Washington (AFP) – Second-ranked defending champion Park Sung-hyun and World number three Lexi Thompson, the 2017 winner, will set the pace when the LPGA season resumes Thursday at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The third edition of the Indy Women in Tech Championship features a field of 132 players at Brickyard Crossing, a par-72 layout that includes four holes on the infield of the famed 2.5-mile (4km) oval where France’s Simon Pagenaud won this year’s Indianapolis 500 in May.
After a three-week break for the Solheim Cup, in which Europe defeated the United States in Scotland, the world’s top women’s golfers return to America this week and next week in Texas, where Park is also defending champion, before the LPGA moves to Asia for events in Shanghai, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.
England’s Bronte Law, whose singles win helped propel Europe’s victory, wants a strong showing this week as the push begins to the season-ending CME Championship in November at Naples, Florida.
“I would really love to have another win under my belt,” Law said. “I think obviously I’m playing good golf. I’m confident right now. So it seems like it’s not that far a stretch of the imagination to do that. I would really like to put in a good performance.”
Park sank a 15-foot birdie putt on last year’s first playoff hole to defeat Lizette Salas for the victory. Salas fired a course-record 62 in last year’s opening round, matching the low 18-hole score of her career.
Brickyard Crossing typically has holes 7-10 inside the Speedway oval but the course will be rerouted so the last four holes are the ones inside the landmark racetrack.
LPGA winners follow the traditions of Indy 500 race winners, kissing the yard of original track bricks at the finish line, pouring a bottle of milk over her head and riding a victory lap around the oval.
Park, chasing top-ranked compatriot Ko Jin-young in the world rankings, seeks her third title of the season after the HSBC Women’s World Championship in March at Singapore and the Northwest Arkansas Championship in June. She has finished in the top 20 in each of her past seven starts.
US star Thompson, coming off the Solheim Cup and an exhibition match in South Korea, won the Indy event in its 2017 debut, when it was only 54 holes. She took her only LPGA title of the year, and the 11th of her career, at June’s ShopRite Classic near Atlantic City, New Jersey.