Meijer LPGA Classic 2022 Round 1 Notes
Location: Blythefield Country Club, Belmont, MI
Course Setup: 36-36—72; 6,350 yards (Scoring Average: R1: 70.938)
Weather: Sunny skies with highs topping out in the mid-80s and 12-18 mph winds gusting up to 30mph
JENNIFER KUPCHO CARDS CAREER-BEST 63 ON DAY ONE OF MEIJER LPGA CLASSIC FOR SIMPLY GIVE
Jennifer Kupcho blitzed Blythefield Country Club on Thursday at the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give, carding a bogey-free, 9-under 63 and a new career-best for the 25-year-old. She went out in 30 on the front nine, notching back-to-back birdies on holes 1 and 2, holes 4 and 5 and holes 8 and 9. As the wind picked up in the afternoon, Kupcho cooled only slightly, making birdie on No. 13 and an eagle on 14 – this week’s Aon Risk Reward Challenge hole – to fire a 33 on the back and hold the 18-hole lead.
“I hit a mistakenly really great shot on the first hole,” said Kupcho, who hit 10 of 13 fairways and 16 of 18 greens on Thursday. “Honestly, I thought I was going to miss the green but ended up great. Took advantage of that, and then sunk a longer putt on the second hole, and that really boosted my confidence, especially in this wind. I’ve been here the last couple of years and really been comfortable with this place. A lot of the holes are birdie holes, so I felt like I could go out and birdie every hole. I think that was the mindset starting every new hole, is doing that.”
This is Kupcho’s third appearance in the Meijer LPGA Classic – her best finish in the event was a tie for 10th in 2021 – and the fourth time she’s held the 18-hole lead in her career. The last time she did so, Kupcho became a Rolex First-Time winner, earning her first LPGA Tour and major victory at The Chevron Championship after defeating Jessica Korda by two. Since then, she hasn’t had much to write home about this season. But, after an opening 63, Kupcho is ready to flip the script in Belmont, Mich.
“There is a lot of golf so anything can happen,” she said. “You see that week in and week out. Girls go out and shoot really low and then they shoot even par the next day so there is a lot of golf and we’ll see what happens.”
LPGA Tour mom Gerina Mendoza sits in solo second after firing an 8-under 64, highlighted by 7 birdies and an eagle. It’s just the second 64 of Mendoza’s career and her lowest recorded score since she shot 63 in 2017 at the Dana Open presented by Marathon. She’s missed four cuts in eight starts this season but does have one top-10 finish, a tie for sixth at the LOTTE Championship presented by Hoakalei. While it’s been rocky the past few years for Mendoza, as her priorities have changed since becoming a mother, she’s still a fierce competitor and you can be sure this round tasted especially sweet for the 37-year-old.
“I haven’t really been posting many numbers as of late so it really gave me a big confidence boost and I kind of felt like my old self, just kind of plunking away and not thinking about the number or one more or calculating,” said Mendoza. “I just really stayed present in every shot. I know it’s very cliche to say, but it’s really what you have to do. Kind of just keep your head down. Had a great group. Jan and Lang, they’re always fun to play with, so definitely lightened the day.”
A trio of players sit in a tie for third at -7, including major champions Anna Nordqvist and Lexi Thompson as well as LPGA Tour winner Madelene Sagstrom. For Thompson, Blythefield Country Club is a course that really suits her game – she’s had one win and four additional top-10s in this event – and after an opening 65, she’s primed once again for another solid week in Belmont, Mich.
“Coming into today I knew I’ve been hitting it well and I’ve been putting in the work, so just coming out here and believing in myself and just staying in the moment, in the present,” said Thompson, who went bogey-free on Thursday. “Had a little bit of a birdie streak. There are some reachable par-5s out there, so definitely have to take advantage of it. You still have to hit the shots, so it was a matter of just doing my routine and committing.”
