After a three-year wait, the LPGA Tour finally visits Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club for the CPKC Women’s Open. As the last chance to qualify for the United States Solheim Cup team, the event attracted an impressive lineup headlined by new Rolex Women’s World Golf Ranking No. 1 Lilia Vu and former world No. 1s Jin Young Ko, Nelly Korda and Lydia Ko.
Another historical site
In 2019, the LPGA Tour announced that it would visit Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club for the 2020 CPKC Women’s Open. But a minor hiccup, the global pandemic, postponed the event and jeopardized the Tour’s visit to the historic course. The CPKC Women’s Open was not on the LPGA schedule in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19, returning just last year at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club. But now the wait is finally over, and after three years of waiting, Shaughnessy will write a new chapter in her 112-year history, one that stars women’s golf. The course will join a laundry list of venues that have hosted both the men’s and women’s Canadian Opens, having served as the venue for the men’s event four times. The RBC Canadian Open first visited the club in 1948 and most recently in 2011. This will be the sixth time British Columbia has hosted the CPKC Women’s Open. The last time the event visited the province was in 2015 when Lydia Ko won her third CPKC Women’s Open title at Vancouver Golf Club. Ko makes the trip back to British Columbia this week in an attempt to find her fourth win in Canada.
Last chance for Solheim
With the conclusion of the ISPS Handa World Invitational presented by AVIV Clinics, the European Solheim Cup squad has been finalised. Celine Boutier, Maja Stark, Charley Hull, Leona Maguire, Georgia Hall, Linn Grant, Carlota Ciganda and assistant captain Anna Nordqvist make up the automatic qualifiers and Gemma Dryburgh, Caroline Hedwall, Emily Kristine Pedersen and Madelene Sagstrom took the hand. Susan Petersen. Those playing under the Stars and Stripes will have one additional week at the CPKC Women’s Open to play for the United States team. So far, just four players have earned their places in the Solheim Cup standings: Lilia Vu, Korda, Allisen Corpuz and Megan Khang. Only five additional spots remain for automatic qualifiers and the remaining three players will be selected by captain Stacy Lewis. As it stands, Jennifer Kupcho, Danielle Kang and Lexi Thompson currently qualify with Solheim Cup points, while Rose Zhang and Angel Yin will secure their spots in the Rolex rankings as they are No. 31 and No. 32, respectively. respectively. There are plenty of promising candidates for the final three spots, but the name leading the pack is Cheyenne Knight. Although she’s never been able to match up in the United States in this type of competition, the 26-year-old proved she knows how to be a teammate earlier this season by winning the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational alongside Elizabeth Szokol. In addition to that win, Knight also played her way to three straight top 10s this year, finishing T6 at the JM Eagle LA Championship, ninth at the Cognizant Founders Cup and – most importantly – ninth at the Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play presented from MGM Rewards.
A new competitor entered the table tennis game that sent the No. 1 ranking between Jin Young Ko and Nelly Korda – Lilia Vu. The CPKC Women’s Open will be Vu’s first appearance on the LPGA Tour as the No. 1 Rolex Women’s World Golf Ranking. This season has been a whirlwind for the Fountain Valley, Calif., as she became the first Rolex First-Time Winner at the Honda LPGA Thailand. Then, in the blink of an eye, she was a two-time major champion, capping the big season with victories in the first and last championships of the year: the Chevron Championship and the AIG Women’s Open. Vu has now won three times on tour in 2023, a feat so rare that it is matched only by the winningest Frenchwoman in LPGA Tour history, Celine Boutier. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the 25-year-old. Among her major wins, Vu made just three cuts in seven starts and cracked the top 20 just once after finishing 17th at the Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play. Because of the competition, this most recent victory at Walton Heath Golf Club was much more than a trophy or a winner’s check for the Epson Tour graduate. It was reassurance that Vu is much more than a one or two hit wonder and that she is one of the game’s brightest stars. This week she will compete with all her new titles – three-time LPGA winner, two-time champion, Rolex Grand Prix winner ANNIKA and, last but certainly not least, world No. 1 – for the first time with renewed confidence.
You can’t talk about the CPKC Women’s Open, the Tour’s flagship Canadian tournament, without talking about the queen of Canadian golf and 2018 champion Brooke Henderson. The 25-year-old is the winningest Canadian in history, with 13 LPGA trophies to her name. She added a 13th title to her resume this season, coming out on top at the season-opening Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions. But beyond that win, it’s been quite a season for Henderson, who languished through February, March, April, May and June without a single top-10 finish. Although she struggled for most of the season, it’s hard to keep a two-time major champion down for long. Henderson finally found her way back into contention just a few weeks ago at the Amundi Evian Championship where she was the defending champion. Henderson put up a good fight for her title, finishing runner-up to Celine Boutier. Although she continued to miss the cut at the AIG Women’s Open, Henderson appears to be getting her groove back and a stint on home soil with the fervent support of her compatriots might just be what she needs to keep her momentum going. Several other Canadians join Henderson in the field, including sisters Maddie and Ellie Szeryk and longtime LPGA veteran Alena Sharp, among others.
Defense, Defense, Defense
Defending a title is never easy, and while the Tour has seen some two and three winners this season, it looks more difficult than ever to win back-to-back titles in 2023. Only one player has managed to successfully defend a title this season , Jin Young Ko at the HSBC Women’s World Championship, and this week, it will be Paul Reto’s turn to take over as he looks to win again at the CPKC Women’s Open. After nine years on the LPGA Tour, Reto became the first Rolex winner in the 2022 edition of the event, beating out some of the biggest names in the game along the way. Although she started the final round one stroke behind the lead, she finished one stroke ahead of Korda and Hye-Jin Choi and two strokes ahead of Lydia to take the trophy. While Reto hasn’t had the best year – he’s made just nine cuts in 19 starts with just two top-10 finishes – it doesn’t mean he’s far from another win. Prior to her 2022 win, Reto had recorded just one top-10 finish and missed three cuts in her last five starts. While back-to-back wins at the CPKC Women’s Open will go a long way, Reto will have the benefit of a little extra confidence this week which may be all the edge she needs to get back into the winner’s circle.
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