Friday, May 26, 2017


LPGA Volvik Championship
Travis Pointe Country Club
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Rolex Rankings No. 16 Stacy Lewis (-7)
Rolex Rankings No. 240 Wei-Ling Hsu (-7)
Rolex Rankings No. 129 Nelly Korda (-6)
Five players at 5-under par

What a difference a year makes.

In 2016, warm temperatures made for a firm and fast Travis Pointe Country Club, site of the inaugural LPGA Volvik Championship.

12 months later, conditions couldn’t be more different.

Thursday, a mix of rain and clouds, along with 60-degree temperatures, made for a much different and tougher test than players faced last season.

The change made no difference to first round co-leader Stacy Lewis, who played her first competitive round at Travis Pointe on Thursday. With a birdie and a fist pump at the 18th hole, she capped off a seven-under, 65 to take what was at the time the outright lead. Wei-Ling Hsu caught Lewis in the afternoon and both share the first round lead, one ahead of Nelly Korda at six-under par and a group of five players at five-under par.

To read Amy Rogers’ entire recap of Round 1 play at the LPGA Volvik Championship visit:

Through 11 events in the 2017 season, American players have taken home three tournament titles: Brittany Lincicome (Pure-Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic), Cristie Kerr (LOTTE Championship) and Lexi Thompson (Kingsmill Championship). During the 2016 season, Thompson (Honda LPGA Thailand) and Brittany Lang (U.S. Women’s Open Conducted by the USGA) were the only Americans to take home a tournament title.

Through Round 1, five American players are within two shots of the lead at T4 or better including co-leader Stacy Lewis (-7), 2017 LPGA rookie Nelly Korda (3rd, -6) and 2017 Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic winner Brittany Lincicome (T4, -5). Jennifer Song and Cydney Clanton, both searching for their maiden LPGA victory, sit three shots back at 4-under par in a tie for ninth.

Wins by American Players – Last 10 Years

*Thru 11 events

No tournaments have featured a Rolex First-Time Winner through 11 events in 2017. In 2016, nine events featured Rolex First-Time Winners, which was the most first-time winners since 2005 (10).

Of the 20 players that are T9 or better through the first round (within three shots of the lead), 12 have LPGA wins and eight are looking for the first victory of their career.

The LPGA Volvik Championship also marks the 12th event of 2017 and the Tour is still looking for the first repeat winner of the season. In 1991, there was not a multiple tournament winner until the 16th event of the year.

Between 1991 and 2017, the Tour had its first repeat winner on the 10th try several times, but 1991 is the last time it went more than 10 events to have a player reach two wins on the year.

In 1985, the first repeat winner came in the 11th event, which is the only other time in history the Tour has gone this far without a repeat winner.

Ilhee Lee said she has a little extra motivation to play well this week in Ann Arbor. Lee, who is sponsored by Volvik, met with Volvik Chairman Kyung Ahn Moon on Monday: “He told us to think that we’re inviting all the people here.”

Lee is among three current players who are sponsored by Volvik that have LPGA wins: Chella Choi (2015 Marathon Classic), Mi Hyang Lee (2014 Mizuno Classic) and Ilhee Lee (2013 Pure Silk Bahamas-LPGA Classic).

Jennifer Song is back in the town she was born in and put together a solid round in the morning wave at Travis Pointe, finishing at 4-under par in a tie for 7th after the first day of play. Song lived in Ann Arbor for two years after she was born until her family moved back to South Korea, and also returned for a year and a half when she was in the third grade and her father was getting his Ph. D. from the University of Michigan.

“It feels nice,” Song said of being back. “I get to see some places that I visited last year and when I was a kid. I visited my elementary school (Angel School) last year, but I didn’t get a chance this year. Definitely it’s great to be back here.”

Song, No. 71 in the Rolex Rankings, has two career top-10 finishes and posted a T16 result at Travis Pointe last season.

Minjee Lee was disqualified from the Kingsmill Championship last Sunday after failing to sign her scorecard. The error cost Lee a top-10 finish at an event she won two seasons ago.

“I think I just had a brain fart,” Lee said. “I mean I don’t know how I missed it, but obviously I did and I got DQ’d. But it’s okay, I can laugh about it now.”

Lee started her Volvik Championship with a 4-under round to sit in a tie for ninth.

83 players finished the first round under par. Notables who didn’t reach red figures were defending champion Ariya Jutanugarn, Rolex Rankings No. 2 So Yeon Ryu and last week’s Kingsmill Championship winner Lexi Thompson who all finished on even par.

Stacy Lewis is seeking the 12th LPGA victory of her career and her first since the 2014 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G. She also currently stands with 99 career top-10 finishes.

Through nine starts this season, Stacy Lewis has three top-10 finishes including a runner-up result at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup. Lewis has 12 runner-up finishes since her last win.

Stacy Lewis ranks 10th on the LPGA’s Career Money List and seventh among active players with $11,744,373.

Stacy Lewis ranks sixth in scoring average in 2017 (69.500) and is one of 14 LPGA players with a scoring average below 70 this season. Last season, a LPGA record five players finished the year with a scoring average below 70.

Wei Ling Tsu’s best career finish was 8th place at the 2015 Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic - the result was her lone career top-10 finish.

In 2014, Wei-Ling Hsu had one win and three additional top-10 finishes on the Symetra Tour and finished sixth on the Volvik Race for the Card money list to earn her LPGA Tour card.

Wei Ling Hsu has at least a share of the overnight lead for the first time ever in her LPGA career.

Wei-Ling Hsu’s opening round 65 ties the second-best score of her LPGA career - Tsu had twice shot 65 and posted a career-low 64 in the final round of the 2015 Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic.

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