Shoprite LPGA Classic Preview
Shoprite LPGA Classic
Dates: October 1 – October 4, 2020
Where: Bay Course at Seaview, Galloway, NJ
PAR/YARDS: 71/ 6, 190
Field: 120 Players
2019 Champion: Lexi Thompson
TV TIMES (all times Eastern on Golf Channel)
Thursday, Oct. 1: 1-4 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 2: 1-4 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 3: 1-4 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 4: 1-4 p.m.
A SHORE TRADITION ON THE LPGA TOUR
Following two tournaments on the West Coast, the LPGA Tour heads east to Galloway, N.J., for a “Shore Tradition” unlike any other, as the world’s best female golfers return to the Bay Course at Seaview, A Dolce Hotel in the 26th edition of the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer from Oct. 1-4. Typically a 54-hole event, the tournament is 72 holes this year for the first time since 1990, when Christa Johnson won at Greate Bay Country Club.
The 120-player field is headlined by the defending champion and Rolex Rankings No. 10 Lexi Thompson, fellow American and Rolex Rankings No. 2 Nelly Korda, and Rolex Rankings No. 4 Brooke Henderson.
Despite some windy conditions during the final round in 2019, Thompson buried an eagle putt on No. 18 to claim her 11th LPGA Tour crown and add her name to the historic list of past ShopRite LPGA Classic champions which includes such Hall of Fame members as Karrie Webb, Annika Sorenstam, Betsy King, Se Ri Pak, Nancy Lopez and Juli Inkster. Thompson will join six other ShopRite LPGA Classic winners in the field this week including two-time champions Anna Nordqvist (2015, 2016) and Stacy Lewis (2012, 2014).
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE SHOPRITE LPGA CLASSIC PRESENTED BY ACER
This is the 32nd playing of the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer on the Bay Course at the famed Seaview, A Dolce Hotel.
The tournament was originally known as the Atlantic City LPGA Classic, but changed its name to the ShopRite LPGA Classic in 1992 when Wakefern Food Corporation took over as title sponsor. In 2013, current presenting sponsor Acer signed on.
Betsy King (1987, 1995, 2001) and Annika Sorenstam (1998, 2002, 2005) are the only three-time winners of the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer.
There have been 24 different champions in tournament history from seven different countries.
The 18-hole tournament scoring record is 10-under par (61), set by Sei Young Kim in the second round in 2018 and matched by Sakura Yokomine in the third round that same year.
2020 is the second time in tournament history that the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer will play as a 72-hole event. The first was 1990 when Christa Johnson won at Greate Bay Country Club.
LEXI THOMPSON IN TOWN TO DEFEND SHOPRITE LPGA CLASSIC CROWN
From her professional debut in 2010 to finding the winner’s circle in 2019, Lexi Thompson has come full circle at the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer. This week, she’ll be defending her title at Seaview, A Dolce Hotel in Galloway, N.J., after an electrifying putt last year on No. 18 and epic fist pump.
“So many great memories, especially winning here last year,” said Thompson, who made a 20-foot eagle putt on the 54th hole for the 2019 ShopRite LPGA Classic title. “I watched that putt again last night and just the crowds cheering for me over and over in my head, it gives me chills every time.
“It is definitely one of the best memories in my career. When I hit my second shot in and it bounced like 50 yards up on the green for that putt, I was hoping to make it, we all want that, but it was a tough little putt. Threw in a little fist pump after. I usually never do it, but in the moment it was needed.”
While the event has made a slight change in competition from 54 to 72 holes, Thompson recognizes one thing that has remained the same: the loyalty exhibited by title sponsor ShopRite to the LPGA, its players and local communities served. Since 1992, when ShopRite took over as title sponsor, they have donated over $35 million to charity including food banks, healthcare and education programs.
“It’s super inspirational,” Thompson said. “We’re very grateful to have the sponsors we have. To hear how much they give back to charities like that and to help people out in general, especially in times like this, it is very inspirational. I think we all aspire to be like that. We are not only athletes, but we want to give back to the game or to anybody in need. It makes a big difference to us knowing our sponsors care that much. I think we’re all happy to be a part of this journey with them.”
