off the lead heading into the final round and used an eagle-birdie-birdie finish to jump up into a tie for fifth.

“You know, I’ve bogeyed that hole, 15, twice now, and I haven’t really had many bogeys except on that hole, and I was pretty fuming after that,” said Creamer.

The 10-time LPGA winner had six birdies, two bogeys and an eagle in her round of 66 on Saturday and said she feels really comfortable at the Carlsbad-based course.

“The whole day I gave myself lots of opportunities. I really like this golf course. I love playing in front of my friends and family, which is nice, but just starting to give myself more looks, and really having fun out there,” said Creamer.

With a tight leaderboard and 18 holes to play, Creamer said her strategy will be to get off to a quick start on Sunday.

“I want to start off strong, but if you look at today, I finished strong, so there’s really no way that -- either one you take, and just to not get too far behind,” said Creamer. “I don’t know where I’m going to sit after everybody is done, but I want to keep pace with everybody, and I’ll be a couple groups in front of the leaders, that’s for sure, so if I can post a good number, you never know what happens.”

Final Push For ANA Inspiration:
A handful of players have one final round to make a run at a spot in the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. The final criteria for players to get into the field is top 20-players who aren’t already qualified and are currently in the top 80 on the Official Money List at the conclusion of the Kia Classic. As of right now Wei Ling Hsu is the last player in the field per the criteria and ranks 76th ($20,160) on the Money List through the JTBC Founders Cup.

Here are five players with a great chance at earning a spot with their play on Sunday:

Pos. on Money List
Player
Money Won
Pos. After 2 Rds
85
Katie Burnett
$15,523
T10
90
Maria Hernandez
$13,536
T15
91
Brooke Pancake
$12,384
T47
96
Laetitia Beck
$10,314
T70
101
Candie Kung
$8,817
T23

Rolex Rankings Projections:

Ko retains No. 1 if:
• She finishes in a three-way tie for second or better even if Park wins.
• Park finishes in a tie for second or worse regardless of what Lydia does.
Park can go to No. 1 if:
• Park wins AND Ko finishes in a four-way tie for second or worse.
• Ko misses the cut AND Park finishes in solo second or better.

No. 3 Stacy Lewis cannot go to No. 1 regardless of what happens this week but she can move up to No. 2 if she wins and Park finishes in third or worse.

Quotable: “Yeah, it’s getting addicting. I like Criminal Minds and all that, but then I get totally freaked out, so it’s really not the genre to watch. But HBO has been having some really good movie selections. I got really excited for Red 2 yesterday. Anything funny with a little bit of action. No romance for me. “

– Lydia Ko when she was asked if she was a bit of a TV watcher.

Keep It Calm: Rookie Alison Lee (-15) heads into the final round of the Kia Classic just one shot off leader Mirim Lee (-16).

“I’m still a rookie out here, but I feel like I’ve had a lot of experience and played in a lot of tournaments to know that I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself, so over the last stretch of holes, I just played my own game, stayed in the moment, and to be honest, I didn’t even know what I shot until I signed my scorecard. I was like, Mike, is this right, 66? But I have grown to learn that that’s how I play my best golf, and I’ve been able to channel that throughout this week.”

Lee finds herself in contention heading into the final round for the second time in as many weeks. The 20-year old was three shots off the lead at the JTBC Founders Cup last week but closed with a 2-over 74 to finish in a tie for 24th. She said her goal for tomorrow is to keep control of her nerves.

“I still want to do my best to stay calm,” said Lee. “Obviously last week at the Founders I had a really good third round and I was second or third place going into the last day, and I got a little ahead of myself, and I shot 2-over the last day. So I just want to stay calm, hold on to my last couple rounds here, and just play golf.”

With rounds of 69-66-66 so far this week, Lee has built back up her confidence and will use the learning experience from last week to hopefully put together a strong finish. If Lee finishes at the top of the leaderboard, she would be the second rookie to win (Sei Young Kim) and third Rolex First-Time Winner (Kim and Hyo Joo Kim) of the year.

“I was obviously disappointed. I put myself in a really good position going into the last day and I was hitting it great, but on the last day I just couldn’t roll my putts in,” said Lee. “I feel like that’s all a learning experience and I was top 5 and got pushed down to top 25. It was a good learning experience, and I want to take what I learned from last week and apply it to this week, and I know I’m only one shot back, but I’m just going to try and play my game and play against the golf course.”

Show me the eagles: 11 total eagles were made today at the Kia Classic and players raised $11,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project as part of the season-long Wounded Warrior Project® Weekends.

