Thompson Top-Ranked In Toledo
Lexi Thompson, the top-ranked American at No.5 in the Rolex Rankings, headlines the field at the Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning and O-I. The American returns to action this week in Toledo after taking last week off, skipping the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic. Finding time to rest is often a challenge during the Summer, as players have had to decide when and where to take time off as the Tour winds through a stretch of nine consecutive events. In the field this week are Rolex Rankings’ No. 7 In-Kyung Kim, No.16 Brooke Henderson and No.19 In Gee Chun. Rolex Rankings’ No.20, Sei Young Kim, who set a new scoring record with her victory at the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic at 31-under par, is also in the field.
Thompson has played consistently throughout the season, she hasn’t missed a single cut, but remains in search of her first win of the year. The nine-time winner continues to put herself in position as she hasn’t finished outside the top 15 in her last four starts. But Thompson has struggled to capitalize on two strengths in her game, Driving Distance and Greens in Regulation. On Tour, she’s ranked third and second, respectively. But when it comes to Driving Accuracy and Putting Average, she’s ranked 125th and 30th. This week, she returns to an event where she has come close but hasn’t yet won. She finished runner-up at Highland Meadows Golf Club in 2018 and has never finished worse than T18 in four starts.
In-Kyung Kim picked up her second of three wins in 2017 in Toledo, where she added her name to an impressive list of champions who, since 1984, have won the Marathon Classic. With her victory, Kim joined an elite group of winners that includes Laura Davies, Se Ri Pak, Annika Sorenstam and Lydia Ko, to name a few. Her victory was also a springboard to her third win of the season and first major title, which came two weeks later at the Ricoh Women’s British Open.
Kim arrives back in Ohio not yet a winner in 2018 but trending towards a successful title defense. She has three top 10s this season, including a T8 in her last start at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. To Kim’s credit, she also has consistently played well in Toledo, where she has three more top 10s including a runner-up finish in 2010.
Last Stop for Lewis
Stacy Lewis was born in Toledo, making it a fitting last stop for the soon-to-be mother who will give birth to her first child in November. The Marathon Classic is the 12th and final event of the year for Lewis, who plans to return to the Tour in 2019. The major champion has played a full schedule each season since becoming a rookie in 2009, making this break the longest Lewis has had away from the Tour in a decade. Lewis consistently makes the Toledo stop part of her schedule and has twice finished in the top 10 in 11 appearances. She has just one top 10 in 2018.
Lincicome's Final Tune-Up
The LPGA Tour will be off next week, but Brittany Lincicome won’t be getting any rest. The two-time major champion is in the field this week in Ohio before she makes the short trip south to Kentucky to tee it up in the PGA Tour’s Barbasol Championship. Lincicome received a sponsor invite and will become the sixth woman to compete on the PGA Tour, joining Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie.
For the last decade, Lincicome has competed at the Marathon Classic where she twice finished in the top 10, including a T8 in 2017.
Return of the Champions
Three other Marathon Classic champions are in the field this week in addition to defending champion, In-Kyung Kim. Chella Choi, who won in 2015, defeated Ha Na Jang in a playoff for her first win on Tour. Choi’s victory came after seven years on the LPGA Tour in what was her 157th start. Beatriz Recari won in Toledo in 2013 for her second win that season. Paula Creamer’s win in Ohio in 2008 was one of four victories for the Pink Panther that season, her winning-most year on the LPGA Tour.