NORDQVIST HOPING TO ADD TO HER SHOPRITE RESUME
Two-time ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer champion Anna Nordqvist should feel right at home this week. Between her stay at the Borgata as an ambassador for MGM Resorts to her outstanding track record on the Bay Course at Seaview, Nordqvist has her sights set on a third victory in Atlantic County in a very familiar and comfortable setting.
“Winning definitely helps to create good memories,” said Nordqvist. “Playing so well in 2015 and then defending my title in 2016 was awesome. My mom was here the first year I won, so that was pretty cool to share the moment with my mom. It was even Mother’s Day in Sweden when I won that year.”
Nordqvist tied the 54-hole tournament scoring record of 17-under par 196 in 2016. Her fellow Swede and LPGA Tour legend Annika Sorenstam set the mark in 1998 and reached it again in 2005, two of her three victories in South Jersey.
“We grew up in tough [weather] conditions,” Nordqvist said. “It can blow quite hard here, so I think that was helpful. I know her game was hitting a lot of fairways and greens. In that, I think we’re similar. Ball striking has always been very consistent. That’s important out here because the greens are pretty small, and especially with some of the wind. Depending on if you can stay out of the rough and put yourself on the green, I think you’re in a good spot.
“Especially those holes out by the water—the 2nd hole, 6th green, Nos. 14 and 15, and then I would say the 8th green—the wind usually comes pretty hard off the right, I think that’s the dominant wind here. You have to commit to something maybe 5-10 yards out from the green and into the hazard lines. I think that’s just a lot of it—committing to the shots and having fun playing against the wind.”
KERR READY FOR RETURN TO JERSEY AT SHOPRITE LPGA CLASSIC
It’s been 16 years since Cristie Kerr won at the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer, winning by one stroke at -11 over Giulia Sergas and then amateur Paula Creamer. This year, the 2003 champion makes her way back to Seaview for the first time since 2017 as she makes her 18th career appearance at the Jersey Shore.
“I have very good memories coming here. Obviously winning on this particular golf course, that was a great memory for me. Made a great putt on the last hole to win,” said Kerr. “In fact, my caddie, Kyle, I showed him when I won back in 2005—I believe it was ’05 or ’06; again, a million years ago—I told him, there was the putt that I made to win. This is where I hit my second shot 40 yards short of the green and got up and down to win. I don’t think you ever forget that stuff.”
The 20-time LPGA Tour winner has two additional top three finishes along with her win at the ShopRite LPGA Classic, though her most recent result here was a tie for 60th. Kerr said it has been an interesting 2020 for her in the lead up to this week’s event, as she’s juggled her wine business Kerr Cellars, family and the twists and turns of professional golf. Despite its challenges, she’s grateful for the opportunity to play during these difficult times.
“It has been different not to play in front of people this year, but hopefully I’m going to have a strong end to the year. I put a lot of work in on my game and my mental game, and starting to train again, so I’m hoping to be able to regain that momentum I had at the beginning of the year,” Kerr said.
LINCICOME AIMING HIGH WITH EMERY BY HER SIDE
The Cambia Portland Classic was a first for Brittany Lincicome: it was the first time she ventured to an LPGA Tour event in 2020 without daughter Emery by her side. It was a new experience for the #LPGAMom, who returned to play back in January at the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions after giving birth in July 2019.
“It was sad. First day or two, I cried when she left. Luckily, Brittany Lang let me hang with Shea (Lang’s daughter) a bunch, so I got to at least be around a baby a bit, which was good,” said Lincicome. “It was hard. It’s hard being selfish and wanting to take Emery with me every week, but then obviously my husband doesn’t get to see her every week at home. I’m trying to share, but obviously I want her to travel with me every week. She’s out this week and then she will go home next week. We’re trying to share, but it’s definitely hard and I miss her.”