The 11 eagles today pushes the season-total to $47,000.

Wounded Warrior Project® Weekends is a season-long charity program that will be tied into the Race to the CME Globe. Each Saturday and Sunday at LPGA tournaments, CME Group will donate $1,000 to Wounded Warrior Project® for each eagle that is recorded. This amount will increase to $5,000 for each eagle during the weekend of the CME Group Tour Championship and a formal check will be presented to the Wounded Warrior Project® during the trophy ceremony at the CME Group Tour Championship. To get involved and learn more, visit woundedwarriorproject.org.

Round 2 - Pressel and Lee tied for R2 lead

March 27, 2015

Morgan Pressel tied the course record at Aviara Golf Club on Friday with an 8-under 64 to climb into a share of the second-round lead with South Korea’s Mirim Lee (69). The duo sit at 10-under par and one shot clear of 16-time winner Cristie Kerr (68) and rookie Alison Lee (66). Four players are two shots back at 8-under par including last week’s winner Hyo Joo Kim, American Brittany Lang, Spain’s Maria Hernandez, Sakura Yokomine of Japan.

World No. 1 Lydia Ko is in a tie for eighth alongside with No. 3 Stacy Lewis and three shots back at 7-under par. No. 2 Inbee Park is within striking distance at 6-under par.

“It was definitely stress free,” said Pressel. “I hit almost every fairway, and I think I hit 16 or 17 greens and just had a chance for birdie on almost every hole…I just hit it where I wanted to hit it today. It’s been a while since I’ve kind of been confident knowing where the golf ball would go, and so it was nice to kind of swing freely out there today and have the result that I did.”

The score also tied her career-low round which she has previously shot on four separate occasions, most recently in 2013 in the final round of the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic. Pressel’s last victory came nearly seven years ago at the 2008 Kapalua LPGA Classic.

First-round leader Mirim Lee followed up her round of 65 yesterday with a 3-under 69 on Friday. It marks the second time in her career that she will hold the 36-hole lead. The last time was at the 2014 JTBC Founders Cup where she finished in a tie for second.

Course Record For Pressel:
Morgan Pressel knew she needed to make some changes early on in the year and dug up an old number to call for a bit of swing help before the west coast swing.

“I was kind of on my own for a little bit in terms of my swing and just trying to work through things by myself, and then I called my long time coach Ron Stockton back into the mix, and I really like what we’ve been working on,” said Pressel. “I knew where I needed to get the club, but I was having a lot of trouble actually getting it there, so a couple of hard days with him followed by the week last week and trying to take it out on the golf course kind of helped put it into play for this week.”

The work has seemed to pay off since Pressel has not played well to start off the 2015 season. Her best finish is a tie for 33rd at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic. But things came together including a stellar putting day on Friday. Her round of 64 tied the course record set by Dori Carter in the second round last year.

Pressel had 27 putts in both her first and second round and ranks tie for third in putts her greens in regulation in the field through two rounds. She sank a 50-foot birdie putt on 18 on Friday and added three more of about 20 feet.

“The greens are difficult. They’re tough to read, and then they’re bumpy, especially later in the day,” said Pressel. “That kind of puts it all in perspective as to how difficult the greens are out here. But early I made a couple really long putts, and you kind of feel like you’re stealing them when they go in. So that was nice, and then later on, I mean I was hitting it close, too, so I gave myself a lot of opportunities, and certainly some of them went in, and that was nice. I had one that was like a kick in, so that was nice, too.”

Leaderboard
Player
R1
R2
R3
R4
To Par
Morgan Pressel
70
64
-
-
-10
Mirim Lee
65
69
-
-
-10
Alison Lee
69
66
-
-
-9
Cristie Kerr
67
68
-
-
-9

The Streak Continues:
Lydia Ko followed up her opening round 67 with a second round 70 and extended her consecutive rounds under par. streak to 26 straight. Her goal coming into the year was to play more consistent and she has done just that. She doesn’t follow records closely but if she ends up breaking some, she will be pleased.

“I don’t know all the records and all the details on that, but yeah, you know, like I always say, I’m going to try and have fun, and if I play good golf and kind of broke some records, great.”

Ko’s last non-sub par round was when she was even par in the final round of the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in November, 2014.

Key Numbers to Know:
8 – Consecutive weeks at the top of the Rolex Rankings for Lydia Ko
26 – Consecutive rounds under par for Lydia Ko after Rd. 2 at the Kia Classic
64 – Morgan Pressel tied the Aviara Golf Club course record, originally set by Dori Carter in the second round of the 2014 Kia Classic

School's Out:
Alison Lee tied the course record at Wildfire Golf Club at the Founders Cup in Phoenix last week with a 63 in the third round and came up just two shots shy of the record this week at Aviara on Friday. Her round of 66 in the second round jumped her up the leaderboard from T17 to T3.

