The LPGA Tour heads to Arizona this week for the Bank of Hope Founders Cup. With many of the top names in action, we look set for an exciting week of golf on the ladies tour. The event uses a different course layout to normal as it is played over two courses.
The two courses at the Wildfire Golf Club are the Faldo Championship Course and the Palmer Signature Course. This tournament uses the back nine from both of those courses, instead of just using the straight 18 holes from one of them.
That adds a fascinating twist as both courses feature exciting back nine’s, giving us 18 thrilling holes. The course used this week features four par 5’s and four par 3’s making it a combined test of power and accuracy.
Sei Young Kim was victorious in this event last year thanks to great rounds on day one and day four. She put herself into early contention with a 63 on the opening day and went one better to go round in 62 on the final day, enough to win the tournament by five shots, ahead of Lydia Ko.
In 2015 she tied for sixth place in the event showing she clearly likes the course and she looks a serious threat to the title again this year. Kim has shown signs of coming to life just once this year from her three outings and that was when she finished third in the Honda LPGA Thailand event last month. She doesn’t look on the top of her game at the moment, but it is very dangerous to discount someone with such course form.
A player I am really interested in this week is Sung Hyun Park who has finished third on her only appearance on the LPGA Tour so far this season. That was at the HSBC Women’s Champions event at the beginning of February and I expect to see a lot more of her as the year progresses.
She played the majority of her golf last year on the KLPGA Tour, although she did move over to the LPGA for seven events last year. She has won in her native land of South Korea and looks destined to win on the LPGA Tour very soon.
In the seven LPGA events she played last year she recorded a top-four finish in four of those and out of those four, three were major events, showing she is capable of mixing it with the best women on tour on the biggest stages. I like Sung Hyun Park and think it is only a matter of time before she wins an event on this tour.
Lydia Ko is another player I like the look of this week. As mentioned above, she came second in this event twelve months ago and she is another player who seems to like it around here.
She is the current world number one, although the New Zealander is yet to win a tournament this year. That win may not be too far away though and last time out she was in contention until a bad final round proved to be costly.
She finished ninth eventually in that event, the HSBC Women’s Champions tournament, but would have been much closer with a better final round. Prior to that, she came eighth in the Honda LPGA Thailand and she looks like another player who is edging closer to picking up a tour victory. If Lydia can close out in better style this weekend she should be close to the top of the leader board.
With a unique eighteen holes split across two different courses, the Bank of Hope Founders Cup offers fans and golfers the chance to see something a little different. The course should give us plenty of excitement and drama and that should make for an exciting four days of quality golf with plenty of the top names involved.