Stanford alum and Epson Tour winner Andrea Lee sits alone in solo sixth at -6. There are eight players in a tie for seventh at -5, including defending champion and Rolex Rankings No. 2 Nelly Korda as well as U.S. Solheim Cup captain Stacy Lewis. A total of 88 players posted -1 or better.
LPGA TOUR MOM GERINA MENDOZA MAKES THE MOST OF DAY ONE AT BLYTHEFIELD CC
Gerina Mendoza didn’t have a good range session on Thursday before the opening round of the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give. That actually proved to be a good omen for the 37-year-old LPGA Tour veteran. Mendoza fired an 8-under 64 on day one at Blythefield Country Club, carding 7 birdies and an eagle to post her best score since the 2017 Dana Open presented by Marathon (63).
“I’ve been trying to work on being more consistent,” said Mendoza, who hit 11 of 13 fairways and 17 of 18 greens in round one. “That’s kind of been my mantra my whole career. It’s been kind of all over the map recently, but I just really tried to focus on a spot in front of my ball and really commit to that line and to my swing. I think I did that all day today, minus maybe one shot, but it was a drive that didn’t kill me. I just ham-and-egged it and kept it in front of me, and that’s kind of what you got to do out here.”
Mendoza is making her seventh start in the Meijer LPGA Classic this week – her best finish came in 2015 when she finished T2 – and her opening 64 is the second-lowest first-round score of her career. It’s also just the second time she’s shot 64 in her 13-year career. While it’s a hot start, and one that’s giving her a ton of confidence heading into the rest of the week at a place she’s had success before, Mendoza knows better than to get ahead of herself and will remain focused on the process as she readies herself for three more days at Blythefield.
“I never thought I would be thankful for my lack of memory, and so hopefully that will kick in tonight and I can just kind of start over,” she said. “I am probably going to be a little nervous tomorrow, but just going to focus on – like process-wise. I’ve learned over the years if you stick with the process the results kind of take care of themselves. And so there is only one thing I can control, and that’s my thoughts and my commitment and that’s what I’ll do tomorrow.”
IN SIXTH MEIJER LPGA CLASSIC APPEARANCE, ANNA NORDQVIST CARDS FANTASTIC FIRST-ROUND FINISH
Major champion Anna Nordqvist shot her best first-round score of the season on Thursday, recording a seven-under 65 on day one at the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give to sit in a tie for third and two back of the lead. The nine-time LPGA Tour champion went bogey-free and carded seven birdies in the first round, including four in the last five holes. This is Nordqvist’s sixth appearance in the Meijer LPGA Classic and the second-best round she’s ever recorded at Blythefield – she shot a tournament-low 64 during the 2018 edition of the event, ultimately earning her best finish (T4) – but, the Swede thought there should have been even more under-par scores on the card.
“Got impatient a little bit around the turn because I had so many opportunities and just didn’t go in,” she said. “I felt like I hit good putts and would just miss high or just miss low. I feel like I held it together pretty good, especially when I got impatient. I had a good finish. I played good all day. I really did.”
Nordqvist has made the cut in every event she’s played this year but hadn’t earned a top-20 finish until the U.S. Women’s Open presented by ProMedica. The three-time major champion found her form at Pine Needles, finishing T6 alongside Bronte Law. Nordqvist says finding that consistent form has been the problem for her this year but those struggles weren’t showing during round one at Blythefield Country Club.
“I’ve just been consistent over the last couple weeks,” she said. “I mean, really only hit one bad shot today, so if you’re never too far away I don’t feel like you can get yourself in trouble. But consistency has always been one of my keys, and I think I get in trouble when I get a little bit out of consistency.”
CAPTAIN STACY LEWIS PLAYS ALONGSIDE SOLHEIM HOPEFUL ANDREA LEE
Solheim Cup captain, Stacy Lewis played alongside American standout Andrea Lee in the first round of the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give on Thursday morning, which was a great opportunity for both competitors. Lee is looking to make the U.S. team ahead of the Solheim Cup matches at Finca Cortesin Costa del Sol, Andalucía in September of 2023, and the opening round at Blythefield Country Club gave Captain Lewis a chance to do some scouting.