“I’m just in tune with my swing right now,” said Lee. “I think I’m striking the ball really well. That’s been my key for the past couple weeks. I haven’t missed very much greens, and I’ve been getting the yardages right and hitting it pretty good and I feel really confident when I’m over the ball for my approach shot.”

Lee has had more time to concentrate on just golf as she just finished her semester as a full-time student at UCLA last week. She was taking final exams and finishing papers on the road during the event in Phoenix. She said she’ll take a hiatus from school work for the next semester and that her decision to leave was one of the toughest she has made. But her good play recently has reaffirmed her decision to go pro.

“Yeah, for sure. I mean, before I played Q school I was really nervous,” said Lee. “I didn’t know if I was making the right decision. Obviously I played really well in college, but still, it’s a different game out here, and I didn’t know if I was ready for it. I don’t know how I would do out here, but obviously playing well and making cuts and playing rounds like this today really it feels great. It reassures everything I’ve been working towards and kind of shows me that I can compete with a lot of the girls out here.”

Final Push For ANA Inspiration:
A handful of players put themselves in good position for the weekend to make a final run at a spot in the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. The final criteria for players to get into the field is top 20-players who aren’t already qualified and are currently in the top 80 on the Official Money List at the conclusion of the Kia Classic. As of right now Wei Ling Hsu is the last player in the field per the criteria and ranks 76th ($20,160) on the Money List through the JTBC Founders Cup.

Here are five players to keep an eye on over the next two days who have a good shot at earning a spot in the desert next week based on their play in Carlsbad.

Pos. on Money List
Player
Money Won
Pos. After 2 Rds
85
Katie Burnett
$15,523
T12
90
Maria Hernandez
$13,536
T5
91
Brooke Pancake
$12,384
T26
96
Laetitia Beck
$10,314
T26
101
Candie Kung
$8,817
T26

Rolex Rankings Projections:
Scenarios this week at the Kia Classic for a change in the Rolex Rankings No. 1 spot:
Ko retains No. 1 if:
• She finishes in a three-way tie for second or better even if Park wins.
• Park finishes in a tie for second or worse regardless of what Lydia does.

Park can go to No. 1 if:
• Park wins AND Ko finishes in a four-way tie for second or worse.
• Ko misses the cut AND Park finishes in solo second or better.

No. 3 Stacy Lewis cannot go to No. 1 regardless of what happens this week but she can move up to No. 2 if she wins and Park finishes in third or worse.

Quotable: “I’ve graduated to big girl golf now. I can line myself up. It’s pretty good. It’s one of those things I wanted to take ownership of. I choose a club, I pick my shot, I pick my target. We still definitely talk about it a lot, but I can trust myself. I did it in junior golf and I did it in amateur golf. There’s no reason why I can’t do it out here. Every once in a while there’s a confidence thing where if there’s a tough tee shot I’ll have him just check me out, but no, I can do it on my own. “

– Paula Creamer on the philosophy behind her caddie Colin no longer lining her up.

Notables:
• The cut was made with 75 players making the cut which fell at 1-under 143. Notables who missed the cut were Gerina Piller and Suzann Pettersen.
• Katherine Kirk had a hole-in-one using a pitching wedge, 93 yards, on hole 3 today.
• Seon Hwa Lee and Hee Kyung Seo both withdrew prior to the second round of the Kia Classic due to illness

Round 1 - Lee takes lead ahead of Tseng

March 26, 2015

Second-year Tour member and two-time LPGA winner Mirim Lee leads a packed leaderboard after the first round of the Kia Classic and shot a bogey-free 65 at Aviara Golf Club. 15-time LPGA Tour winner Yani Tseng (66) trails Lee by one shot in solo second and is looking to break back into the winner circle for the first time since the 2012 Kia Classic.

