The $1.5 million ShopRite LPGA Classic begins Friday on the Bay Course at Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club in Galloway Township.
The 54-hole tournament will once again feature nearly all of the world’s top women golfers. Stacy Lewis is the defending champion.
Here are five storylines to follow at this year’s event.
1. Can Stacy Lewis win her third ShopRite LPGA Classic?: Lewis won the Classic last year by six strokes. She won the 2012 Classic by four strokes. With a win this week, Lewis would join Hall of Fame golfers Betsy King (1988, 1994, and 2001) and Annika Sorenstam (1998, 2002, and 2005) as the only players to win three Classics. Lewis enters this week ranked No. 3 in the world, but she has to yet to win in 2015.
2. Lincicome’s career revival: Brittany Lincicome won the 2011 Classic. A little more than two months later she won the CN Canadian Women’s Open. But Lincicome would not win again for almost four years. She ended a long victory drought in April when she beat Lewis in a playoff to win the ANA Inspiration — the LPGA’s first major championship of the year. Lincicome is now ranked No. 7 in the world. Can she build on this comeback season at the Classic?
3. Park and Kim seek third title of 2015: Inbee Park and Sei Young Kim are two of three LPGA golfers to win two events this year. The third player with two wins, Lydia Ko, is resting this week and will not play in the Classic. Park and Kim have a chance to win the Classic and boost their chances for the Player of the Year award. Park, 26, is ranked No. 2 in the world behind Ko. Kim, 22, is an LPGA rookie.
4. Time for the Americans to jump start their season: U.S. players won 13 events in 2014. In 2015, U.S. players have won just two of 12 events. Cristie Kerr (the 2004 Classic champion) won the KIA Classic in March and Lincicome won the ANA Inspiration in April. American standouts Lewis, Paula Creamer, Michelle Wie and Lexi Thompson are still seeking their first win of 2015. The Classic begins one of the busy portions of the LPGA schedule. If U.S. players are to duplicate last season’s success, the time to start winning is now.
5. Rookies to watch: Young players and rookies have dominated the tour so far this season. Rookie Sei Young Kim has won twice (the Lotte Championship in April and the Pure Silk-Bahamas Classic in February). Rookie Minjee Lee won the Kingsmill Championship in Virginia earlier this month. Rookie Hyo Joo Kim won the JTBC Founder’s Cup in March. Rookies have traditionally struggled at the ShopRite LPGA Classic. Can this impressive group of newcomers change that trend?
Contact: 609-272-7185, MMcGarry@pressofac.com