Despite the U.S. Women’s Open being around the corner, the Kingsmill Championship always features a strong field and this year is no different. The tournament started in 2003 and has been a Tour favorite ever since. Six of the top ten in the Rolex world rankings will tee it up including defending champion Lexi Thompson, who is No. 3 in the world. Other top ranked players in the field include No. 5 So Yeon Ryu, No. 6 Ariya Jutanugarn, No. 7 In-Kyung Kim, No. 8 Jessica Korda and No. 10 Cristie Kerr. There are six past champions in the field this week: Lexi Thompson (2017), Ariya Jutanugarn (2016), Minjee Lee (2015), Lizette Salas (2014), Cristie Kerr (2013, 2009, 2005),and Karrie Webb (2006). The River Course at Kingsmill Resort has generally been birdie friendly over the last few years. Lexi Thompson set the tournament scoring record in 2017 with rounds of 65-65-69-65 to win at 20-under. The previous mark was held by Annika Sorenstam, who won in 2008 with a four-day total of 19-under. Se Ri Pak also won in Williamsburg in 2004.
Thompson Looking to Heat Up
Lexi Thompson didn’t play two weeks ago at the last LPGA stop in Texas. She’s back at a site where she has played well. She obviously won in 2017, but also finished T5 in 2016, T8 in 2015 and T2 in 2014. That’s four years in a row with a top 10 in Williamsburg. Thompson could use a jolt to ignite her season. She started scorching hot with top 10 finishes in her first two starts, but doesn’t have a top 10 in her last five starts. A deeper dive into her results shows a trend in her second rounds. In her last four second rounds, she has posted scores of 75-71-72-74. Thompson’s best result this year is a tie for second at the Honda LPGA Thailand.
Kerr Looking for #4 in Williamsburg
Kerr captured her fifth, 12th and 16th career wins at the Kingsmill Championship. It’s the tournament she’s had the most success during her brilliant career. Her last win in Williamsburg came in 2013, but she’s played well since. While she hasn’t contended, she did finish T18 in 2016 and T29 in 2014. Like Thompson, Kerr is also looking to kick start her season. She missed the cut two weeks ago at the shortened LPGA Texas Classic and has one top finish in 10 starts. The top 10 came at the Kia Classic, an event she has won (2015), so maybe this is a week Cristie can shine. Kerr’s low round at the River Course is a 63 in round two in 2009.
Last year, in her pre-tournament press conference, Kerr said that Williamsburg “just kind of feels like home.”
“Just love the feel of the place,” Kerr continued. “It’s a big golf course. It’s a classic golf course with very good greens. I just love the layout.”
Keep a Close Eye on Jessica Korda
In part because of jaw surgery in the offseason, Jessica Korda has only made six starts this year. She’s also managed her schedule well. She didn’t play in Texas two weeks ago and therefore had two weeks at home. She has four top 10s this year and has climbed to No. 8 in the world, the highest ranking of her career. It’s been an impressive climb considering less than three months ago she was No. 26 in the world. Korda has gotten off to great starts this season. Her first round scoring average is a 68.1. When she won in Thailand she turned in an opening round 66. It was her first round of the season coming off the surgery. Korda is now the second highest ranked American behind Thompson. She ranks sixth on the Race to the CME Globe.
University of Richmond Golfer Gets Exemption
Richmond senior Elsa Diaz received an exemption into the field and will compete in her first LPGA event this week.
"I think what this opportunity gives a student-athlete like myself is the ability to measure my game against the best in the world," Diaz said of her chance to play in the event. "I see these girls playing so well on television and I want to know where I stand and being able to play on a course like this against the best in the world will really tell me if I can play and how much more I need to work on my game."
Elsa finished her career with the fifth lowest scoring average all-time at Richmond and guided the Spiders to three consecutive Patriot League titles.
She finished her career with six top 10 finishes.
Moms in the Field Post Mother's Day
We just celebrated Mother’s Day weekend so here is a look at the moms in the field this week. There are several: Karine Icher, Juli Inkster, Cristie Kerr and Sydnee Michaels.
There is also a mom-to-be in Stacy Lewis, who is expecting her first child in November.
- Former University of Virginia star, 2016 ACC individual champion and Chesapeake, Virginia native Lauren Coughlin is in the field this week. She is playing a full LPGA schedule for the first time. Brittany Altomare, who also starred at UVA from 2009-2013, is in the field. Other players from the state of Virginia in the field are Sandra Changkija and Thidapa Suwannapura.
- Michelle Wie returns after taking the Texas event off. She did not play in Kingsmill in 2017 and missed the cut in 2016. Wie already has six top 25 finishes this season including a win at the HSBC Women's World Championship.
- In Gee Chun has finished inside the top 10 in each of the last two years at Kingsmill Resort. She finished second in 2017 and T10 in 2016.