LPGA News: 2022 ISPS Handa World Invitational presented by AVIV Clinics – Tuesday Pre-Tournament Notes

ISPS Handa World Invitational presented by AVIV Clinics

Galgorm Castle, Massereene Golf Club | Ballymena, Northern Ireland | Aug. 11-14, 2022

Tuesday Pre-Tournament Notes

August 9, 2022

LPGA TOUR BACK IN NORTHERN IRELAND FOR CO-SANCTIONED EVENT WITH DP WORLD, LADIES EUROPEAN TOURS

This week, the LPGA Tour returns to Northern Ireland for the second edition of the ISPS Handa World Invitational presented by AVIV Clinics alongside the Ladies European Tour and DP World Tour. In 2021, it was the first tri-sanctioned event in the northern hemisphere between the LPGA, LET and DPWT. There are 132 men and 132 women competing in two separate, 72-hole stroke-play tournaments happening on the same courses, at the same time. Competitors will play one round on each of the first two days at Galgorm Castle Golf Club and Massereene Golf Club. After 36 holes, the field will be cut to the top-60 players and ties for both men and women, and a second cut will be made for both men and women after 54 holes to the top 35 and ties.

Defending champion Pajaree Anannarukarn returns to the site of her maiden LPGA Tour title, where she defeated Emma Talley with a par on the second playoff hole. Anannarukarn rallied after recording a triple bogey early in the final day on No. 6, but grinded to record a final-round 70 to force extra holes and become the season’s then fifth Rolex First-Time Winner of 2021.

Highlights of the women’s draw include Leona Maguire, the 2021 European Solheim Cup star who became the first player from Ireland to win on the LPGA Tour earlier this season at the LPGA Drive On Championship at Crown Colony. She’s joined by LPGA Hall of Fame member Laura Davies as well as major champion Georgia Hall, who finished in a tie for 14th in last year’s event. Four-time LET winner Maja Stark, who leads in the Race to Costa del Sol, along with fellow countrywoman Linn Grant, the first woman to win a DP World Tour event at the co-sanctioned Volvo Car Scandinavian Mixed, will also tee it up this week. The sponsor invites include two-time Epson Tour winner Lucy Li and Northern Ireland’s own Olivia Mehaffey.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE ISPS HANDA WORLD INVITATIONAL

  • This is the second edition of the ISPS Handa World Invitational; this is the first year with presenting sponsor AVIV Clinics
  • In 2019, the ISPS Handa World Invitational presented by Modest! Golf Management was hosted by Galgorm Castle Golf Club and Massereene Golf Club as an event on the Challenge Tour with a women’s invitational featuring primarily LET Members. Jack Senior captured the men’s title in a playoff and Northern Ireland native Stephanie Meadow won the women’s draw
  • Before this event in 2021, the last time the LPGA Tour competed in Northern Ireland was October 1984 for the Smirnoff Ladies Irish Open at Clandeboye Golf Club, where Kathy Whitworth won and collected a winner’s share of $22,500
  • The total purse is $3 million USD, $1.5 million for men and $1.5 million for women
  • Title sponsor ISPS Handa was founded by Dr. Haruhisa Handa in 2006 to further transformative power of sport across the world. The organization also headlines the ISPS Handa Vic Open which was contested in 2019 and 2020 as a jointly sanctionedevent bythe LPGA Tour,ALPG, European Tour and ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasiain Barwon Heads, Victoria, Australia
  • Georgia Hall won the 2016 ISPS Handa Vic Open when it was known as the Oates Victorian Open and hosted by the ALPG Tour (now Women’s Professional Golfers’ Association of Australasia)
  • This year’s sponsor exemptions are Lucy Li, Olivia Mehaffey, Billie-Jo Smith, and Aideen Walsh

EMMA TALLEY OUT FOR REDEMPTION AT GALGORM

“I’m just proud of myself for putting myself in this situation.”

Though disappointed in the eventual result, Emma Talley had nothing to be ashamed of in her performance at the 2021 ISPS Handa World Invitational presented by AVIV Clinics. The American, who had held part of the 36- and 54-hole co-leads last year, found herself in the first playoff of her Tour career with Pajaree Anannarukarn by Sunday’s end. After failing to make par on the second playoff hole, the par-5 18th, Talley finished the week with a new career-best runner-up showing. She said the sting of the playoff definitely sat with her for a bit, but the experience and result helped Talley retain her LPGA Tour card for this season. And even with memories of last year ever reminiscent, her return to Galgorm Castle is one of joy.

“I am staying at the same place I did last year. I got to know the workers and the staff there, and I didn’t know if they would recognize me, and yesterday when I walked in they were like, She’s back. So that was kind of cool, like to just see everyone there,” said Talley, whose season-best finish is a tie for ninth at the Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play. “The golf course looks incredible. Weather is a lot better this year. Very excited to be back. Hopefully treats me well.”

Talley enters Northern Ireland with a little difference in preparation. Because of a flight delay, she said she’s had to knock off some valuable prep time in a week with at least one run at two difference courses. Though she’s coming off five frustrating missed cuts in the last six events, including one last week at the AIG Women’s Open, Talley is hopefully the confidence she gained from 2021’s event carries through this week.

