Kroger Queen City Championship presented by P&G
Kenwood Country Club (Kendale Course) | Cincinnati, Ohio | Sept. 8-11, 2022
Sept. 10, 2022
Course Setup: 36-36—72; 6,357 yards (Scoring Average: R1: 71.807, R2: 71.223, R3: 71.679)
Weather: Partly to mostly cloudy skies with southeasterly winds gusting at 16-18 mph at times and temperatures topping out at 79F
ALLY EWING PULLS AHEAD WITH 18 HOLES REMAINING AT KROGER QUEEN CITY CHAMPIONSHIP PRESENTED BY P&G
Just 115 miles from Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, the inaugural Kroger Queen City Championship presented by P&G has turned into a horse race. Two-time LPGA Tour winner Ally Ewing leads the pack at -16 after firing a 5-under 67 in round three, highlighted by six birdies, three of which came in her first four holes. Her three-day total of 200 ties Ewing’s career-low on the LPGA Tour – she last shot 200 at the 2018 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G – and it’s only the second 54-hole lead of her tenure on Tour. The last time Ewing slept on the lead was the 2020 LPGA Drive On Championship Reynolds Lake Oconee, and considering she became a Rolex First-Time Winner on her 28th birthday that week in Georgia, the odds are leaning in her favor.
“It was exciting to get out to a good start,” said Ewing, who made back-to-back birdies on holes one and two with another coming on the par-5 fourth. “My mindset going into today was to play within myself and go out, execute shots, and I did that really well. Unfortunate bogey on 18. It’s a tough hole and didn’t get a ball up and down. Really happy with how I played and how I handled myself, and obviously in a good position for tomorrow.”
Ewing is looking for her first win since last year’s 2021 Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play presented by MGM Rewards and third career LPGA Tour title. If she’s able to get the job done on Sunday at Kenwood Country Club, it would be her third consecutive season with at least one win. But the seven-year veteran knows better than to count her eggs before they hatch and she isn’t planning on getting ahead of herself.
“I’ve had my ups and downs this year just kind of mentally trying to gain that confidence back in every aspect, whether it’s playing solid, putting a score together, rolling in putts,” said Ewing. “The last few weeks I’ve prepared mentally as well as physically for being in this position and knowing that I’m more than capable of being here. I’ve proved it, and I’ve put some good scores together to put myself in a good position for tomorrow. But tomorrow is going to be a new day, there are new challenges.”
Challenges that include chaser Maria Fassi, who sits one back at -15 after matching Ewing’s 5-under 67 on Moving Day. The 24-year-old made four birdies and one bogey to turn in 33, and after carding five straight pars from Nos. 10-14, Fassi holed out a flop-shot on the par-5 15th for an eagle, a highlight that elicited an enthusiastic “Vamos!” from the fiery Mexican. This is the third time in a stroke-play event that Fassi has been within five of the lead entering the final round, and with all of the struggles she’s faced this year, a good result is much-needed.
“We were saying that it was honestly the worst spot I could have left myself for my third shot, and my only thought was try to hit it as high as you can. Of course the result was extra, but I hit a fantastic golf shot and very happy that it went in and I could get some momentum for the last few holes,” said Fassi. “I’ve said it with my team and the people around me know that this has been a tough year. But the golf was there. I haven’t seen the results yet, so I’m super excited to see what tomorrow holds, and keep doing what we’re doing of having a lot of fun on the golf course with Gary. I’m excited that we get 18 more holes to do it again.”
Sitting in solo third is Xiyu Lin, after a slow-and-steady 2-under 70 on Saturday. Lin carded fourteen pars, three birdies and one bogey in round three and is looking forward to chasing once again tomorrow. Individually, she’s been within five of the lead three other times this season, most recently at last week’s Dana Open presented by Marathon, and while she’s happy to be knocking on the door once again, Lin is ready to push it open and become the ninth Rolex First-Time Winner of 2022.
“Tomorrow I guess I will be in the last group again, and this course you really just to have get it going,” Lin said. “You have to have a couple putts drop or you have to knock a couple close one, just like Ally today. I have nothing to lose and already have three good days, so I’m just going to keep being positive and keep chasing.”
A quartet of players round out the top-five at -12, including last week’s runner-up Megan Khang and 12-time LPGA Tour winner Ariya Jutanugarn. Korean major champion A Lim Kim sits in solo eighth at -11 with 2022 Epson Tour winner Andrea Lee in ninth at -10. A trio of players are tied for 10th at -9, most notably Canadian Brooke Henderson, who celebrated her 25th birthday on Saturday with a 3-under 69.