Scores

Pos.
Player
Scores
Total
To Par
Prize Money
1
Cristie Kerr
67 - 68 - 68 - 65
268
-20
$255,000.00
2
Mirim Lee
65 - 69 - 66 - 70
270
-18
$156,242.00
3
Lydia Ko
67 - 70 - 67 - 67
271
-17
$113,342.00
4
Alison Lee
69 - 66 - 66 - 71
272
-16
$87,679.00
5
Inbee Park
68 - 70 - 68 - 67
273
-15
$70,572.00
6T
Hyo Joo Kim
68 - 68 - 72 - 66
274
-14
$53,036.00
6T
Ha Na Jang
70 - 69 - 67 - 68
274
-14
$53,036.00
8T
Moriya Jutanugarn
69 - 69 - 69 - 68
275
-13
$40,205.00
8T
Sakura Yokomine
69 - 67 - 67 - 72
275
-13
$40,205.00
10T
Ilhee Lee
71 - 71 - 70 - 64
276
-12
$30,213.00
10T
Anna Nordqvist
72 - 69 - 68 - 67
276
-12
$30,213.00
10T
Lexi Thompson
68 - 72 - 65 - 71
276
-12
$30,213.00
10T
Se Ri Pak
69 - 71 - 64 - 72
276
-12
$30,213.00
10T
Paula Creamer
69 - 69 - 66 - 72
276
-12
$30,213.00
15T
Jessica Korda
74 - 68 - 68 - 67
277
-11
$22,925.00
15T
Stacy Lewis
68 - 69 - 70 - 70
277
-11
$22,925.00
15T
Morgan Pressel
70 - 64 - 72 - 71
277
-11
$22,925.00
15T
Jennifer Song
70 - 68 - 66 - 73
277
-11
$22,925.00
19T
I.K. Kim
73 - 68 - 71 - 68
280
-8
$17,365.00
19T
Caroline Masson
71 - 70 - 71 - 68
280
-8
$17,365.00
19T
Austin Ernst
68 - 73 - 70 - 69
280
-8
$17,365.00
19T
Shanshan Feng
70 - 69 - 72 - 69
280
-8
$17,365.00
19T
Beatriz Recari
69 - 71 - 70 - 70
280
-8
$17,365.00
19T
Carlota Ciganda
70 - 72 - 67 - 71
280
-8
$17,365.00
19T
Lee-Anne Pace
71 - 67 - 71 - 71
280
-8
$17,365.00
19T
Julieta Granada
71 - 69 - 67 - 73
280
-8
$17,365.00
19T
Maria Hernandez
70 - 66 - 71 - 73
280
-8
$17,365.00
19T
Katie Burnett
71 - 67 - 68 - 74
280
-8
$17,365.00
29T
Karine Icher
68 - 74 - 72 - 67
281
-7
$12,660.00
29T
Sandra Gal
72 - 71 - 70 - 68
281
-7
$12,660.00
29T
Michelle Wie
69 - 74 - 70 - 68
281
-7
$12,660.00
29T
Eun-Hee Ji
71 - 70 - 72 - 68
281
-7
$12,660.00
29T
Sei Young Kim
71 - 71 - 70 - 69
281
-7
$12,660.00
29T
Amy Yang
70 - 72 - 70 - 69
281
-7
$12,660.00
35T
Danielle Kang
71 - 72 - 70 - 69
282
-6
$9,894.00
35T
Pornanong Phatlum
71 - 71 - 70 - 70
282
-6
$9,894.00
35T
Jane Rah
69 - 69 - 74 - 70
282
-6
$9,894.00
35T
Mo Martin
70 - 68 - 73 - 71
282
-6
$9,894.00
35T
Brittany Lincicome
71 - 69 - 70 - 72
282
-6
$9,894.00
35T
Brittany Lang
68 - 68 - 70 - 76
282
-6
$9,894.00
41T
Ai Miyazato
70 - 73 - 70 - 70
283
-5
$7,887.00
41T
Angela Stanford
70 - 73 - 70 - 70
283
-5
$7,887.00
41T
Chella Choi
70 - 71 - 71 - 71
283
-5
$7,887.00
41T
Therese Koelbaek
71 - 68 - 72 - 72
283
-5
$7,887.00
41T
Alison Walshe
70 - 67 - 74 - 72
283
-5
$7,887.00
46T
So Yeon Ryu
70 - 71 - 73 - 70
284
-4
$6,629.00
46T
Thidapa Suwannapura
69 - 71 - 73 - 71
284
-4
$6,629.00
46T
Paula Reto
71 - 72 - 69 - 72
284
-4
$6,629.00
46T
Candie Kung
71 - 69 - 70 - 74
284
-4
$6,629.00
50T
Kim Kaufman
74 - 69 - 71 - 71
285
-3
$5,474.00
50T
Christina Kim
71 - 70 - 73 - 71
285
-3
$5,474.00
50T
Pernilla Lindberg
73 - 66 - 74 - 72
285
-3
$5,474.00
50T
Alena Sharp
69 - 74 - 69 - 73
285
-3
$5,474.00
50T
In Gee Chun
68 - 72 - 72 - 73
285
-3
$5,474.00
50T
Xiyu Lin
67 - 72 - 73 - 73
285
-3
$5,474.00
50T
Jodi Ewart Shadoff
74 - 69 - 68 - 74
285
-3
$5,474.00
57T
Catriona Matthew
72 - 71 - 71 - 72
286
-2
$4,619.00
57T
Jennifer Johnson
72 - 70 - 71 - 73
286
-2
$4,619.00
57T
Brooke Pancake
69 - 71 - 73 - 73
286
-2
$4,619.00
60T
Wei Ling Hsu
71 - 71 - 73 - 72
287
-1
$4,192.00
60T
Mi Hyang Lee
71 - 72 - 71 - 73
287
-1
$4,192.00
60T
