Tournament Preview: Kapolei Golf Club hosts first LPGA event in 20 years with LOTTE Championship

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The LPGA Tour says aloha this week for the ninth edition of the LOTTE Championship in Kapolei.

Usually held at Ko Olina Golf Club, the tournament will be played out at Kapolei Golf Club, where the Tour returns for the first time since the club hosted the Ladies Hawaiian Open from 1996-2001.

Back to defend her 2018 and 2019 title is Rolex Rankings No. 6 Brooke Henderson. After being tied for the 54-hole lead with Rolex Rankings No. 4 Nelly Korda, Henderson mastered the windy conditions at Ko Olina Golf Club and came out on top with the eighth win of her career after a final-round 70 secured her the $300,000 winner’s check. Henderson was unable to defend her championship last year, as the 2020 tournament was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Henderson and Korda join seven other of the world’s top-10 players in the Rolex Rankings.

Four of the past five 2021 season winners also make-up the 144-player field, including Kia Classic winner Inbee Park. Along with Henderson, three other past LOTTE Championship ready themselves for Kapolei: Cristie Kerr (2017), Minjee Lee (2016) and Sei Young Kim (2015). Maui-born Kyung Kim is among the 20 different 2020/21 rookies also looking for their shot at the LOTTE Championship title.

2021 LPGA LOTTE CHAMPIONSHIP:

Wednesday-Saturday // Kapolei Golf Club

TV Coverage: Golf Channel, 1:00pm-5:00pm HST (Wednesday-Saturday)

Purse: $2 million ($300,000 champion’s prize)

The Aon Risk Reward Challenge hole this week will offer players a variety of challenges, largely based on how the LPGA Rules Officials set up the course each day. When playing back, players will likely face a three-shot hole –ideally players will lay-up 60 to 80 yards from the green and avoid the danger zones short of that.

While playing from 482 yards, most players will make the decision to go for the green in two. Missing the fairway could end in a lay-up but for those who drive long, they have the advantage depending on their lie in the rough. At either distance, an ideal drive is on the right side of the fairway as it sets them up with the best angle to the green as taking a tee shot to the left creates a tougher second shot because of the trees guarding the green.

For more information on this week’s Aon Risk Reward Challenge hole and the season-long competition, click here: https://www.lpga.com/statistics/aon-risk-reward-challenge

The 2021 season-long Race to the CME Globe continues in Hawaii at the LOTTE Championship. After the season’s first major at the ANA Inspiration, Nelly Korda remains atop the standings as the first player to surpass 1,000 points (1,133). After a solo-second finish in Rancho Mirage, Lydia Ko sits in second place with 859 points. With her win first-career title at the ANA Inspiration, Thailand’s Patty Tavatanakit shot up the rankings from 17th place to third with 852 points. Lexi Thompson sits in fourth with 811.700 points, and Jessica Korda is in fifth with 638.700 points.

The Race to the CME Globe is a season-long points competition which LPGA Tour Members accumulate points in every official LPGA tournament to gain entry into the season-ending tournament, CME Group Tour Championship. The player who wins the CME Group Tour Championship is named the “Race to the CME Globe Champion.”

Beginning in 2019, players started earning points at each official LPGA Tour event throughout the season leading up to the CME Group Tour Championship. The top-60 points earners and ties then earn a spot in the CME Group Tour Championship with the entire field competing for a $5 million purse highlighted by a $1.5 million winner’s check, the largest single prize in the history of women’s golf.

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