“Andrea is a great putter. It gets me excited because that’s something I think our team has been missing. So, it was great to watch her play. I mean, she has a really good demeanor out there, plays quick, and is decisive,” Lewis said.
Lee opened the event with a 6-under 66 and sits near the top of the leaderboard, but the 23-year-old still said there is room for improvement as the tournament proceeds.
“Yeah, I got it rolling pretty early on. I was 3 under after nine and made quite a few birdies on that turn—just a nice momentum kick. I didn’t have the best finish today, having that reachable par-5 as the last hole and parring it. But overall, I’m pleased with the way I played today, just really solid golf,” Lee said.
The Stanford alum made back-to-back birdies on both the front and back nines at Blythefield, which was crucial in conditions that gave up plenty of low scores.
“I wasn’t even thinking about how many birdies I made in the last X (number) of holes. I just kept the pedal down and was going through the process with my caddie, Drew, just on each shot,” she said.
For more, please visit https://www.lpga.com/news/2022/captain-stacy-lewis-plays-alongside-solheim-hopeful-andrea-lee
Rolex Rankings No. 16, Jennifer Kupcho (63)
- She hit 10 of 13 fairways and 16 of 18 greens, with 27 putts
- Kupcho’s 63 is her career-low round; she shot her previous career-low 64 this season at The Chevron Championship and went on to win
- This is Kupcho’s third appearance in the Meijer LPGA Classic; she tied for 10th in 2021 and tied for 23rd in 2019
- Kupcho become a Rolex First-Time winner at The Chevron Championship earlier this year
- Member of Team USA at the 2021 Solheim Cup
- Finished T39 at the 2011 LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to first earn LPGA Tour status
- Won the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur in 2019
- Graduated from Wake Forest University in 2019 with a degree in Communications
- 2018 NCAA Division I Individual National Champion, and was the first wire-to-wire NCAA champion since 2002
- 2018 NCAA Player of the Year
- Played on the victorious 2018 U.S. Curtis Cup, Women’s World Amateur and Palmer Cup teams
Rolex Rankings No. 194 Gerina Mendoza (64)
- She hit 11 of 13 fairways and 17 of 18 greens, with 30 putts
- Mendoza’s 64 is a season-low round; it’s her lowest score since she shot a 63 in 2017 at the Dana Open presented by Marathon
- It’s only the second time she’s shot 64 in her career
- This is Mendoza’s ninth event of the season; her best finish is a tie for sixth at the LOTTE Championship presented by Hoakalei
- This is her seventh appearance in the Meijer LPGA Classic; her best finish was a tie for second in 2015
- Mendoza is a three-time member of the U.S. Solheim Cup team (2013, 2015, 2017)
- She was a member of the U.S. Team at the 2016 UL International Crown
- She represented the United States at the 2016 Olympic Games, where she finished T11
- This is her 13th season on the LPGA Tour; she finished 30th at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to earn her card for the 2010 season
Rolex Rankings No. 30 Madelene Sagstrom (65)
- She hit 10 of 13 fairways and 14 of 18 greens, with 27 putts
- Her 65 ties her second-lowest score of the season; she last shot a 65 at Honda LPGA Thailand and shot a season-low 63 at the Cognizant Founders Cup
- This is Sagstrom’s fifth appearance at the Meijer LPGA Classic; her best finish is a tie for 4th in 2017
- Sagstrom has one career LPGA Tour victory, coming at the 2020 Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio
- Represented Sweden at the 2020 Olympics, finishing T20
- Held the lead after the first round
- Member of Team Europe at the 2017 and 2021 Solheim Cup
