BELMONT, Michigan. This weekend, some of the best golfers are coming to Western Michigan to take part in the eighth iteration of the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give at Blythefield Country Club.
The field of 144 players is filled with talent and includes every previous tournament winner since the first tournament in 2014. Eighteen of the world’s top 25 players are also scheduled to take to the field outside of Grand Rapids. including Inby Park, Anna Nordqvist and Jessica Korda. All of them will be using this weekend to prepare for one of the LPGA’s major tournaments, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week.
The game started on Thursday.
While these are three big names in the LPGA world, there are a few more players you might want to keep an eye on this weekend. Here are five of the best LPGA players who have a chance to lift the 18th Sunday Evening Green Trophy.
Nelly Korda, younger sister of Jessica Korda, is the reigning Meijer LPGA Classic Simply Give Champion. In 2021, she posted a tournament record of 21 under par and took the win by two strokes. The following week, she received the first major of her career at KPMG. The Meijer LPGA Classic served as a catalyst of sorts for her young career because just weeks after winning the title, she had climbed to number one in the world rankings and won an Olympic gold medal in Beijing.
The 23-year-old has since fallen to world No. 2 and has been out of action since March with a blood clot, but returned to tournament play earlier this month following surgery. She placed 8th at the US Women’s Open. The Meijer LPGA Classic will be her second tournament after her surgery. She has a total of seven Tour victories in her career, including four in 2021.
Leona Maguire plays in the second round of the 2022 LPGA Drive On Championship at the Crown Colony in Fort Myers on Friday, February 4, 2022. She shares the lead with a score of -13 below.
Maguire nearly made history on her first trip to Blythefield in 2021 by becoming the first Irish woman to win an LPGA Tour event. She was only two hits short of Korda’s record Saturday round. Last fall, she became the first Irish player to be selected to represent the European team at the Solheim Cup, where she went undefeated in a 15-13 victory over the US team. She just had to wait a bit to finally get her first tour win on the Emerald Isle, winning the LPGA Drive On championship back in February.
The 27-year-old enjoys playing at Blythefield and said last year that the course introduces her, reminding her of several fields at home in Ireland. She is currently ranked 24th in the world rankings and has a real chance of a second Tour victory upon her return to Western Michigan.
Henderson, a 24-year-old Canadian, is the only golfer to win the Meijer LPGA Classic twice. She won her first title back in 2017 and won the tournament again two years later in 2019. Blythefield is clearly a match for her eyes and her playing style. She struggled in the tournament last year, running two under par and failing to make it to the final two rounds of the weekend.
Though it was a little weird for her. She is back on track and is just outside the top 10, becoming the 11th golfer in the world. Henderson is also out of sorts. She enters the tournament having just won the Shoprite LPGA Classic last weekend, her 11th Tour win of her career. Like Korda, she also won one Major.
Koh, currently ranked 4th in the world, has a mind-blowing 17 career Tour wins and two major championships since turning pro in 2014. The 25-year-old last won in January of this year and earned another win back in 2021.
She never earned a title at Blythefield, but came close to it several times. Last year, she finished 61st with a three-under par score in the tournament. However, this was her worst performance in Western Michigan. She has finished in the top 10 three times, and in 2018 she had her best finish in third place. She’s also doing really well in golf this week, finishing in the top five in three of the last four tournaments she’s played in.
Thompson is perhaps the most famous name on this list for those who are not into golf. She turned professional in 2010 when she was only 15 years old. Just two years later, it was granted permanent LPGA Tour status and has played an important role in the world of golf ever since. The Broward County, Florida native is currently ranked sixth in the world in golf. She has 11 career tour victories and finished in the top 10 81 times. She has yet to win the tournament in 2022, but has finished in the top 10 four times, including a runner-up in May at the Founders’ Cup, which was the second last time she has competed on the tour.
Thompson won the Meijer LPGA Classic back in 2015.
Television coverage of the tournament can be seen from Thursday to Sunday on the Golf channel.
—Contact Assistant Sports Editor Will Kennedy at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @ByWillKennedy and Facebook @Holland Sentinel Sports.