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Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The LPGA Heads Back to Portland

The LPGA Cambia Portland Classic is the last LPGA or LET event before the Solheim Cup starts on September 12. That makes this a very important event for several reasons.

Defending champion Marina Alex

Obviously, this is the last chance for the players on both teams to get some competitive golf under their belts before the teams hit the course in Scotland. And many players from both teams are taking advantage of that -- unless I've heard wrong, seven players from each team are in Portland, with US Captain Juli Inkster teeing it up as well.

Perhaps more importantly, this is the last chance for teammates from both sides to create some bonding experiences on and around a golf course before they actually get to the Cup. This is probably a bit more important for Juli's team since it was only finalized on Monday, but the European team hasn't had much time since their captain Catriona Matthew made her final four picks either.

At this point in the process, every extra moment together will probably help everyone involved. But I think the US has the most to gain this week as both captains picks (Morgan Pressel and Stacy Lewis) are playing, as is Juli and several other Solheim vets who didn't make the team, like Paula Creamer and Cristie Kerr. With so many rookies on the US team, this last minute "cram session" can only help.

That doesn't mean the Euros won't benefit as well. Suzanne Pettersen is in the field, as are some of the other veterans like Carlotta Ciganda, Anna Nordqvist and Azahara Munoz. That will certainly benefit rookies Anne Van Dam and Celine Boutier who are also in Portland.

So I'll be interested to hear what goes on around the tournament. Will there be "test pairings" during the practice rounds or maybe team dinners? We can already see that some of the teammates have pairings for the first couple of rounds.

But as far as the event itself goes, I think preoccupation with the Solheim Cup will keep many players from focusing fully on this tournament. My money's on Jin Young Ko to maybe pick up her fifth win of the year.

GC's coverage begins Thursday at 6:30pm ET. (Yes, that's live coverage because -- for my worldwide viewers who may not know -- Portland is on the West Coast of the US, a three-hour time difference. GC's coverage will begin at 3:30pm their time.) Maybe we'll get a preview of each team's form before the actual Cup begins!

1 comment:

  1. Nelly Korda's Solheim Cup prep involves a trip East - to Korea, where one of her sponsors, Hanwha Financial, invited her into the field of this week's KLPGA major, the Hanwha Classic. The only non-Asian in the field has so far posted rounds of 72-68-68 to go into Sunday leading the tournament by 2 shots at -8.