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In The Winners Circle - Jin Young Ko

Hometown/Resides: Seoul, Republic of Korea/Gyeonggi-do, Republic of Korea

Birthdate: July 7, 1995; currently 23 years, 8 months and 17 days

Qualified for LPGA Tour: Earned LPGA Tour Membership by virtue of her win at the 2017 LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship

Turned Professional/Rookie Year: 2013/2018


VICTORIES

LPGA: Third career victory 

PREVIOUS LPGA WINS: 2018 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, 2017 LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship (as a non-Member)


RACE TO THE CME GLOBE

With her win, Ko earns 500 points and is projected to move from seventh to second in the Race to the CME Globe with 1,032 points

U.S. Air Force Veteran Edward Britton of Arizona Earns PGA Master Professional Designation

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – The PGA of America has announced that United States Air Force Veteran Edward Britton (retired Lt. Col./F-16 Instructor Pilot)—a PGA Teaching Professional at the PGA TOUR Superstore in Tucson, Arizona—has earned PGA Master Professional status, the highest educational designation that can be obtained by a PGA Member.

During his time in the military, Britton had the privilege of leading Arnold Palmer on a training mission in an F-16. Palmer’s influence proved integral, as it led Britton to his own pursuit of PGA Membership.

There are currently 371 PGA Professionals that have earned PGA Master Professional status. Britton, a PGA Member for 24 years, received his PGA Master Professional certification in Teaching and Coaching.

The PGA Master Professional Program (MPP 2.0) is available to any of the PGA of America’s nearly 29,000 PGA Professionals who have achieved advanced certification through the PGA Certified Professional Program, which was launched in 2004. The curriculum is comprised of an extensive project based on the specific certification previously acquired by the PGA Professional. Upon approval of the project and successful completion of a presentation, a PGA Member will earn the prestigious PGA Master Professional status. To be eligible, the program requires a minimum of eight years of PGA Membership.

After a distinguished 20-year career in the U.S. Air Force—where he served as a pilot and trained service members on how to fly everything from helicopters to the F-16 Fighting Falcon—Britton hung up his pilot boots in 1991, and put on his golf shoes, dedicating himself to the game.

Jessica Korda, Mo Martin, Jeongeun Lee6
7:44 a.m. – 10th Tee

Jessica Korda makes her return to competitive golf and 2019 debut at this week’s Bank of Hope Founders Cup. The 14th ranked player in the world was forced to withdraw from the season’s earlier events, and miss defending her title in Thailand, as she continued to rehab an ongoing forearm injury. This week, Korda makes her eighth start in Phoenix where she has three top 10 finishes. She will play the opening rounds alongside major champion Mo Martin and rookie Jeongeun Lee6. This week, Martin is making her fourth start of the year and looks to record her first top 10 of the season in the desert, where she is competing for the eighth time. Lee6 is off to a hot start in her rookie season. The Korean hasn’t finished outside the top 11 in her first two starts of the year.


Laura Davies, Carlota Ciganda, Inbee Park
7:55 a.m. – 10th Tee

Hall of Famer Laura Davies made a run at history last year in Phoenix, recording a runner-up finish at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup. While she struggled to record another top 10 on Tour in 2018, she dominated the senior ranks with victories at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open and Senior LPGA Championship. This week, Davies is making her third start of the year. She missed the cut in her prior two starts in Australia. Davies will play alongside Carlota Ciganda and defending champion Inbee Park. Ciganda is making her fourth start of the year and looks to continue the momentum she found in recent weeks with a third-place finish in Thailand. Park is making just her second start of the year after finishing 14th in her 2019 debut in Thailand. The Hall of Famer and putting savant was disappointed with her putting in her first start of the year after averaging 31 putts for the week.

Korda Aims to Continue Early Success and More from Phoenix

Nelly Korda comes into the 2019 Bank of Hope Founders Cup with four top 10s this season and a win at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. Her keys to early success? Keeping it simple.

“I've been doing quite well, so I'm just going to take it week by week, shot by shot,” said the third-year LPGA player. “That's something my coach and I have really worked on. He keeps reminding me of that all the time.”

Though keeping her goals a secret, Korda has had an impressive start to the 2019 season. She currently ranks No. 8 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings and tops the LPGA Tour’s Official Money List, Rolex Player of the Year and Race to the CME Globe standings. This will be the third time the 20-year-old competes at the Founders Cup, with her best finish of T19 coming in 2017. Korda hopes with her mind set on the fundamentals of her game, this year she will walk away with a better result.

