GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) –Festivities at the 3rd annual Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic will begin on Monday July 1st, with the opening round of the tournament on Thursday July 4 – 7.
The first two champions Katherine Kirk and Sei Young Kim will both be part of the field which will feature Rolex Ranking No. 3 Sung Hyun Park and Hall of Famer, Inbee Park. Kim set the all-time LPGA career scoring mark at -31 under par last year, which was also the lowest four-round total at 257.
“I think that was exciting for women’s golf. Thornberry Creek at Oneida will forever be enshrined in golf history.” Tournament director Jon-Paul Genet stated. “That score is going to be pretty untouchable for some time now. But there are certainly some birdies to be made out here. And we love watching birdies get made.”
PGA General Manager Justin Fox added “We’re going to do our best. We’re working on growing the rough out really thick right now and really long. Anybody who would like to come out here and try to shoot 31 under? I would certainly challenge them to do that. We’re (the LPGA) backing them up (on the tee box) a little bit from what it was last year, and hopefully we don’t see a record like that again. We’re going to try to penalize them as best we can when they do hit it in the rough which is not very often.”
When you compare the men’s tour with the women’s tour, it’s easy to look at the numbers in terms of driving accuracy into the fairway off the tee. And it’s part of the reason a player like Sei Young Kim can go as low as -31 under par, along with having 22 golfers finish at -15 or better. “Just their management of their game, they know their yardages very well, they know where to hit it, and it’s great to watch. They are very precise and deadly accurate with their drivers off the tee box.”
There are three sponsors exemptions in the field with Native American Gabby Lemieux, former U.S Women’s Amateur champion Sophia Schubert and 14-year-old sensation Alexa Pano.
Lemieux has played the majority of the season on the LPGA Symetra Tour and is the lone Native American in the 144-player field. “I’m so grateful to Oneida for the invite to play at Thornberry Creek again this year and I’m determined to learn from my experience last season and come back stronger.” Lemieux said. “As the only Native American in the field I definitely felt the support of the tribe out on the course and I can’t wait to be back.”
Joining her in the field that is competing for a $2 million purse will be Schuber who won the 2017 U.S Women’s Amateur championship before turning pro. Rounding out the trio of exemptions is 14-year-old Alexa Pano, who missed the cut last year who said I can’t wait to get back to Thornberry Creek and hopefully make a few more birdies this year. The scoring last year was unbelievable and it is still a real learning curve for me to see how the professionals go about their business on the LPGA.”