Lincicome returns to the ShopRite LPGA Classic for the first time since 2017 where she finished T12, this time around with Emery in tow. The eight-time LPGA Tour winner and two-time major champion has made every cut in seven events played this season but is left wanting more. Lincicome said her goal is to “figure out how to get back to the top of the leaderboard,” one way or another, but knows her little one will still be waiting for her at the end of the day no matter what she scores.
“Obviously, taking time off from maternity and having Emery and the slow start to this season, it was almost like a full-year break, which I’ve never done. Getting back into the swing of things, into a rhythm when you have a week, a week off, it’s hard to get a rhythm. So that’s been challenging,” said Lincicome. “And then the whole competition part of it. Playing at home with your buddies and trying to practice is great. When you come back out and tee it up in an LPGA Tour event, the pressure and nerves, even for a non-major like Toledo, Atlantic City, still make me super nervous.
“Just trying to get out of my own way, getting back to how I used to play and being carefree. I thought after having Emery, it’s not a big deal anymore. I can go home and give her a hug and still see her smiling face and know I still have this beautiful daughter.”
FROM RON SIRAK: SHOPRITE CLASSIC SETS UP FINAL THIRD OF LPGA TOUR SEASON
Among the heroes of the COVID-19 era are those who’ve fed us while we quarantined, restocked shelves, rung up sales and made deliveries. ShopRite, with hundreds of grocery stores in East Coast states hit hard by the early days of the pandemic, steps up again for the community this week by playing host to the ShopRite Classic in the shadows of Atlantic City.
While normalcy is returning, slowly and cautiously, sport is playing its part. And while the ShopRite Classic will have no spectators, it’s feeding the appetite of golf fans by expanding from 54 to 72 holes with all four days of 120 players competing for the $1.3 million purse on Golf Channel from 1-4 pm ET starting Thursday.
Among those in the field are eight of the top-10 in the Rolex Rankings, including No. 2 Nelly Korda, No. 4 Brooke Henderson and defending ShopRite champion, No. 10 Lexi Thompson. Also on hand are the winners of both majors this year – Sophia Popov at the AIG Women’s Open and Mirim Lee at the ANA Inspiration – as well as last year’s AIG winner, Hinako Shibuno.
In every way, this is a feisty tournament. Beginning in 1986 as the Atlantic City Classic, the first winner on the famed Seaview Bay Course, a masterwork by Hugh Wilson and Donald Ross, was Juli Inkster – the personification of feisty. And its first four winners were Inkster twice, Betsy King and Nancy Lopez – all Hall of Famers.
ShopRite got on board in 1992, a run interrupted by a three-year hiccup from 2007-09 when the event’s dates were given to another sponsor. But when Mike Whan became LPGA Commissioner in 2010, he made it a priority to get ShopRite and the golf-passionate Atlantic City market back on the schedule. Working with Eiger Marketing Group, both the Seaview course and ShopRite are signed through 2023.
To read the full column from Ron Sirak on LPGA.com, visit:
RACE TO THE CME GLOBE UPDATE
As the LPGA Tour heads into ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer week, two-time 2020 winner Danielle Kang leads the Race to the CME Globe standings with 1,589 points through nine events played. Inbee Park sits in second with 1,235 points, only 354 back of Kang. Minjee Lee is third with 949 points, while Austin Ernst (892 points) and Nelly Korda (848 points) round out the top five. Players will continue to accumulate points across the next six tournaments to secure a spot in the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.
SOCIAL MEDIA: #ShopRiteLPGA #DriveOn
Tournament: @ShopRiteLPGA and @SeaviewGolf
LPGA: @LPGA and @LPGAMedia (Twitter), @lpga_tour (Instagram)
TOURNAMENT SCORING RECORDS
18 holes: 61 (-10), Sei Young Kim, second round, 2018; Sakura Yokomine, third round, 2018
36 holes: 130 (-12), six times and most recently by Sei Young Kim in 2018
54 holes: 196 (-17), Anna Nordqvist, 2016; Annika Sorenstam, 1998 and 2005
72 holes: 275 (-5), Christa Johnson, 1990*
*Only time the ShopRite LPGA Classic was played as a 72-hole event
via LPGA TOUR