5 story lines to follow at Seaview this week

Tomas, left, and Carol Kokoszka, middle, of Barnegat Light, and Anita Fernekes, of Delaware, watch the LPGA Tour players in action during the pro-am at Stockton Seaview Hotel & Golf Club in Galloway Township on Thursday.

Here are five story lines to follow when the ShopRite LPGA Classic starts today at Stockton Seaview Hotel & Golf Club in Galloway Township.

Stacy Lewis vs. Inbee Park

Sports are built on rivalries, and Lewis and Park are the two top players on the LPGA Tour.

Lewis won the 2012 Player of the Year award, but Park finished No. 1 on the money list.

This year, the two have combined to win five of the first 10 LPGA events. With three victories, Park is ranked No. 1 the world. Lewis, with two victories, is No. 2. Lewis was No. 1 earlier this year before Park passed her.

Jennifer Johnson's emergence

The 21-year-old from San Diego won her first LPGA tournament, the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic, last weekend.

Can she build on that success at this week's ShopRite LPGA Classic?

Johnson finished tied for 18th at last year's Classic. She opened with a 6-over-par 77 before shooting an 8-under-par 63 in the second round. Johnson finished with an even-par 71 and finished tied for 18th.

Can the Americans keep winning?

The focus at each U.S. LPGA event is how American players will perform.

Lewis (No. 2) and Cristie Kerr (No. 10) are the only Americans currently in the top-10 of the Rolex world rankings.

But Americans are on a roll lately.

Kerr won the Kingsmill Championship in Virginia on May 5. Johnson won in Alabama on May 19.

Will the LPGA continue its streak of fantastic finishes?

The LPGA Tour is in the midst of a streak of thrilling finishes that might just be unmatched in tour history.

In case you missed it, here's what happened the past month:

• Suzann Pettersen won the LPGA Lotte Championship in a playoff on April 20.

• Park birdied the final hole to win the North Texas Shootout on April 28.

• Kerr beat Pettersen in a two-hole playoff to win the Kingsmill Championship on May 5.

• Johnson won in Mobile by shooting a final round 65. The outcome was in doubt until the final hole as seven players finished within two shots of the winner.

The Classic hasn't been decided in a playoff since 1992 when Anne Marie Palli beat Laura Davies.

Fan favorites and Hall of Famers return

After a one-year absence because of elbow surgery, crowd favorite Juli Inkster returns to the Classic. Inkster, 51, missed the cut at the 2011 Classic but traditionally plays well at Seaview, having won the tournament in 1986 and 1988.

Inkster isn't the only Hall of fame player in the field. Karrie Webb, 38, and Se Ri Pak, 35, also will tee it up this week. Pak won the 1999 Classic.

Contact Michael McGarry:


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