In the wake of Linn Grant’s stirring win in the Scandinavian mixed event on the DP World and Ladies European Tours at the weekend it is to be hoped a few more people might tune in to watch the LPGA this week.
True golf fans know how high the standard of play is in the women’s game and for those who make the effort to tune in regularly the rewards are great.
Week in and week out more of the best players tee up compared to their male counterparts and often, the Tour also visits interesting golf courses.
Such is the case this week when the Meijer LPGA Classic returns to the Blythefield Country Club in Michigan for the eighth time.
DEFENDING CHAMPION: In 2021 Nelly Korda was a regular at the top of tournament leaderboards and shooting a tournament scoring record of 25-under-par was enough to claim her second of five wins for the season.
She beat home Ireland’s Leona Maguire by two shots and backed up with a maiden major the following week at the KPMG Women’s PGA, a feat she would no doubt love to repeat this year.
COURSE: Blythefield Country Club is the work of Langford and Moreau, a prolific design team who attract less attention than some Golden Age architects but were responsible for some highly regarded courses.
RIGHT: Minjee Lee will lead the Aussie charge this week fresh off her latest major win. PHOTO: David Cannon/Getty Images.
The LPGA field has traditionally found the Blythefield layout to their liking with scoring opportunities aplenty, as evidenced by Korda’s winning total last year.
While the fairways are on the narrow side the rough is not especially penal and it is a long way off line to find tree trouble.
The most penal aspect of the course is the fairway bunkering, often featuring high lips which make finding the small greens difficult.
Grand in scale with several sweeping dog legs, Blythefield is a treat aesthetically and will make for some compelling golf this week.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: With a major next week it’s no surprise to find one of the strongest fields of the year teeing up in Michigan.
Of the top-10 players in the world rankings only Jin Young Ko has elected to take the week off meaning a high quality contest is on the cards.
Lydia Ko continues to threaten every time she tees up and was again in the mix at the Shoprite tournament last week.
Her T4 there came on the back of a T5 at the U.S. Women’s Open and this being her third of a four tournament stretch it would be no surprise if she were to get across the line this week.
Also likely in the mix will be the defending champion Nelly Korda. She was impressive in her return form a four month lay-off from surgery on a blood clot in her arm.
A top-10 at the U.S. Women’s Open after such a long stretch without competitive golf is an ominous sign and on a course where she has nothing but good memories she will be dangerous.
Outside the obvious top-10 contenders last year’s runner-up Leona Maguire played well for a top-10 at Pine Needles before a missed cut last week.
However, the style of golf required here should suit her, as it did last year, and it would be no surprise to see her contending again this week.
72-HOLE RECORD: 263 (-25, Nelly Korda, 2021)
18-HOLE RECORD: 62 (-10, Nelly Korda, 2021)
PAST AUSSIE WINNERS: No previous Australian winner.
AUSTRALIANS IN THE FIELD: Hannah Green, Su Oh, Steph Kyriacou, Minjee Lee, Katherine Kirk, Sarah Kemp and Sarah Jane Smith.
Round 1: Friday (Fox Sports 505 12.30am –3.30am)
Round 2: Saturday (Fox Sports 505 12.30am –3.30am)
Round 3: Sunday (Fox Sports 505 6am – 9am)
Round 4: Monday (Fox Sports 505 2am –5am)
*AEST, check local guides