Jutanugarn, Korda sisters sharpen field for LPGA Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational

Thananuwat Srirasant/Getty Images

Jutanugarn, Korda sisters sharpen field for LPGA Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational

Golf

Jutanugarn, Korda sisters sharpen field for LPGA Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational

By

It’s finally here. A first-of-its-kind, full-field team event on the LPGA schedule that should showcase more personality and bring an added element of fun before everything heats up with back-to-back majors.

Two set of sister acts – all four ranked in the top 30 in the world – highlight a field of 72 teams competing for a $2 million purse at the inaugural Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational. The first-place team will split $485,000 and receive the standard two-year winner’s exemption on the priority list as well as a one-year exemption into three majors: ANA Inspiration, KPMG Women’s PGA and the Evian Championship.

The money and Race to the CME Globe points will be official. But no points will be allotted toward the Rolex Rankings, Solheim, Rolex Player of the Year or Rookie of the Year standings.

While there are a number of teams with heavy resumes, several top players have chosen not to make the trek from Midland, Mich., to Evian, France, despite the tournament ended on a Saturday to make travel easier. The upcoming three-week overseas swing includes the Evian, AIG Women’s British Open and Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open.

Players skipping the Dow include World No. 1 Sung Hyun Park, Inbee Park, So Yeon Ryu, Jeongeun Lee6, Sei Young Kim, Hannah Green, Shanshan Feng and several top-ranked European Solheim Cup players in Carlota Ciganda, Charley Hull, Georgia Hall, Azahara Munoz and Caroline Masson.

Every American ranked in the top 100 is in the field, with the exception of a few players out with injuries (Michelle Wie, Mo Martin) or on maternity leave (Brittany Lincicome).

The format unites old college teammates, like Wake Forest’s Cheyenne Woods and Olafia Kristinsdottir, and brings together fan favorites like Natalie Gulbis and Sandra Gal.

For some players in the field, this will be the first time they’ve ever played alternate shot (foursomes) in competition. The format will feature foursomes during the first and third rounds and four-ball during the second and fourth rounds. There will be a cut to low 35 teams and ties.

CHONBURI, THAILAND - FEBRUARY 25: Jessica Korda and Nelly Korda of United States celebrate after the Honda LPGA Thailand at Siam Country Club on February 25, 2018 in Chonburi, Thailand. (Photo by Thananuwat Srirasant/Getty Images)

Jessica Korda and Nelly Korda will team up again this week at the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational in Midland, Mich. (Thananuwat Srirasant/Getty Images)

11 Teams to Watch

Nelly and Jessica Korda – “Team Jelly” will tee it up together in a team event for the first time. While the sisters are usually on opposite ends of the draw early week at tournaments, they do play a number of practice rounds together.

Stacy Lewis and Gerina Piller – Couple of new moms looking to get back on Juli Inkster’s Solheim Cup team. While they can’t get points from this event, the captain will be on the grounds in Midland watching closely.

Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn – With plenty of UL International Crown team play experience now under their belt, the two sisters, who are also best friends, know how to play together under pressure. Ariya leads the tour in birdies while Moriya ranks fourth.

Minjee Lee and Jin Young Ko – Hard to bet against a team made up of the No. 2 and No. 3 players in the world. Ko leads the tour in scoring and Lee ranks second in birdies. Both have won on tour this season.

Lexi Thompson and Cristie Kerr – A winning combination for Team USA since the 2014 International Crown, the Thompson-Kerr combo will be a force. Kerr fuels Thompson’s confidence on the greens, which might work out quite well for Thompson heading into two majors.

Kristen Gillman and Lauren Stephenson – Former Alabama teammates also competed on the 2018 Curtis Cup team together, dominating a GB&I pair in foursomes. Gillman, a two-time U.S. Women’s Amateur champ, is also on Inkster’s watch list.

Maria Fassi and Jennifer Kupcho – The stars of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur will team up as pros much to the delight of fans. No two players in the field enjoy being part of a team more than this pair.

Austin Ernst and Bronte Law – They might be squaring off against each other at the 2019 Solheim Cup, but this week the two friends will be partners. England’s Law became the second player in Curtis Cup history to go 5-0 in 2016. Ernst made her Team USA Solheim debut in 2017.

Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel – A fan-favorite team, these long-time friends have represented the U.S. a combined 12 times at the Solheim Cup. They’ve also won together in both foursomes and four-balls and will no doubt rise to the occasion in a familiar setting.

Suzann Pettersen and Catriona Matthew – The European Solheim Cup captain and vice captain will be a team to watch as it’s Pettersen’s first LPGA event since the 2017 season-ending CME Group Tour Championship. Pettersen gave birth to son Herman Alexander last August.

Danielle Kang and Lizette Salas – There will be no shortage of energy between these two. Fist-pumps will be flying. Played foursomes together at the 2017 Solheim Cup and won. Both are in solid form this summer, Kang especially.

Latest

More Golfweek
Home