“Golf is so a game of inches, you know, and I think any week anybody can win,” said Talley. “I said, my game feels really good at the moment, so you just got to be confident and go out there and have fun and trust in all the practice that you’ve done all year and every week.

“Sometimes you forget about that. I think we just got to have faith in ourselves and faith in our practice and process, and the rest will take care of itself.”

LUCY LI READY TO TAKE ADVANTAGE ANOTHER LPGA TOUR EXPERIENCE WITH ISPS HANDA WI SPONSOR EXEMPTION

Lucy Li has never been to Northern Ireland. Only to Scotland, “which is not the same thing.” But when she found out she’d be teeing it up at the ISPS Handa World Invitational presented by AVIV Clinics as a sponsor’s exemption, she was more than excited. Li has only played in two events in 2022, including the Honda LPGA Thailand where she finished in a tie for 12th, a career-best result on Tour. The 19-year-old though has been spectacular this season on the Epson Tour, as she’s hoping to earn her LPGA Tour card for 2023 for the first time through the Ascensus Race for the Card.

“Definitely felt good to see the results coming because I knew my game has been there for a while, so being able to put it together for two tournaments and get a couple of wins definitely felt really good,” said Li. “It was a great confidence booster for me.”

Li is currently first on the list thanks to four top-10 results in 11 events this season on the Epson Tour, in addition to two wins at the Carolina Golf Classic presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Caroline and the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship at the end of July. She ranks in the top 10 in many statistical categories on the Epson Tour, including first in scoring average (69.39), rounds under par (29), birdies (156) and rounds in the 60s (20). She’s second in greens in regulation (76.54%) and putts per GIR (1.75) in what is looking to be a career year for the young superstar, who burst onto the scene as a 12-year-old at the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open presented by ProMedica in Pinehurst and joined the Epson Tour in 2020.

“I think it’s just important to kind of keep doing what I’m doing, even if the stage is a little bit different,” said Li. “I think that’s really important, just to say in the moment and trust my game.”

KPMG PRE-TOURNAMENT PERFORMANCE INSIGHTS – ISPS HANDA WORLD INVITATIONAL

KPMG Insight of the Week

In her victory at this tournament a year ago, Pajaree Anannarukarn gained nearly half of her strokes against the field on the greens (48%):

RACE TO THE CME GLOBE UPDATE

The Race to the CME Globe continues through the 21st event of the 2022 LPGA Tour season, the ISPS Handa World Invitational. Following the AIG Women’s Open, Minjee Lee continues to hold onto the top spot in the standings with 2,502.953 points. Brooke Henderson’s tie for seventh at Muirfield has her in second with 2,293.458, with fellow major champions Jennifer Kupcho in third (2,030.65 points) and Lydia Ko, who’s earned nine top-10 finishes this season, in fourth (1,989.55 points). In Gee Chun moved into the top 10 from No. 12 to 5th after her runner-up performance at the season’s final major with 1,783.303 points.

Ashleigh Buhai’s maiden major title at the Open moved her from 50th to 17th, the biggest jump of the week on the points list. Stephanie Kyriacou, who finished T7 in Scotland, also moved 24 spots up to No. 68 from 84th.

The Race to the CME Globe is a season-long points competition with LPGA Tour Members accumulating points in every official LPGA tournament to qualify for 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 $7 million purse highlighted by a $2 million winner’s check, the largest single prize in the history of women’s golf.

RACE TO COSTA DEL SOL UPDATE

The 2022 season-long Race to Costa del Sol continues through the ISPS Handa World Invitational, a co-sanctioned event between the LPGA and Ladies European Tours. Below are the top 10 in the standings following the season’s final major championship, the AIG Women’s Open.

The Costa del Sol Tourist Board became a partner of the LET in 2020 by sponsoring the Order of Merit, which is now called the Race to Costa del Sol and rewards the achievements of the players, recognizing the hard work, grit and determination that it takes to achieve long-term goals.

CHAMPIONSHIP FORMAT

132 men and 132 women; two separate 72-hole stroke play tournaments (one for men and one for women); cut to top 60 and ties after 36 holes, with a second cut to the top 35 and ties after 54 holes in each of the tournaments. For the first two rounds, all players will play one round on each course.

SOCIAL MEDIA: #DRIVEON

Tournament: @World_Inv_Golf, @modestgolf, @galgormresort, @GalgormCastle, @massereenegc and @ISPSHanda (Twitter); @world_inv_golf, @isps_handa, @modestgolfofficial (IG), #WorldInvitational

LPGA: @LPGA, @LPGAMedia (Twitter), @lpga_tour (Instagram)

TV TIMES (all times Eastern on Golf Channel)

Thursday, Aug. 11 – 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 12 – 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 13 – 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 14 – 6:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

STREAMING TIMES (all times Eastern on the NBC Sports App and golfchannel.com)

Thursday, Aug. 11 – 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 12 – 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Saturday, Aug. 13 – 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Sunday, Aug. 14 – 6:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

WHITELINE PAR AND YARDAGE (subject to change)

Galgorm Castle Golf Club: 37-36–73; 6,621 Yards

Massereene Golf Club: 36-36–72; 6,517 yards

COURTESY LPGA TOUR COMMUNICATIONS

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