WITH A WIN
Ally Ewing would be the fifth different American to win during the 2022 season, joining Danielle Kang, Jennifer Kupcho, Marina Alex and Lizette Salas
Ewing would earn her third career LPGA Tour victory and first since the 2021 Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play presented by MGM Rewards
Maria Fassi would be the third different Mexican to win on the LPGA Tour, joining Lorena Ochoa and Gaby Lopez; she would be the second consecutive winner from Mexico this season after Lopez won last week’s Dana Open presented by Marathon
Xiyu Lin would become just the second Chinese winner on the LPGA Tour, joining Shanshan Feng who won 10 times during her career
Lin would pass the $3 million mark in career earnings with the $262,500 winner’s check; her earnings would total $3,049,314
Lin, Fassi, Sarah Kemp and Megan Khang would be the ninth Rolex First-Time Winner of the 2022 season
- It would tie for third-highest number of First-Time winners in a season, and would be only the fifth time in the Tour’s history where there were at least nine different First-Time Winners in one year
Khang earnings for the 2022 season would total over $1 million with the $262,500 winner’s check; it would be the first time in Khang’s career that she has earned $1 million or more in a season
Kempwould become the oldest winner of the 2022 LPGA Tour season at 36 years, 9 months and 4 days
Kemp would become the 12th different Tour winner from Australia and second this season, joining Minjee Lee
Ariya Jutanugarn would earn her 13th career LPGA Tour victory and first win since the 2021 Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, a team event that Ariya won partnered with her sister Moriya Jutanugarn
Jeongeun Lee6 would earn her second LPGA Tour victory and first since the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open presented by ProMedica; she would become the 30th different player from the Republic of Korea to have two or more wins on the LPGA Tour, led by Se Ri Pak (25)
MEGAN KHANG CHASING FIRST CAREER VICTORY AT KROGER QUEEN CITY CHAMPIONSHIP
Last week at the Dana Open presented by Marathon, Megan Khang rallied from the fifth-to-last Sunday grouping to go toe-to-toe with eventual champion Gaby Lopez. Khang missed out at the chance to break into the winner’s circle by a single shot after a fabulous final-round 64, but managed to finish in solo second, a career-best result. Now heading into Sunday at the Kroger Queen City Championship presented by P&G, Khang has a shot at redemption. A third-round 69 has set the American in the penultimate grouping in Cincinnati at -12 overall, four shots back of leader and two-time Solheim Cup teammate Ally Ewing at -16.
“Today I ended up, what, 3-under total, and I feel like I played like bad honestly. So it’s pretty cool when you have a round where you don’t feel like you played your best and you still manage to shoot 3-under.
Again, I wasn’t too happy with my ball striking today, but managed to, again, have some good putts,” said Khang of her round on Saturday that included five birdies and two bogeys. “I mean, my speed wasn’t the greatest today, too. I left a few putts short where I definitely could have made if I just gave them the right speed. But in golf there is should have and could haves, and that’s what tomorrow is for.”
In 2022, there have been four instances of come-from-behind wins at four strokes or greater, including in Lopez’s third-career victory last week. Ayaka Furue (Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open) and Brooke Henderson (ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer) also did the same, with Atthaya Thitikul coming back from six strokes down at the JTBC Classic presented by Barbasol for the most all season. With potential weather pushing tee times earlier and off both Nos. 1 and 10, Khang, who said she’ll be channeling the same “chill” energy on the course as she usually does, will look to make the most of chasing down the leaders ahead.
“I feel like this course suits my game pretty well. Hopefully the weather stays away, but, I mean, pressure is going to be on,” said Khang. “I’m definitely not in the last group, so I feel like you can kind of think there is going to be a lot more pressure on them, and hopefully just go out there and maybe post a number to give them something to work for.”
MARIA FASSI ON THE INCLINE OF GOLF’S ROLLER COASTER
The game is not a straight-line progression. Just because your scores are better now than they were a year ago does not guarantee that the trend will continue. Maria Fassi knows that better than most. Highly touted when she turned pro in 2019 after winning the individual NCAA Championship and finishing runner up in the first Augusta National Women’s Amateur, Fassi was a can’t-miss superstar, the kind of long-hitting athlete who should win early and often on the LPGA Tour.
