Meijer LPGA Classic 2022 Round 2 Notes
Location: Blythefield Country Club, Belmont, MI
Course Setup: 36-36—72; 6,338 yards (Scoring average R2: 71.211)
Weather: Sunny skies with 5 – 18 mph winds that gusted to 30 mph and temperatures topping out in the high 70s.
CHEVRON CHAMP JENNIFER KUPCHO CONTINUES CHARGE ON FRIDAY IN MICHIGAN
Making eight consecutive pars wasn’t how first-round leader Jennifer Kupcho wanted to begin day two at the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give. But, the 25-year-old hung tough, stayed patient and finally made five birdies in her last ten holes to shoot 67 and lead by two shots heading into the weekend at Blythefield Country Club. Kupcho hit 8 of 13 fairways and 13 of 18 greens with just 27 putts, an effort she was pleased with considering the incredibly windy conditions.
“I started out not hitting it great so was just trying to stay patient and on a couple of holes save par, so I actually got out of the holes pretty well,” said Kupcho, who hasn’t made a bogey in 36 holes at Blythefield. “I didn’t really expect a whole lot coming out here today. Set a pretty low bar for myself, so to come out and play well, it was nice to see. I kept telling myself that yesterday was so easy and golf really seemed like it was the best I could do yesterday, so I kind of came out with the mindset that not everything is going to go my way today, and it certainly didn’t on the first eight holes.”
Kupcho’s two-day total of 130 is the second-lowest 36-hole score of her career and it’s just her third time holding the 36-hole lead or co-lead. She became a Rolex First-Time winner back in April when she won The Chevron Championship by two strokes to take the last leap into Poppie’s Pond. As she looks ahead to the weekend in Michigan, Kupcho will be relying heavily on that past experience as she works to add a second win to her resume.
“I think it’s just having a confident mindset and knowing that I can do it,” she said. “Obviously, I’ve won a lot in amateur golf, so, yeah, I was cold for a couple of years so to be able to come out and win, I think it just gives me a lot of confidence to be able to win on this level.”
Rolex Rankings No. 2 Nelly Korda sits in solo second after day two, jumping up the leaderboard after carding a bogey-free, 7-under 65 that saw her hole out for eagle on the par-5 14th. She hit 9 of 13 fairways and 15 of 18 greens on Friday and had to get creative in the windy conditions, something Korda enjoys having to do every once in a while.
“Golf is a game of creativity,” she said. “There is so much you can do in the game of golf, and that makes it really exciting. Playing in the wind is definitely a little bit more exhausting. You have to be way more into it when it comes to numbers, where you’re starting the ball. It’s not like you go hit a ball and you’ll see it going straight. You have to play a bit more with it, but I think that’s what makes it a lot of fun. When you have that attitude, I think it doesn’t drain you as much.”
Spaniard Carlota Ciganda is alone in third after rounds of 68 and 65, the latter of which saw her make two eagles on holes 8 and 18. Par fives have been key for Ciganda this week – she’s made birdie or better on 8 of the 10 she’s played – and she plans to continue that ferocity over the weekend. “I think two, three of (the par 5s), they are almost like par 4s,” she said. “Yesterday I hit driver, pitching wedge, driver, 50 on 8, and today two 9-irons. So if I hit a good driver I have a good chance of making a three or four.”
Two-time Meijer LPGA Classic winner Brooke Henderson, major champion Lexi Thompson and LPGA Tour winner Madelene Sagstrom are tied for fourth at -10 with Germany’s Caroline Masson and major champion Anna Nordqvist in a tie for seventh at -9. A trio of players round out the top 10 at 8 under, including American Jessica Korda, LPGA Tour mom Gerina Mendoza and South African Paula Reto. A total of 78 players made the cut at -2.
NO SLOWING DOWN FOR NELLY KORDA ON DAY TWO AT BLYTHEFIELD COUNTRY CLUB
After being sidelined in March with a blood clot in her left arm, defending champion Nelly Korda hasn’t had many competitive reps this season. But, through two rounds at the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give, the Rolex Rankings No. 2 isn’t showing any signs of rust, firing a bogey-free, 7-under 65 at Blythefield Country Club on Friday. She sits in solo second, two shots back of leader Jennifer Kupcho, heading into Moving Day. In addition to 5 birdies, including two back-to-back on holes 17 and 18, the highlight of Korda’s day was a hole-out eagle on the par-5 14th – this week’s Aon Risk Reward Challenge hole.