Mariajo Uribe
71 - 70 - 70 - 76
287
-1
$4,192.00
63T
Demi Runas
73 - 70 - 75 - 70
288
E
$3,764.00
63T
Nicole Castrale
70 - 73 - 75 - 70
288
E
$3,764.00
63T
Karrie Webb
67 - 75 - 74 - 72
288
E
$3,764.00
63T
Q Baek
73 - 70 - 71 - 74
288
E
$3,764.00
63T
Jennifer Rosales
69 - 71 - 74 - 74
288
E
$3,764.00
63T
Haeji Kang
70 - 73 - 70 - 75
288
E
$3,764.00
63T
Mika Miyazato
70 - 73 - 70 - 75
288
E
$3,764.00
70
Laetitia Beck
70 - 70 - 77 - 72
289
1
$3,422.00
71
Dori Carter
74 - 68 - 69 - 79
290
2
$3,380.00
72
Yani Tseng
66 - 76 - 72 - 78
292
4
$3,335.00
73
Victoria Elizabeth
72 - 71 - 74 - 76
293
5
$3,293.00
74
Belen Mozo
71 - 71 - 78 - 74
294
6
$3,250.00
75
Karlin Beck
70 - 71 - 80 - 77
298
10
$3,211.00
CUT
Marina Alex
76 - 68
144
E
$0.00
CUT
Katherine Kirk
74 - 70
144
E
$0.00
CUT
Becky Morgan
74 - 70
144
E
$0.00
CUT
Sarah Jane Smith
73 - 71
144
E
$0.00
CUT
Jaclyn Sweeney
73 - 71
144
E
$0.00
CUT
Sun Young Yoo
73 - 71
144
E
$0.00
CUT
Laura Davies
72 - 72
144
E
$0.00
CUT
Caroline Hedwall
72 - 72
144
E
$0.00
CUT
Gerina Piller
72 - 72
144
E
$0.00
CUT
Amy Anderson
71 - 73
144
E
$0.00
CUT
Suzann Pettersen
71 - 73
144
E
$0.00
CUT
Ayako Uehara
71 - 73
144
E
$0.00
CUT
Sadena Parks
70 - 74
144
E
$0.00
CUT
Jackie Stoelting
68 - 76
144
E
$0.00
CUT
Line Vedel
77 - 68
145
1
$0.00
CUT
Sydnee Michaels
74 - 71
145
1
$0.00
CUT
Jenny Shin
74 - 71
145
1
$0.00
CUT
Joanna Klatten
73 - 72
145
1
$0.00
CUT
Minjee Lee
73 - 72
145
1
$0.00
CUT
Ji Young Oh
73 - 72
145
1
$0.00
CUT
Kendall Dye
71 - 74
145
1
$0.00
CUT
Natalie Gulbis
71 - 74
145
1
$0.00
CUT
Garrett Phillips
71 - 74
145
1
$0.00
CUT
Kris Tamulis
71 - 74
145
1
$0.00
CUT
Cheyenne Woods
71 - 74
145
1
$0.00
CUT
Ariya Jutanugarn
70 - 75
145
1
$0.00
CUT
Marissa Steen
75 - 71
146
2
$0.00
CUT
Ryann O'Toole
73 - 73
146
2
$0.00
CUT
Ju Young Park
73 - 73
146
2
$0.00
CUT
Haru Nomura
72 - 74
146
2
$0.00
CUT
Min Lee
71 - 75
146
2
$0.00
CUT
Jane Park
77 - 70
147
3
$0.00
CUT
P.K. Kongkraphan
75 - 72
147
3
$0.00
CUT
Lisa Ferrero
74 - 73
147
3
$0.00
CUT
Mina Harigae
74 - 73
147
3
$0.00
CUT
Min Seo Kwak
74 - 73
147
3
$0.00
CUT
Giulia Sergas
73 - 74
147
3
$0.00
CUT
Hee Young Park
72 - 75
147
3
$0.00
CUT
Sarah Kemp
71 - 76
147
3
$0.00
CUT
Amelia Lewis
71 - 76
147
3
$0.00
CUT
Tiffany Joh
77 - 71
148
4
$0.00
CUT
Meena Lee
76 - 72
148
4
$0.00
CUT
Na Yeon Choi
75 - 73
148
4
$0.00
CUT
Juli Inkster
75 - 73
148
4
$0.00
CUT
Sophia Popov
75 - 73
148
4
$0.00
CUT
Danah Bordner
74 - 74
148
4
$0.00
CUT
Mallory Blackwelder
73 - 75
148
4
$0.00
CUT
Christel Boeljon
73 - 75
148
4
$0.00
CUT
Kristy McPherson
73 - 75
148
4
$0.00
CUT
Mi Jung Hur
72 - 76
148
4
$0.00
CUT
Karin Sjodin
72 - 76
148
4
$0.00
CUT
Kelly Tan
72 - 76
148
4
$0.00
CUT
Simin Feng
77 - 72
149
5
$0.00
CUT
Kelly Shon
75 - 74
149
5
$0.00
CUT
Nannette Hill
76 - 74
150
6
$0.00
CUT
SooBin Kim
75 - 75
150
6
$0.00
CUT
Dewi Claire Schreefel
75 - 75
150
6
$0.00
CUT
Perrine Delacour
74 - 76
150
6
$0.00
CUT
Yueer Cindy Feng
73 - 77
150
6
$0.00
CUT
Ashleigh Simon
77 - 74
151
7
$0.00
CUT
Marijosse Navarro
74 - 77
151
7
$0.00
CUT
Laura Diaz
68 - 83
151
7
$0.00
CUT
Jaye Marie Green
75 - 77
152
8
$0.00
CUT
Jenny Gleason
78 - 75
153
9
$0.00
CUT
Paz Echeverria
78 - 77
155
11
$0.00
CUT
Vicky Hurst
79 - 77
156
12
$0.00
CUT
Christine Song
84 - 89
173
29
$0.00
WDC
Seon Hwa Lee
72
72
E
$0.00
WDC
Hee Kyung Seo
81
81
9
$0.00

