After her third place finish at last week’s #DriveOn Championship, Minjee Lee will once again start as one of the favourites on the LPGA Tour this week at the Marathon LPGA Classic presented by Dana.
The tournament is one of the longest running and popular events on the LPGA Tour, famed actor and Toledo native Jamie Farr, well-known as “Klinger” on the TV show “M*A*S*H,” hosted the tournament through 2012 and this week’s tournament will mark the 35th staging of the event.
While the 24 year old Australian Lee will be full of confidence after finding form post the LPGA’s Covi-19 break, she will need to be at her best this week in a field which includes newly minted Rolex Rankings No. 2 Danielle Kang, winner of last week’s LPGA Drive On Championship, and No. 3 Nelly Korda.
Kang and Korda are joined by 2020 Tour winners Hee Young Park and Madelene Sagstrom, along with past Marathon LPGA Classic winners Lydia Ko (2014, 2016), Beatriz Recari (2013) and Jasmine Suwannapura (2018).
Defending champion Sei Young Kim emerged victorious at Highland Meadows in 2019, earning a two-stroke win for her ninth career LPGA Tour victory. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kim has made the difficult decision not to travel from her home in the Republic of Korea to defend her title.
“I feel down and my heart feels heavy because I can't go to the tournament where I had one of my best memories,” said Kim, No. 6 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.
“I would like to thank the partners, the tournament committee and the volunteers for making this tournament possible for us during these difficult times. It is a bit regrettable that I can’t go to Ohio to defend my title, but you can count on me to be the first one running to Toledo once it is safe for everyone to return. What I remember from Highland Meadows is that there was a lot of support from fans and cheers from LPGA’s side.
“Even though I can't be a part of this great tournament this year, I will definitely go back and repay the fans for their support.”
Australia will be represented in the field this week by world number eight Lee and her compatriots Katherine Kirk, Sarah Jane Smith and Sarah Kemp, with Hannah Green and Su Oh choosing to skip this week’s tournament and will re-start their 2020 LPGA campaigns at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open next week.
One of the feel-good stories around the tournament this week is Symetra Tour player Sarah Hoffman, who has received a sponsor’s exemption to play this week.
Hoffman, a Michigan native, tied for 28th on the Symetra Tour at The Firekeepers Casino Hotel Championship two weeks ago, however prior to that result when the US was reeling from the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 30-year-old Hoffman, who has a B.S. in Nursing from Grand Valley State University put down her clubs and put on her nursing scrubs to join the fight against the pandemic.
“The sacrifices are different in golf and nursing. Golf leans toward an individual focus and you have to think about yourself as No. 1. Nursing is all about the patient and how I can go the extra mile to make them the most comfortable,” said Hoffman. “After a season on the links it’s nice to get back to this other career I chose, to gain perspective. I feel fortunate in helping make a difference and that it allows for a steady paycheck. While I am on the front lines, the efforts of people following ‘stay at home’ orders have truly made an immediate impact.”
Viewers in Australia can watch all four rounds of the 2020 Marathon LPGA Classic presented by Dana live on FoxSports channel 505 from 3:00am Friday 7th August.
Click HERE for round 1 tee-times and to follow the live scoring.
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