“I hit it out into the rough with my drive, laid up, and I don’t know how far I had in. I probably had I think 82 yards and it spun right back into the hole. Not many people saw it. It was that part of the golf course that no one really saw, but it was fun,” Korda said of the eagle. “You have to (go low) out here. The scores are always really low. You have to put together a bunch of birdies to just try to be in contention. Hopefully, I can put together a solid 36 holes over the weekend and see how it goes.”
This is Korda’s fifth appearance of the 2022 season and just her second start back since her health scare earlier this year. She returned to the LPGA Tour two weeks ago at the U.S. Women’s Open presented by ProMedica, finishing in a tie for eighth at Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club to notch her second top 10 of the season. In addition to last year’s victory, Korda has two other top-10 finishes at the Meijer LPGA Classic – a T9 in 2018 and a T7 in 2019. With a milder weekend on tap at Blythefield, she’ll look to chase down another title in Michigan, which would be the eighth win of her career.
“I had a warmup at the U.S. Women’s Open. That was a tough test of golf, especially on Sunday. You didn’t really see many scores under par there. I think there were maybe two or three girls. So I’ve had a couple of rounds under my belt already, so I’m happy with that going into this week,” Korda said. “I guess I’m not surprised (to be playing well). I worked hard my entire life so I’m all about consistency. If I can put together a good round, then I’m happy with that.”
CARLOTA CIGANDA TAKES ADVANTAGE OF “TRICKY” CONDITIONS AND BLYTHEFIELD’S PAR 5S
With winds gusting up to 22 mph during the morning round on Friday, Blythefield Country Club wasn’t playing easy at the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give. But, two-time LPGA Tour winner Carlota Ciganda used the conditions to her advantage, carding a 7-under 65 to sit three shots back of the lead in solo third heading into the weekend.
“The key was that I hit a lot of greens both days, yesterday and today. It’s pretty tricky with the wind and if you don’t hit the greens, it’s just harder to make those putts for par,” Ciganda said. “The wind was helping, maybe 20 yards of help. You have lots of wedge shots, or at least I did, and then, if you make putts you can score. There are some really good scores on this course.”
Ciganda has hit 29 of 36 greens through two rounds and has carded three eagles, making three on the eighth hole on both Thursday and Friday. Day two in Michigan saw Ciganda make up for three bogeys with six birdies and two eagles, including one on the final hole. Her drive on 18 found the rough and she managed to get a nine-iron to the green from 160 yards, ultimately burying the putt for eagle. The Spaniard, who ranks 13th in average driving distance this season, says her performance on Blythefield’s five par 5s has been the key to her low scores the first two days. Ciganda made birdie or better on 8 of the 10 she’s played so far.
“The par-5s this week, they are reachable for me, at least three of them are pretty comfortable,” she said. “I do think a couple of the par-5s, they could be almost par-4s. So if I hit a good drive, I have a good chance of making a three or four. Maybe it’s because the wind is really strong. I think (this course) is almost like a par 71.”
BROOKE HENDERSON CHASING THIRD MEIJER LPGA CLASSIC VICTORY, SECOND WIN OF THE SEASON AS SHE HEADS INTO THE WEEKEND
Two-time Meijer LPGA Classic winner Brooke Henderson is two shots back of defending champion Nelly Korda, and four shots out of the lead, after two windy rounds at Blythefield Country Club. The gallery was full and the energy was high as the past champions played together Friday morning and battled for position on the leaderboard. The fierce competition appeared to favor both players, as the two nearly went shot-for-shot on the front nine before Korda pulled away on the back. Henderson shot a 6-under 66 and Korda a 7-under 65.
“I had a really nice stretch where I was making a ton of birdies and Nelly was, too. It was really fun. We could kind of feed off each other,” Henderson said. “The crowd gets behind you and you’re pushing each other to make birdies. The energy is high, and I feel like fun is the only way you can really sum it up.”
Henderson made six birdies and an eagle during Friday’s round with two bogeys on the card. In six appearances at the Meijer LPGA Classic, Henderson’s 36-hole 134 is her third-lowest. Her best score through two rounds is 128, recorded in 2019 after she notched back-to-back 64s, ultimately going on to win the event for the second time. The major champion earned her 11th LPGA victory at the ShopRite LPGA Classic Presented by Acer last week in New Jersey and it’s that victory combined with her knowledge of Blythefield that’s giving her a lot of confidence with two rounds left to play.
“Right now it’s a great stretch of golf for me. Obviously winning last week was a huge bonus and really grateful for that,” she said. “Coming into this week knowing that I’ve had such success here was really exciting, and it’s nice to put myself pretty close to the top of the leaderboard through two days. Just half the tournament is over, so hopefully, I can make a big climb the next two.”