 

Preview

DATES:  March 26-29
SITE: Aviara Golf Club, Carlsbad CA
PRIZE MONEY: $1,700,000
Click here for tournament stats & info

The LPGA continues its West Coast swing as it returns to the Aviara Golf Club during this week’s Kia Classic.

This is the sixth year of the Kia Classic and the third consecutive season it has been held at the Aviara Golf Club. In 2014, Anna Nordqvist claimed her fourth career LPGA win after carding consecutive 67’s over the final two rounds to defeat Lizette Salas by a stroke.

The gates open for competition rounds at 7 a.m. and the tournament will be broadcast live on the Golf Channel. For tickets or information, visit kiaclassic.com.

Korean run:
Since Na Yeon Choi captured the season-opening event in Ocala, Korean golfers have been the story of the Tour with Sei Young Kim (PureSilk Bahamas LPGA Classic), Amy Yang (Honda LPGA Thailand) and Inbee Park (HSBC Women’s Champions) and Hyo Joo Kim (JTBC Founders Cup) taking home titles. The only player to win so far this season who doesn’t compete under the South Korean flag is Rolex Rankings No. 1 Lydia Ko (ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open) although she was also born in Seoul, South Korea before moving to New Zealand.

Impressive group of rookies:
The 2015 LPGA rookie class, which arguably is one of the most talented in history, have so far lived up the hype through six events. Specifically, the players currently ranked within the top-5 of the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year standings have performed even better than most expected. Sei Young Kim, winner of the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic ranks third in the Rolex Player of the Year standings.

Cumulatively they have two wins, eight additional top-10 finishes and a total of 16 top 25 finishes through the first six tournaments combined. 20 of the 32 LPGA rookies are in the field this week looking to extend that streak. Visit lpga.com/news/2015-rookies-class for a complete list of 2015 rookies.

Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year as of March 23
RANK PLAYER POINTS
1 SEI YOUNG KIM 315
2 ARIYA JUTANUGARN 283
3 HYO JOO KIM 233
4 HA NA JANG 198
5 MINJEE LEE 148

Lewis contends again:
Stacy Lewis’ name is no unfamiliar sight near the top of LPGA leaderboards but the world No. 3 player would like to see it at the very top more often. Lewis, who finished runner-up to Hyo Joo Kim last week in Phoenix, has eight runner-up finishes in her last 33 starts dating back to the season-opening Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic last year. The second-place finish was her second of the year after she T2 in Thailand during the Asian swing.

