The LPGA Tour’s teams event returns this week after a successful debut in 2019, running Wednesday to Saturday. Here is everything you need to know about the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, including teams to keep an eye on, format and how to watch.
DEFENDING CHAMPIONS: American Cydney Clanton and Thailand’s Jasmine Suwannapura combined to take home the inaugural title in 2019, but weren’t afforded the chance to defend in 2020 due to COVID-19.
The team compiled a final round 59 in the fourball format to reach 27-under and a six shot victory over Minjee Lee and Jin Young Ko. The Jutanugarn sisters part of a two-way tie a further shot back.
COURSE: Midland Country Club in Michigan welcomes the LPGA Tour again this week, where the two-player teams will compete in alternate shot in the first and third round and fourball best-ball for the second and final round.
Opened for play in 1928, Midland has been worked on by W. Bruce Matthews, Jerry Matthews and Schreiner Golf in the past and will measure 6,256 yards this week, while playing to a par of 70.
TEAMS TO WATCH …
There is plenty of seriously impressive teams teeing it up this week who could challenge for the title. Among the favourites, and rightfully so, is the sibling duo of Jessica Korda and Nelly Korda.
The American duo finished T12 last time they paired up in 2019, but both have improved their play significantly since, and they will could run away with this if each fires in Michigan.
World No.1 Nelly is making her first start after claiming her maiden major title at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, which marked her second win a row. Meanwhile, Jessica played last week at the Marathon Classic where her share of 50th was her worst result of the season that has included a win and four other finishes in the top-15.
These two know each other’s games better than any other combination in the field, play lots of practice rounds together and are both great ball strikers and putters who will have plenty of looks at birdie during the week. Can Nelly make it a hat-trick of wins?
RIGHT: Team 'All In' comprising Cydney Clanton and Jasmine Suwannapura claimed the first staging of this event in 2019. PHOTO: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images.
After finishing second in 2019 with Jin Young Ko, Minjee Lee has taken a new partner this week, and it is a very good one. The West Australia will team up with Women’s US Open champion Yuka Saso in what looks to be one of the best match ups from a pure golf standpoint in the field.
Saso followed up her win with a T21 and T5, showing her form remains strong, while Minjee’s recent results haven’t been as good, she is proven in the format and will surely have taken a little inspiration from little brother Min Woo winning the Scottish Open and making his major debut at The Open this week.
Both players own solid all round games, while Saso is the more aggressive of the two and Lee will be a very steady partner.
Although the various combinations of major champions, including Inbee Park and So Yeon Ryu, Brooke Henderson and In Gee Chun, as well as Danielle Kang and Lydia Ko, deserve plenty of attention, the European pairing of Mel Reid and Carlotta Ciganda shapes as a dynamic duo.
Although neither has produced their best stuff of late, they are a proven combination in the Solheim Cup and previously played the European Tour’s GolfSixes together.
Both players thrive in the team environment when representing Europe and this week presents as a chance to get their seasons back on track courtesy of their ball striking prowess when at the top of their games.
72-HOLE RECORD: The only past winners of this event, Cydney Clanton and Jasmine Suwannapura set the scoring mark with their 27-under total. The pair needed just 253 strokes over the course of four rounds at Midland Country Club in 2019.
PAST AUSSIE WINNERS: No previous Australian winners.
AUSTRALIANS IN THE FIELD: Sarah Kemp (Alena Sharp), Katherine Kirk (Amy Olson), Minjee Lee (Yuka Saso) and Sarah Jane Smith (Pernilla Lindberg).
Round 1: Thursday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 5am – 8am)
Round 2: Friday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 10am – 12pm)
Round 3: Saturday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 10am – 12pm)
Round 4: Sunday (Fox Sports 503 LIVE 9am –11am)
*AEST, check local guides