CME GROUP CARES CHALLENGE – SCORE 1 FOR ST JUDE UPDATE
The CME Group Cares Challenge is a season-long charitable giving program that turns aces into donations. CME Group donates $20,000 for each hole-in-one made on the LPGA Tour in 2022, with a minimum guaranteed donation of $500,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which is leading the way in how the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and life-threatening diseases.
Fifteen holes-in-one have been made this season on the LPGA Tour, with the season’s donation total reaching $300,000 after Gina Kim made a hole-in-one during the second round of the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give. Kim aced the par-3 13th at Blythefield Country Club from 167 yards with a 5 iron to finish the round at -4 and move on to the weekend. A rookie this season on the LPGA Tour, Kim didn’t realize that her hole-in-one gave $20,000 to St. Jude, but it made the memorable moment even more special for the 22-year-old.
“Making an ace is obviously very gratifying as a player but to be able to contribute to something bigger than golf is something I’m honored to be a part of,” Kim said. “I’m grateful I was put into this position to help others which I feel like is the best feeling in the world.”
Rolex Rankings No. 16, Jennifer Kupcho (63-67)
- She hit 8 of 13 fairways and 13 of 18 greens, with 27 putts
- This is her third time holding the lead or co-lead through 36 holes; the two previous instances saw her finish T22 at the 2021 Pelican Women’s Championship and solo second at the 2021 Drive On Championship at Golden Ocala
- Her two-day total of 130 is the second-lowest 36-hole score of her career; the lowest is 129 which she shot at the 2021 Pelican Women’s Championship
- This is Kupcho’s third appearance in the Meijer LPGA Classic; she tied for 10th in 2021 and tied for 23rd in 2019
- Kupcho has missed two cuts in 12 starts this season; she became a Rolex First-Time winner at The Chevron Championship and has one additional top 10, a tie for sixth at the Honda LPGA Thailand
- Kupcho’s first-round 63 is her career-low round; she shot her previous career-low 64 this season at The Chevron Championship and went on to win
- 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. 2 Nelly Korda (67-65)
- She hit 9 of 13 fairways and 15 of 18 greens, with 27 putts
- Her two-day total of 132 ties the third-lowest 36-hole score of her career, last shot at the 2017 Dana Open presented by Marathon
- This is Korda’s fifth season on the LPGA Tour; she has seven career victories, including a major title at the 2021 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship
- This is Korda’s fourth appearance in the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give; she won the event in 2021 and has two additional top-10 finishes, a T9 in 2018 and a T7 in 2019
- Gold medalist at the 2020 Summer Olympics
- Member of the 2019 and 2021 U.S. Solheim Cup Teams
- With sister Jessica, is one of three sister duos to both win on the LPGA Tour, along with the Jutanugarns and the Sorenstams
- Her parents, Petr Korda and Regina Rajchrtová, were international tennis stars, with her father winning the Australian Open and her mother representing the former Czechoslovakia at the 1988 Summer Olympics
- Her younger brother, Sebastian Korda, is 41st in the ATP Tennis rankings
Rolex Rankings No. 54, Carlota Ciganda (68-65)
- She hit 8 of 13 fairways and 14 of 18 greens, with 28 putts
- This is her fifth appearance in the Meijer LPGA Classic; her best finish was solo second in 2016
- This is her 12th event of the season; her best finish this year was solo fifth at the Cognizant Founders Cup
- She is a two-time LPGA winner; she won both the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship and CitiBanamex Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Aeromexico and Delta in 2016
- This is Ciganda’s 11th year on the LPGA Tour; she finished tied for 34th at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to earn her card for the 2012 LPGA season
- She is a five-time member of the European Solheim Cup team
- During the 2014 UL International Crown, Ciganda was a member of Team Spain, which won the inaugural event
- She represented Spain in the 2016 and 2020 Olympics
- While at Arizona State University, Ciganda made conference history by becoming the first player to win back-to-back Pac-10 Championships in 2009 and 2010
TOURNAMENT VIDEOS AND PHOTOS
For links to pre-tournament press conference videos and complimentary tournament photos, please contact LPGA Tour Media. Tournament imagery is provided as a courtesy by Getty Images and the LPGA, strictly for editorial use. All images are intended for media publishers only and cannot be redistributed, sold or licensed by any individual or company provided with access. To access the additional LPGA Tour tournament imagery, contact Brandon Lopez for licensing: email@example.com.
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)
Saturday, June 18 – 3-6 p.m.
Sunday, June 19 – 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