- Won the Epson’s Tour 2016 Race for the Card to first earn LPGA Tour status
- In 2016, set the Epson Tour single-season earnings record ($167,064) with three wins and 12 top-10 finishes, which is also a single-season record
- 2016 Epson Tour Player of the Year and Gaelle Truet Rookie of the Year
- In 2021, Sagstrom told her story of being sexually abused at age 7 by a family friend, and received the 2021 Heather Farr Perseverance Award recipient for that story
- A 2015 graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in psychology
- While at LSU, she was named the 2015 SEC Player of the Year, was a First Team All-American and was a finalist for the ANNIKA Award
- Started playing golf at age 9 on her father’s friend’s farm
Rolex Rankings No. 22 Anna Nordqvist (65)
- She hit 12 of 13 fairways and 17 of 18 greens with 30 putts
- Nordqvist’s 65 is her season-low score on the LPGA Tour
- This is her sixth appearance in the Meijer LPGA Classic; her best finish was tie for fourth in 2018
- This is Nordqvist’s 14th year on the LPGA Tour; she tied for 25th at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to earn her card in 2009
- This is her tenth event of the season; her best finish of the season is T4 at the U.S. Women’s Open
- Nordqvist has won nine LPGA events including three majors (2021 AIG Women’s Open, 2017 Evian Championship and 2009 KPMG LGA Championship)
- She has played on the European Solheim Cup team seven consecutive times, from 2009 to 2021
- She has represented Sweden in two Olympics, in 2016 and 2020
- She has a Golden Retriever named Max
Rolex Rankings No. 7, Lexi Thompson (65)
- She hit 8 of 13 fairways and 16 of 18 greens with 29 putts
- Thompson’s 65 ties her lowest score of the season; she last recorded a 65 at the LPGA Drive On Championship at Crown Colony
- This is her 11th season on the LPGA Tour; she has 11 career victories, including a major championship title from the 2014 Chevron Championship
- This is Thompson’s eighth event of the 2022 season; she has recorded four top-10 finishes, including season-best runner-up performances at the LPGA Drive On Championship at Crown Colony and the Cognizant Founders Cup
- This is her eighth appearance in the Meijer LPGA Classic; she won the event in 2015
- Thompson is a five-time member of the U.S. Solheim Cup team (2013, 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021)
- She is a three-time member of the U.S. team at International Crown (2014, 2016, 2018)
- Thompson is a two-time Olympian representing the United States; she finished T19 at the 2016 Rio Olympics and 33 at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
- In 2017, Thompson earned the Vare Trophy
- She was granted LPGA Tour Membership for 2012 by former Commissioner Mike Whan to first earn Tour status after turning professional in 2010
- As an amateur, she played in 21 Tour events from 2007-2011
- Thompson won the 2008 U.S. Girls Jr. Championship, and was the No. 1 ranked amateur in 2009
- Her brothers Nicholas and Curtis have played on the PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour
TOURNAMENT VIDEOS AND PHOTOS
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SOCIAL MEDIA: #DRIVEON
Tournament: @MeijerLPGA (Twitter), @meijerlpga (Instagram); #forehunger #meijercommunity
LPGA Tour: @LPGA and @LPGAMedia (Twitter), @lpga_tour (Instagram)
TV TIMES (all times Eastern on Golf Channel)
Friday, June 17 – 3-6 p.m.
Saturday, June 18 – 3-6 p.m.
Sunday, June 19 – 3-6 p.m.
Friday, June 17 – 3-6 p.m.
Saturday, June 18 – 3-6 p.m.
Sunday, June 19 – 3-6 p.m.
TOURNAMENT SCORING RECORDS
18 holes: 61: Lee-Anne Pace, third round, 2017
36 holes:128: Brooke Henderson, 2019
54 holes:196: Lexi Thompson, 2017; Nelly Korda, 2021
72 holes: 263: Brooke Henderson, 2017; Nelly Korda, 2021