CME Group LPGA Tour Championship Preview – 2018

CME Group LPGA Tour Championship Preview - 2018
CME Group LPGA Tour Championship Preview – 2018

CME Group LPGA Tour Championship Preview – 2018

2018 LPGA SEASON ENDS WITH CME GROUP TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP

After 31 tournaments, 25 winners, 13 host countries and one international team competition, the 2018 LPGA Tour season wraps up this week with the CME Group Tour Championship. World No. 1 and the season’s dominant player Ariya Jutanugarn leads the field of 72 elite players, with 12 women vying for the $1 million bonus that goes to the winner of the Race to the CME Globe.

The Race to the CME Globe is a season-long points competition in which LPGA Members accumulate points in every Official LPGA Tournament. Following the Blue Bay LPGA, the top 72 LPGA Members, as well as any non-member winners and any alternates, in the Race to the CME Globe points standings were seeded into the championship field. For the top five players, it’s easy – win the CME Group Tour Championship and take home $1 million. However, the top 12 in the points race all have a mathematical chance to take the title of Race to the CME Globe Champion and win the coveted check.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE CME GROUP TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP

  • This is the fifth playing of the CME Group Tour Championship and the fifth consecutive year it will be played on Tiburon Golf Club’s Gold Course
  • All four past champions are in this week’s field – Lydia Ko (2014), Cristie Kerr (2015), Charley Hull (2016) and Ariya Jutanugarn (2017)
  • Shanshan Feng won the CME Titleholders on this same golf course in 2013
  • The tournament’s low 18-hole score is 62, set by Lydia Ko in the second round in 2016
  • The tournament’s low 72-hole score is 19-under 269, set by Charley Hull in 2016

HUMBLE JUTANUGARN NOT FOCUSED ON POTENTIAL GLORY

What is Ariya Jutanugarn’s biggest takeaway from her stellar 2018 season? She loves feeling “free” on the golf course, and when she’s feeling “free,” the sky is the limit for the 22-year-old Thai phenom.

“When I’m nervous, when I’m scared, I worry because I think about the outcome, because I want to play well,” said Jutanugarn, who is No. 1 in the Race to the CME Globe reset points and has the most chances to earn the $1 million bonus. “I want to hit this shot good because I care about other people, what they’re going to thinking about me. But then I have to come back to myself and know that other people’s expectations are not my expectation. I have to know what is my expectation, because I expect to have a good commitment with every shot. I expect myself to have fun, enjoy and feel free on the course.”

Jutanugarn could take a clean sweep of the season’s award. She has already clinched 2018 Rolex Player of the Year honors, as well as the Money Title and the LEADERS Top 10s competition. She also leads the LPGA in scoring average at 69.431, with Jin Young Ko in second at 69.596 and Minjee Lee in third at 69.642. Projections show that if Jutanugarn finishes the season at her current stroke average, Ko needs to be 15 to 16 strokes better than Jutanugarn to pass her, while Lee would need to be 20 to 21 strokes better.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW DEFENDING CME GROUP TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP WINNER ARIYA JUTANUGARN

  • Jutanugarn has been No. 1 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings since October 29, a span of three weeks
  • She has been World No. 1 a cumulative eight weeks over the last two years
  • Jutanugarn won the 2017 CME Group Tour Championship with a birdie-birdie finish, taking a one-stroke win over Lexi Thompsonand Jessica Korda
  • Jutanugarn has already clinched 2018 Rolex Player of the Year honors, as well as the Money Title and the LEADERS Top 10s competition
  • Should Jutanugarn emerge victorious this week, shewould become the first player to win at least four events in a single season since she won five events in 2016

RACE TO THE CME GLOBE RESET STANDINGS

RankPlayerReset Points
1Ariya Jutanugarn5000
2Minjee Lee4750
3Brooke Henderson4500
4Nasa Hataoka4250
5Sung Hyun Park4000
6Sei Young Kim3600
7Jin Young Ko3200
8So Yeon Ryu2800
9Moriya Jutanugarn2400
10Lydia Ko2100
11Marina Alex1800
12Carlota Ciganda1600

 

