Bank of Hope Founders Cup Preview – 2019
LPGA RETURNS TO THE U.S. FOR BANK OF HOPE FOUNDERS CUP
The LPGA Tour returns to Phoenix this week for the ninth edition of the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, which celebrates the 13 Founding Members of the LPGA Tour. The Bank of Hope Founders Cup kicks off a stretch of 15 consecutive tournaments in the United States.
Seven of the top 10 players in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings are competing this week: Sung Hyun Park, Ariya Jutanugarn, Minjee Lee, Inbee Park, Nelly Korda, Jin Young Ko and Brooke Henderson.
Defending champion Inbee Park returns to Arizona looking to successfully defend her title and pick up her 20th LPGA Tour title and first win on Tour since capturing the Bank of Hope Founders Cup title last season.
“This tournament was made for a reason, and obviously seeing the Founders at the end of the 18th green is very meaningful all the time,” Park said on Tuesday in Phoenix. “Especially having a good week. We just realize that we are here because of the Founders. It’s great that we get an opportunity like this tournament to give the thanks back to them.”
NELLY KORDA AIMS TO CONTINUE EARLY SUCCESS
Nelly Korda comes into the 2019 Bank of Hope Founders Cup with four top 10s this season and a win at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. Her keys to early success? Keeping it simple.
“I’ve been doing quite well, so I’m just going to take it week by week, shot by shot,” said the third-year LPGA player. “That’s something my coach and I have really worked on. He keeps reminding me of that all the time.”
Though keeping her goals a secret, Korda has had an impressive start to the 2019 season. She currently ranks No. 8 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings and tops the LPGA Tour’s Official Money List, Rolex Player of the Year and Race to the CME Globe standings. This will be the third time the 20-year-old competes at the Founders Cup, with her best finish of T19 coming in 2017. Korda hopes with her mind set on the fundamentals of her game, this year she will walk away with a better result.
“Every week I go into a tournament wanting to win, so obviously that’s the No. 1 goal,” said Korda. “I just want to stay consistent and have fun this week.”
BRITTANY LINCICOME ANNOUNCES SPONSOR EXTENSIONS THROUGH PREGNANCY
Brittany Lincicome learned two days before Christmas she was expecting her first child with her husband Dewald Gouws on Sept. 1. As she plans out how her pregnancy will impact her season, Lincicome announced that two of her long-standing sponsors, CME Group and Diamond Resorts, committed to honor their contracts throughout her pregnancy.
“I never thought in a million years that they would do that,” said the mom-to-be, who announced on March 11 that she is expecting a daughter. “I feel so honored and blessed to be represented by two great companies that are going to do this. It’s just fantastic.”
Both sponsors hope this announcement sets a precedent for future LPGA expectant mothers.
“We congratulate Brittany on her growing family, and we are happy to honor her full contract for the season,” said Terry Duffy, CME Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “We are proud to support the talented, diverse athletes of the LPGA, and proud to do our part to support working parents.”
Mike Flaskey, CEO of Diamond Resorts said, “Brittany is part of our Diamond Resorts family. We are committed to extending to Brittany time to connect with and care for her family and feel strongly as an organization that women should not have to choose between a family and a career.”
Lincicome said the past few months have been crazy with the baby and sponsor news. The 33-year-old, who did not travel overseas, is focused on doing all the right things to make sure she has a healthy baby by the end of her pregnancy. This week’s Bank of Hope Founders Cup will be her second event of the season; she finished T22 at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions in January.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE BANK OF HOPE FOUNDERS CUP
- This is the ninth playing of the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, with its inaugural year in 2011 at the Wildfire Golf Club as the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup. From 2014-2017, the tournament was played as the JTBC Founders Cup.
- The tournament’s lowest score is 61, shot by Anna Nordqvist in the third round in 2017.
- Karrie Webb is the only LPGA player to win multiple Founders Cup titles (2011, 2014).
- Players from the Republic of Korea have the most Founders Cup victories with three (2018, 2016 and 2015).
- Sei Young Kim shot a 27-under 261 through 72 holes in 2016, an overall tournament record.
RACE TO THE CME GLOBE UPDATE
Heading into the sixth week of the 2019 Race to the GME Globe, 2019 winner Nelly Korda holds a commanding lead in the standings with 855 points. Korda’s fellow 2019 winner Eun-Hee Ji is in second with 700 points, while Minjee Lee sits in third with 683 points, followed by 2019 winners Celine Boutier (597) and Amy Yang (576).
The 2019 season brings a fresh face to the Race to the CME Globe. LPGA Members will accumulate points at each official LPGA Tour event leading up to the CME Group Tour Championship. The top 60 points earners and ties will then earn a spot in the CME Group Tour Championship, with the entire field competing for the $5 million purse and the $1.5 million winner’s check, the largest single prize in the history of women’s golf.
TOURNAMENT SCORING RECORDS
18 holes: 61, Anna Nordqvist, 2017, third round
36 holes: 129, Sei Young Kim, 2016; Jee Young Lee, 2013
54 holes: 195, Anna Nordqvist, 2017
72 holes: 261, Sei Young Kim, 2016
AON RISK REWARD CHALLENGE HOLE
No. 15, par 5
Tournament: @LPGAfounders; #LPGAfamily
LPGA: @LPGA, @LPGAMedia (Twitter), @lpga_tour (Instagram)
TV TIMES (all times Eastern on Golf Channel)
Thursday, March 21 – 6-9 p.m.
Friday, March 22 – 6-9 p.m.
Saturday, March 23 – 6-9 p.m.
Sunday, March 24 – 6-9 p.m.
Bank of Hope Founders Cup Preview 2019 via LPGA