A tick more than three years later, the 24-year-old from Mexico knows how fickle the game can be. So far in 2022, Fassi has missed more cuts than she has made – five in 13 starts – and her only top-10 came in the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational with her friend and mentor Stacy Lewis by her side.
That could change on Sunday in Cincinnati as Fassi finds herself on the incline of golf’s rollercoaster, a shot off the lead going into the final round of the Kroger Queen City Championship presented by P&G. She got there by hitting her wedges close and taking advantage of her length on the soft fairways at Kenwood Country Club.
For more, please visit https://www.lpga.com/news/2022/fassi-on-the-incline-of-golfs-rollercoaster.
Rolex Rankings No. 52, Ally Ewing (1, 69-64-67)
- She hit 13 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens, with 25 putts
- Ewing’s 64 ties her second-lowest 18-hole score; it is her lowest round score since the 2021 Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open, where she shot a 63 in the final round
- Her 133 ties her career-low 36-hole score; she’s recorded it three previous times, including most recently at the 2022 Cognizant Founders Cup
- This is Ewing’s 17th event of the 2022 season; her season-best result is a tie for 11th at the Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio
- This is her seventh season on Tour; she’s a two-time winner, most recently at the 2021 Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play
- Ewing is a two-time U.S. Solheim Cup Team member (2019, 2021)
- She finished T22 at Final Stage in 2015 to first earn Tour status for the 2016 season
- As an amateur, she played on the 2014 U.S. Curtis Cup and was a two-time First-Team All-American while at Mississippi State
Rolex Rankings No. 175, Maria Fassi (2, 68-66-67)
- She hit 12 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens with 28 putts
- Fassi’s 201 ties the second-lowest 54-hole score of her career which she last recorded at the 2021 ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer
- Sunday will be the first time that Fassi has played in the final group in her LPGA Tour career
- This is her 14th event of the 2022 season; her best finish is a solo third that came at the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational when she was partnered with Stacy Lewis
- This is Fassi’s fourth season on the LPGA Tour; she’s made $609,417 in career earnings and has notched three top-10 finishes
- Fassi represented Mexico at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics where she finished T23
- She won 2019 NCAA Women’s Championship Division I Individual Title and was the runner-up at the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur that same year
- She was a two-time ANNIKA Award winner during her collegiate career at the University of Arkansas (2018 & 2019)
Rolex Rankings No. 34, Xiyu Lin (3, 64-68-70)
- She hit 13 of 14 fairways and 13 of 18 greens with 23 putts
- Lin’s 64 is one off her career-low 18-hole score (63), which she recorded in the third round of the LPGA Drive On Championship at Crown Colony
- This is her lowest first-round score since a 64 at the Honda LPGA Thailand
- This is Lin’s 19th event of 2022; she’s recorded three top-10 finishes, including a season- and career-best runner-up result at the Honda LPGA Thailand
- This is her ninth season on the LPGA Tour; she’s made $2,786,814 in career earnings and has notched 15 top-10 finishes
- Lin is a two-time Olympian representing the People’s Republic of China; she finished 38th at the 2016 Rio Olympics and T9 at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
- She was on Team China at the 2016 International Crown
- Lin is a two-time Ladies European Tour winner, winning the 2014 and 2015 Sanya Ladies Open, co-sanctioned by the LET, Ladies Asian Golf Tour and the CLPGA
- Along with the Sanya Ladies Open wins, she’s won five times on the CLPGA
SOCIAL MEDIA: #DRIVEON
Tournament: @QueenCityLPGA (Twitter), @queencitylpga (Instagram), @QueenCityChampionship (Facebook); #queencitylpga
LPGA Tour: @LPGA and @LPGAMedia (Twitter), @lpga_tour (Instagram)
TV TIMES (all times Eastern on Golf Channel)
Sunday, September 11 – 12:30-3 p.m.
Sunday, September 11 – 12-3 p.m.
ESPN+ FEATURED GROUP STREAMING TIMES
7:52 a.m. ET, Group 5 – Paula Reto (-4)/Pernilla Lingberg (-4)/Jessica Korda (-4)
8:03 a.m. ET, Group 7 – Gaby Lopez (-5)/Lauren Stephenson (-5)/Casey Danielson (-4)
9:20 a.m. ET, Group 22* – Paula Creamer (+1)/Muni He (+1)/Brooke Matthews (+1)
*off No. 10
COURTESY LPGA TOUR COMMUNICATIONS