The Preview: Pelican Women’s Championship

    In just its third year, the tournament has already established an important place on the schedule with the host club boasting several influential members including Augusta National Golf Club and The Masters Tournament Chairman Fred Ridley.

    Seven of the world’s top-10 players will take their place in the field ensuring another compelling week of golf as the season comes to a close at next week’s CME Group Tour Championship.

    DEFENDING CHAMPION: It was a wild finish last year with Nelly Korda making triple bogey on the 71st hole before bouncing back to win a four-way play-off.

    The then World No.1 overcame the nightmare of the 17th to make birdie at the last and finish tied with Lexi Thompson (who made bogey on each of the last two holes), Se Young Kim and Lydia Ko.

    Korda birdied the 18th again in the play-off for her fourth win of the season.

    COURSE: The Pelican Golf Club sits on the site of what was once the Donald Ross designed Belleview Biltmore Golf Club in Belleair, Florida.

    RIGHT: Nelly Korda won her fourth title of 2021 at this event last year. PHOTO: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images.

    There is little left of the original course, however, with the Beau Welling design team all but rebuilding the course ahead of a reopening in 2019.

    The Doyle family, owners of a successful local business, purchased the club in 2017 and what started as a renovation project eventually turned into a major overhaul.

    An LPGA event was awarded to the club before course works were even finished and it has proved a popular venue amongst players in its two stagings so far.

    Boasting a membership limited at 250, the club is one of the most exclusive in America which makes finding detailed information difficult.

    However, winning scores in 2020 and 2021 have been 14-under and 17-under respectively suggesting a course where birdies are available to a field of this calibre.

    PRIZEMONEY: US$2,000,000

    RELATED: So-called expert tips

    PLAYERS TO WATCH: The newly minted World No.1 Atthaya Thitikul is taking a rare week off after some disappointing golf in Asia but seven of the top-10 in the world are in the field.

    Defending champion Nelly Korda has a perfect record at Pelican with one start for one win but has played little golf in the second half of this year.

    She has played just three times since finishing runner-up at the Canadian Women’s Open in August with. T31 and two missed cuts the result.

    After such a blistering season in 2021 Korda is winless in 2022 but a return to a venue where she has previous success may just turn that around.

    After another recent win, Lydia Ko will be one of the players to watch in Florida. PHOTO: JUNG YEON-JE/AFP via Getty Images.

    However, it is the player of 2022 who will have most eyes on her as she tries to capture win number three for the year, Lydia Ko boasting an enviable record at this tournament.

    She was part of the play-off last year and finished T4 in 2020 so clearly has a liking for the course.

    Given her consistently high level this year she will undoubtedly once again be part of the conversation and it would be no surprise to see her geta cross the line.

    Korea’s Sei Young Kim has also proved a formidable presence at Pelican with a win and runner-up in her two starts.

    She has been less than her best this year but is another who will be looking to finish the season strong.

    72-HOLE RECORD: 263 (Nelly Korda, Sei Young Kim, Lexi Thompson and Lydia Ko, 2021)

    18-HOLE RECORD: 62 (Leona Maguire, 2021)

    PAST AUSSIE WINNERS: No previous Australian winner.

    AUSTRALIANS IN THE FIELD: Su Oh, Steph Kyriacou, Hannah Green, Sarah Kemp and Karis Davidson.

    Round 1: Friday (Fox Sports 505 2am – 5am)
    Round 2: Saturday (Fox Sports 505 2am – 5am)
    Round 3: Saturday (Fox Sports 577 5am – 8am)
    Round 4: Sunday (Fox Sports 577 5am – 8am)
    *AEDT, check local guides

    © Golf Australia. All rights reserved.

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