The Ladies are coming to town! The Palos Verdes Championship is in the rearview mirror as Marina Alex took home the trophy with a one-shot victory over World Number 1 ranked Jin Young Ko. The LPGA Tour now heads east, returning to northern New Jersey for the 2022 Cognizant Founders Cup which will be held at Upper Montclair Country Club in Clifton, from Thursday, May 12 through Sunday May 15.
Jin Young, the current two-time Founders Cup Champion, will be going for three in a row after running away from the field in 2021 with a first round 63 at Mountain Ridge Country Club. She will also arrive with an impressive list of newly minted LPGA Tour records, displaying a level of dominance not seen since Annika Sorenstam reigned supreme. Included among them are most consecutive holes without a bogie (114-eclipsing even Tiger’s PGA Tour record of 110), consecutive rounds under par (34), and consecutive rounds in the 60’s (16). Her record for consecutive rounds in the 60’s is even more amazing when you consider that she had previously tied the mark of 14 before starting her new record-breaking streak.
In addition to defending champion Jin Young Ko, the Founders Cup field includes 7 of the Top 10 ladies in the World Golf Rankings. Stars include Kelly Korda (No. 2 in the World), Lydia Ko (No. 3), Minjee Lee (No. 4), Atthaya Thitikul (No. 5), Nasa Hataoka (No. 6) and Lexi Thompson (No. 7). Past winners of the Founders Cup who will be teeing it up include Karrie Webb (2011/2014), Stacy Lewis (2013), Kim Sei Young (2016) and Anna Nordqvist (2017). You will also have the opportunity to see 5-time major champion and LPGA Hall of Famer, Laura Davies.
With a field comprised of the most talented lady golfers in the world, this year’s event promises superb golf and the perfect setting to enjoy it.
The LPGA Founders Cup was established in 2011 to celebrate the history of ladies’ professional golf and the thirteen trail blazing women who founded the Tour in 1950. The inaugural event was the Tampa Women’s Open held at Palma Ceia Country Club in Tampa, FL, won by Polly Riley, a distinguished amateur player who won more than 100 tournaments in her career. Babe Zaharias, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame and among the greatest athletes in the history of sport, won 8 of the 15 events that were held that first year (including all three major championships). Patty Berg would go on to record 60 wins and 15 major championships, while Louise Suggs won 61 times with 11 major championships.
In the 60’s and 70’s, renowned players including Mickey Wright (82 wins/13 Majors), Kathy Whitworth (88 wins/6 majors) and Betsy Rawls (55 wins/8 majors) continued to pave the way for the current LPGA stars. With grace, charm, and a beautiful swing, Nancy Lopez (48 wins/3 majors) carried the torch through the 80’s until Annika burst on the scene (72 wins/10 majors), raising the bar yet again while setting the stage for the magnificent players we see today.
Past Founders Cup champions include Karrie Webb (a two-time winner), Stacy Lewis, Anna Nordqvist and Inbee Park.
Upper Montclair Country Club
Founded in 1901 and located in Clifton, NJ, UMCC has hosted tournaments for the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, and The Champions Tour. The course was originally designed by A. W. Tillinghast, with major re-design and renovations by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. in the 1950’s. The PGA Tour came to Upper Montclair in the 60’s with The Thunderbird Classic, followed by the Dow Jones Classic in 1970—with Arnold Palmer and Gene Littler included among the champions. In the late 70’s and 80‘s, Upper Montclair hosted the LPGA Coca-Cola and Chrysler Plymouth Classics, with legendary names like Nancy Lopez and Pat Bradley etched on the championship trophies. From 1993 through 2002, UMCC hosted the Champions Tour with the Cadillac NFL Classic, and winners include Hall-of Famers Lee Trevino (twice) and Raymond Floyd. Most recently, the Sybase Classic was held at Upper Montclair (2007-2009), won twice by one of the most talented and popular players in LPGA Tour history—Lorena Ochoa.
Upper Montclair Country Club offers 3 nine-hole courses (West, East and South), and the Founders Cup will be played on the West and South courses. From the Championship tees, the course rating is 73.5 with a Slope is 140.
What to Expect
In addition to great golf, the ladies on the LPGA Tour go out of their way to make you feel welcome. There are times at PGA Tour and Champions Tour events when it can feel as though you are intruding, an irritating distraction. No so at an LPGA Tour event, where you’ll find a warmth and friendliness that feels more like a family outing than a golf tournament. And when you watch the ladies produce masterful shots with more than just brute power, your game will benefit greatly as well.