RACE TO THE CME GLOBE WINNING SCENARIOS

  1.  Ariya Jutanugarn – Guaranteed to win with a victory at the CME Group Tour Championship, finish 40th or better to have a chance
    2.    Minjee Lee – Guaranteed to win with a victory at the CME Group Tour Championship, finish 30th or better to have a chance
    3.    Brooke Henderson – Guaranteed to win with a victory at the CME Group Tour Championship, finish 12th or better to have a chance
    4.    Nasa Hataoka – Guaranteed to win with a victory at the CME Group Tour Championship, finish ninth or better to have a chance
    5.    Sung Hyun Park – Guaranteed to win with a victory at the CME Group Tour Championship, finish eighth or better to have a chance
    6.    Sei Young Kim – Finish sixth or better to have a chance
    7.    Jin Young Ko – Finish fourth or better to have a chance
    8.    So Yeon Ryu – Finish third or better to have a chance
    9.    Moriya Jutanugarn – Must win the CME Group Tour Championship and the following: Ariya Jutanugarn finish ninth or worse, Minjee Lee finish eighth or worse, Brooke Henderson finish seventh or worse, Nasa Hataoka finish sixth or worse, Sung Hyun Park finish fifth or worse and Sei Young Kim finish third or worse
    10.    Lydia Ko – Must win the CME Group Tour Championship and the following: Ariya Jutanugarn finish 12th or worse, Minjee Lee finish 10th or worse, Brooke Henderson finish eighth or worse, Nasa Hataoka finish seventh or worse, Sung Hyun Park finish sixth or worse, Sei Young Kim finish fifth or worse and Jin Young Ko finish third or worse
    11.    Marina Alex – Must win the CME Group Tour Championship and the following: Ariya Jutanugarn finish 26th or worse, Minjee Lee finish 12th or worse, Brooke Henderson finish 10th or worse, Nasa Hataoka finish eighth or worse, Sung Hyun Park finish seventh or worse, Sei Young Kim finish sixth or worse and Jin Young Ko finish fourth or worse
    12.    Carlota Ciganda – Must win the CME Group Tour Championship and the following: Ariya Jutanugarn finish 41st or worse, Minjee Lee finish 21st or worse, Brooke Henderson finish 12th or worse, Nasa Hataoka finish 10th or worse, Sung Hyun Park finish eighth or worse, Sei Young Kim finish seventh or worse, Jin Young Ko finish fifth or worse and So Yeon Ryu finish third or worse

RACE TO THE CME GLOBE TIE SCENARIOS

In the event of a tie in the Race to the CME Globe, the winner will be decided by a sudden-death playoff immediately following the completion of the competition.

There are 19 potential tie scenarios that could happen based on player finish positions at the CME Group Tour Championship. For more information, contact a member of the LPGA Tour Media staff.

LEE BELIEVES HER EXPERIENCE WILL SHINE AT CME

Sitting at No. 2 in the Race to the CME Globe heading into the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship, Minjee Lee has a plethora of quality finishes that provide a backdrop of experience she will take advantage of on the big stage this week.

With a $1 million bonus prize on the line in addition to the normal tournament payout, Lee is ready to continue, and finish, her strong 2018 campaign. It has included a win at the LPGA Volvik Championship, as well as 12 other top-10 finishes and three runner-up results.

One of those second-place showings came at the inaugural LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship in April when Lee fell to Lydia Ko on the first hole of a playoff. The finish did not derail her, but instead helped Lee grow even stronger.

“All my experience in the last three years, I’m just a little bit more mature and settled in on the Tour so I know myself better and how to handle things,” said Lee, the No. 5 player in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings. “In San Francisco I lost in a playoff, but to get myself in that position I was really happy. I’ve had a lot of great experiences this year and been in contention quite a lot but haven’t been able to win multiple times.”

NOTABLE FIRST-ROUND GROUPINGS (all times local)

Defending champion and Race No. 1 seed Ariya Jutanugarn is in the final group off the first tee at 10:41 a.m., alongside No. 2 seed Minjee Lee and No. 3 seed Brooke Henderson

2018 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award winner Jin Young Ko tees off at No. 1 at 10:19 a.m., joined by So Yeon Ryu and Moriya Jutanugarn

SOCIAL MEDIA

Tournament: @CMEGroupLPGA; @CMEGroupTourChamp (Instagram)

LPGA: @LPGA, @LPGAMedia (Twitter), @lpga_tour (Instagram)

TV TIMES (all times Eastern)

Thursday, Nov. 15 – 4:30-7:30 p.m. (tape delay) on Golf Channel

Friday, Nov. 16 – 4:30-7:30 p.m. (tape delay) on Golf Channel

Saturday, Nov. 17 – 4:30-7:30 p.m. (tape delay) on Golf Channel

Sunday, Nov. 18 – 1-4 p.m. on ABC

 

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