Date: May 30, 2013
Author: LPGA

Aussies head to New Jersey for LPGA

Karrie Webb took a break during last week&aposs near washed-out tournament in the Bahamas but returns this week to the ShopRite LPGA Classic Presented by Acer in New Jersey. The World Number 12 finished in a tie for fourth place at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic a fortnight ago and is joined by fellow Aussies Sarah Kemp, Lindsey Wright, Sarah-Jane Smith, Katherine Hull-Kirk and rookie Julia Boland in the field. After spending a week caught in the middle of tropical storms, the LPGA Tour returns to The Bay Course at the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club in Galloway which plays host to the 54-hole event where 144 players will compete for a $225,000 first-place prize. Last year s event witnessed a milestone in Stacy Lewis career as she claimed her third career victory and surpassed Cristie Kerr as the top-ranked American on the LPGA Tour. Lewis was untouchable throughout the week, either leading or co-leading in the first two rounds and managing to take six-shot lead heading into Sunday s final round. She carded 65-65-71 to take a four-stroke victory over Katherine Hull-Kirk and Lexi Thompson. Lewis went on to win the Navistar LPGA Classic and the Mizuno classic en route to earning the Rolex Player of the Year award. Looking back to a year ago, Inbee Park still has trouble realizing how much success she has had on the course and the trail she took to becoming a six-time LPGA Tour winner and No. 1 player in the world. At last year s ShopRite LPGA Classic, Park was ranked No. 25 in the Rolex Rankings and had yet to even record a top-10 finish in the Tour s first eight events of the season. Plagued by bad final-round performances, she had to hold onto her patience to let things finally fall into place. Yeah, we looked at the rankings and I looked, too, and we were thinking until last year at this point, I had never finished Top 10 in last year till now, and I have already three wins this year, said Park. So I&aposve been having a really lot of success this year, and it&aposs been sure feels like longer than one year, but it&aposs only been one year, said Park. I mean, everything just happened really quick, and just last year here I&aposve been playing really good last year until this point but I just really had bad final rounds every week. I was in Top 5 almost every week but this last round, I played really bad and finished 20th, 30th. Last year in New Jersey, she finished T18 and posted respectable rounds of 73-69-69 and closed out the event on a high note. She took her momentum to the Tour s next stop, the Wegmans LPGA Championship, where she found the strength of her game on the greens. Then after this week, I started putting really good, said Park. The ball striking got better, but yeah, I think that putting has been really a big key to my success last year after this point. Park went on to record 10-consecutive top-10 finishes including two victories, her second and third of her career, and has never looked back. She already has three wins in 2013 and holds a 36-point lead in the Rolex Player of the Year race over Stacy Lewis. She ll try to regroup this week after missing the cut last week in the Bahamas, her first missed cut since the season-opener last year at the ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open. But she didn t sound too concerned over a few bad shots in the Caribbean. Yeah, it was a new one, first time experience obviously, a new one and it was a little bit different, said Park of the 12-hole rounds in the Bahamas. I didn&apost play my best last week, but just hit a couple of bad shots and that was it. So just try to start off fresh this week. Looking forward to playing more golf again. World No. 1 Inbee Park said the number of players winning on Tour will undoubtedly increase the competition among the top-ranked players and raise the quality of play across the board. It&aposs really good for the Tour when you have a lot of different winners, said Park. It&aposs good to have everybody actually have success on the Tour and everybody is competitive enough to win every week and we are not just playing against five people; we are actually playing against a hundred people. I think that&aposs very good competition for everybody, and I think that really makes everybody play better every week and gave motivation to each other.