And it’s not that Lewis gives up on Sundays. She gave Kim counterpunches in every which way in the final-round battle including four birdies in a five-hole stretch on the back nine.

“Just that I fought like crazy,” said Lewis. “That back nine was pretty cool, the way we made birdies back and forth and on top of each other.”

Lewis is known as one of the grittiest players on Tour and it’d be no surprise to see her break into the winner’s circle more often than runner-up.

“Really, the way I played on the front, to think I could still be within a shot coming up those last few holes was pretty amazing,” said Lewis. “I’m proud of the way I hung in there.”

LPGA nominated as sports league of the year:
The LPGA was announced as one of the five finalists for the Sports Business Journal/Daily Sports League of the Year award category for the Sports Business Awards. Joining the LPGA as the other leagues nominated for the Sports League of the Year award are NASCAR, Major League Soccer (MLS), the Big East Conference and the National Basketball Association (NBA).

“I’m excited for our entire team, whose efforts have been tremendous. We are very honored to be recognized as a finalist by SBJ among other prestigious sports league,” LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan said. “The LPGA had a magical year filled with incredible storylines touching every part of our organization and many Tour victories that showed everyone global success is the best kind of sports story.”

The Sports Business Awards were established to recognize excellence, innovation and outstanding achievements in the business of sports. Nominations were earned for accomplishments during the period from March 1, 2014, to February 28, 2015. The executives and members representing SportsBusiness Journal/Daily will evaluate the nominees and determine the winners, who will be announced at a ceremony on May 20 at the New York Marriott Marquis.

Numbers to know:
22 - Number of North American events in 2015
10 - Lydia Ko now has 10 consecutive top-10 finishes; LPGA record for most-consecutive top-10’s is 16 by Karrie Webb
7 - In Hyo Joo Kim’s last seven LPGA starts, she now has six top 10s including two wins in her last five starts
6 - There have been six different winners this year, each have been born in South Korea
5 - In five years, the Tour has gone from 23 events to 33 events
3 - Stacy Lewis has three consecutive top-3 finishes dating back to the Honda LPGA Thailand

Big three back in action: The top players in the women’s game continue to raise the bar with consistently stellar play as of late and the “big three” of Rolex Rankings No. 1 Lydia Ko, No. 2 Inbee Park and No. 3 Stacy Lewis have carried on a three-headed rivalry on Tour that has everyone else chasing them

Park, who was unseated from her No. 1 spot after the season-opening Coates Golf Championship, said she’s put the No. 1 ranking on the back burner for now.

“You know, if I was always No. 2 and if I never got to No. 1 spot, I probably would want it really bad to get to No. 1 spot,” said Park. “But you know, I’ve been to No. 1 spot before, and I think I feel like I have reached my goal before.

“So I mean I’m not like really eager to get to the spot. I’m just not going to try to push myself or push something to get to No. 1,” Park added. “I’m just going to play good golf and just play week in, week out and just play good golf, and it probably will get me to that spot. It’s not something that you can just push for.”

Scenarios this week at the Kia Classic for a change in the Rolex Rankings No. 1 spot:

Ko retains No. 1 if:
• She finishes in a three-way tie for second or better even if Park wins.
• Park finishes in a tie for second or worse regardless of what Lydia does

Park can go to No. 1 if:
• Park wins AND Ko finishes in a four-way tie for second or worse.
• Ko misses the cut AND Park finishes in solo second or better.

No. 3 Stacy Lewis cannot go to No. 1 regardless of what happens this week but she can move up to No. 2 if she wins and Park finishes in third or worse.

Final push for ANA Inspiration: This week is the final week for players to earn their spots into the season’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. The final criteria for players to get into the field is top 20-players who aren’t already qualified and are currently in the top 80 on the Official Money List at the conclusion of the Kia Classic. As of right now Wei Ling Hsu is the last player in the field per the criteria and ranks 76th ($20,160) on the Money List through the JTBC Founders Cup. Here are the 10 players on the outside looking in on the Money List who are not already qualified for the event. All 10 players are in the field this week in Carlsbad.

