There is a significant number of last year’s winners teeing it up in Florida this week, while a select group of bigger names who have won in previous years add more star power to the field.
DEFENDING CHAMPION: American Jessica Korda took home the title in 2021 after a birdie fest ended in her taking on compatriot Danielle Kang in a play-off.
Both players finished regulation play at 24-under-par, with Korda’s final round 66 elevating her into the sudden-death battle with major winner Kang.
Korda’s younger sister and the current World No.1 Nelly was third alone two shots back.
RIGHT: Jessica Korda won this event in 2021, and will tee it up again this week alongside sister and World No.1 Nelly. PHOTO: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images.
COURSE: Once best known as the host of the PGA Tour sanctioned Tavistock Cup, and also the first site to host the Solheim Cup, Lake Nona Golf & Country Club welcomes this event for the first time in 2022.
A private club with exceptional practice facilities located in Orlando, the Tom Fazio designed layout will play to a par of 71 this week, and measures 6,645 yards.
Home to Tour legend Annika Sorenstam, Lake Nona is unsurprisingly, given its name, played alongside a lake that comes into play on numerous holes and is lined with oak, pine and cypress trees.
PLAYERS TO WATCH: Nelly Korda had what can only be described as a breakout year in 2021, the American winning her maiden major title alongside three other LPGA Tour titles that saw her ascend to the top spot on the Rolex World Rankings after a year long battle with Jin Young Ko.
The state of Korda’s game will be interesting to cast an eye over this week in a relaxed atmosphere near her home base before she attempts to continue her reign at the top of the women’s game in 2022.
After the best year of her career, including a major win, Minjee Lee makes her first start of 2022 this week. PHOTO: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images.
Korda owns a game that is strong in every department and following her play last year she could very well become the first dominant American in women’s golf in some time, and has never missed the top-10 in this event from three starts. The change in venue won’t faze Korda, who won here last year at the Gainbridge LPGA event.
Ko too is an interesting prospect this week as she gets her 2022 campaign underway.
Never having teed it up in this event before, the World No.2 makes a schedule change to kick off her year after closing 2021 with one of the best runs in pro golf in recent memory.
The Korean recorded seven straight finishes of T6 or better including four wins starting in September and ending with a victory at the season ending CME Group Tour Championship last November.
The only Aussie in the field, minjee lee is fresh off her maiden major win at the Evian Championship and will look to get some runs on the board in American before she returns to Australia for a likely start at the Vic Open.
Lee skipped last week’s inaugural WPGA Championship and the chance to be the first name etched on the Karrie Webb Cup, but has been working on her game at home in Western Australia and likely getting some work in with her coach Ritchie Smith.
The 25-year-old has proven herself among the most consistent players on the LPGA Tour in recent years, and will be keen to turn more of her high finishes on leaderboards into victories on her resume.
72-HOLE RECORD: 270, (Eun-Hee Ji, 2019).
PAST AUSSIE WINNERS: No previous Australian winners.
AUSTRALIANS IN THE FIELD: Minjee Lee.
Round 1: Friday (Fox Sports 503 4am – 7am)
Round 2: Saturday (Fox Sports 503 4am – 7am)
Round 3: Sunday (Fox Sports 506 6am – 9am)
Round 4: Monday (Fox Sports 505 6am – 9am)
*AEDT, check local guides
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