Money List Rank
Player
Money Earned (2015)
82
Joanna Klatten
$17,217
83
Perrine Delacour
$17,092
85
Katie Burnett
$15,523
89
Kelly Tan
$13,890
90
Maria Hernandez
$13,536
91
Brooke Pancake
$12,384
93
Christel Boeljon
$11,462
94
Kristy McPherson
$11,359
96
Laetitia Beck
$10,314
98
Sarah Kemp
$9,294

Good start for Park: After getting ousted from the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Rankings after the first event of the season, Inbee Park hasn’t seemed fazed by the unseating of the top spot in the world. Park has been consistently good so far this season and said getting her first win of 2015 at the HSBC Women’s Champions three weeks ago was a great jumpstart to the season.

“I had a win in Singapore, which is great,” said Park. “The earlier the win comes, the better the season goes, I think, because it just gets a lot of pressure off of it you, and you’re kind of proving yourself that you can win this year and you can play well this year again.”

Park played in the LET event in China two weeks ago and finished runner-up to close friend So Yeon Ryu. She said she took it easy last week at home in Las Vegas and feels refreshed for the final two weeks of the LPGA’s west coast swing. Park hasn’t missed a cut in her last 18 starts, dating back to last May at the Airbus LPGA Classic. In her first four starts this year, she hasn’t finished outside the top-15. When asked what the key is to her consistency is, Park said she wasn’t sure but thinks it has to do something with her ball striking. And her stats back that up; she currently leads the Tour in greens in regulation (83.33%).

“I don’t know. It just -- I think once really your game reaches like a certain level, I think that probably puts you in certain spots like being consistent,” said Park. “And I think my ball striking lately has been really good. So I think that’s been the big key to stay consistent and stay in contention. Putting has been kind of on and off, but the ball striking definitely covered that the last couple of weeks.”

Park is primed for another good week in Carlsbad and has historically played well at the Kia Classic. Since the first year in 2010, Park hasn’t finished outside the top 20 and tied for sixth last year at Aviara. She said reading the poa annua greens has been the key for her success at the Carlsbad-based track.

“I think the greens are rolling much better,” said Park. “I mean they’re rolling a lot more consistent. I mean the greens are really tough here. So that’s why I think maybe I had an advantage for last couple of years, because I think I read the breaks really good and I had a good spin on the greens. I think that definitely gave me advantage last couple of years.”

Quotable: “It’s pretty cool to have girls or boys that are similar age to me, and they say, oh, I look up to you. In a way it’s a little awkward because I don’t know exactly what kind of response I should be doing. But you know, it’s really fun, and you know, last week, with the girls’ golf, they had, I think like there were the girls there, on Sunday prior to the event, and they said, oh, sign up if you’re 17 years and younger, and I mean I could enter that.”

– Lydia Ko on being a role model at 17 years old

“I think the most surprising thing about her is her age, because nobody really played that well in her age. And how come she is and how her mentality is so strong.”

– Inbee Park on what impresses her the most on world No. 1 and 17-year old Lydia Ko

Key numbers to know:
8 – Consecutive weeks at the top of the Rolex Rankings for Lydia Ko
4 – After her win last week, Hyo Joo Kim jumped four spots in the Rolex Rankings from 8 to 4
9 – Consecutive top-10 finishes by Lydia Ko, with her streak dating back to the Blue Bay LPGA last October
3 – Consecutive top-3 finishes by Stacy Lewis. She picked up her second runner-up of the season last week in Phoenix. She has four runner-ups since her last victory at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship last June

Lewis leaving a legacy: Besides wanting to be the best female golfer in the world, Stacy Lewis has a bigger goal she’d like to achieve during her career: to leave the game better than she found it.

Lewis is well on her way and continues to provide opportunities for the next generation with an announcement she made on Wednesday morning in partnership with the AJGA and KPMG.

The inaugural KPMG Stacy Lewis Junior All-Star Invitational, a 54-hole, stroke-play championship at the Blessings Golf Club in Johnson, Arkansas, will be played June 22-25, 2015. The event will be the first format of its kind for the AJGA. A field of 64 of the best players (32 boys and 32 girls), ages 12-15, will play in mixed pairings to determine the Boys and Girls Division champions, as well as introduce a new boys-versus-girls team competition. In the team competition, the top eight cumulative boys’ scores and the top eight cumulative girls’ scores will decide the overall team champion.

“I am thrilled to see this tournament come to fruition where boys and girls will be playing together in the same pairings at a place that is so close to my heart” said Lewis. “I want to thank the Blessings Golf Club for agreeing to host this special event. I am excited about how this format will not only help to spark new friendships, but will also encourage the development of a healthy gender-blind respect for each other as fellow competitors. Thank you to the AJGA for saying yes to this unique format without hesitation and to my sponsor KPMG, who continues not only to support my endeavors on tour, but also the initiatives that are so important to me.”





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