“Every week I go into a tournament wanting to win, so obviously that's the No. 1 goal,” said Korda. “I just want to stay consistent and have fun this week.”

Creamer Withdraws from Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Tuesday, Paula Creamer withdrew from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup. Creamer posted a brief statement on Instagram announcing her decision to withdraw from the event. She didn’t share a reason for missing this week’s tournament, but was optimistic about making a quick return to the Tour.

"Unfortunately I have had to withdraw from The Founders Tournament this week," Creamer said on social media. "I am optimistic that I will return to competitive play soon. I want to thank everyone for all the words of encouragement and support."

Twelve months ago, Creamer made her return to competitive golf at the Founders Cup after undergoing wrist surgery during the off-season. In 2018, the 10-time LPGA champion struggled to record a single top 10 on the year. The veteran has made three starts in 2019, her best finish coming in a T68 at the Honda LPGA Thailand.


A Morning with The Founders at The Founders Cup

The stories were endless and hilarious.

A group of a dozen media members covering the Bank of Hope Founders Cup were invited to a breakfast with LPGA Founders Marilynn Smith and Shirley Spork, and LPGA Girls Golf founder Sandy LaBauve.

Smith and Spork are still so sharp, even at 88 and 90 years old respectively. LaBauve is a major reason why LPGA*USGA Girls Golf has grown leaps and bounds.

As I walked in, Smith gave me her patented fist-pound to say hello and signed her “Have Clubs, Will Travel” book. She wrote “Fore! Bret, your friend in golf Marilynn Smith”.

Spork said hello and handed me her book “From Green to Tee."

Then, we were off.

They explained the beginnings. There were 13 tournaments and they played for a total of $50,000. How times have changed, right? The LPGA is playing 34 times in 2018 for a total purse of over $68 million.

Marilynn told a classic story about the early days and how they used to promote the tournaments. One time, they went to a boxing match in the town they played. Smith is queasy when it comes to blood, but Spork doesn’t mind. So, after the fight, she went into the ring and grabbed the microphone to talk about the U.S. Open that was coming to Prince George’s Golf Course.

Another time, Spork went to a circus and got in a car with midgets in order to spread the word about the LPGA.

“We ran meetings, wrote thank you letters, carried a typewriter and had our own committees to run the tournaments,” explained Smith. “We would go to a pay phone and call the AP and other media outlets and hope would get in the newspaper.”

“We blew our own horn,” said Spork.

Things to Know About the LPGA Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Players to Watch

Sung Hyun Park – The Rolex Rankings world No. 1 player headlines the field at this week’s Bank of Hope Founders Cup. Park reclaimed the top spot following her win at the HSBC Women’s World Championship. She returns to action after the Tour’s two-week break, looking to continue the momentum she found in Singapore where she captured her sixth LPGA Tour title.

Ariya Jutanugarn – The world No. 2 in the Rolex Rankings is off to a slow start in 2019 with just one top-10 in four starts. Jutanugarn’s record at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup mirrors the consistency she shows week in and week out – she hasn’t missed a cut in her previous four appearances and has three top-17 results including runner-up finishes in 2018 and 2017.

Minjee Lee – After missing the cut in the ISPS Handa Vic Open, the world No. 3 has rallied with two runner-up finishes. Lee, who finished the 2018 season with a career-best 13 top 10s, including two victories, will be eager to earn her first win in 2019.

Inbee Park Fist Pump After Sealing Founders Cup TitleBack to Defend
Defending champion Inbee Park returns to Arizona looking to successfully defend her title and pick up her first win on Tour since capturing the Bank of Hope Founders Cup title last season. Park carded a bogey-free 5-under, 67 to claim her 19th LPGA Tour victory. She finished the week at 19-under, five shots clear of second.

Also in the field this week are former champions Anna Nordqvist (2017), Sei Young Kim (2016), Hyo Joo Kim (2015), Stacy Lewis (2013) and Yani Tseng (2012).


Quotable

“The reason that I am competing and playing is because I want to win and because I want to contend in golf tournaments. This week definitely proved to me that I can win,” Inbee Park said last year after picking up her 19th career victory.


Tirlogy Golf Club at Vistancia Demo Day | March 23, 2019

Come Out to Trilogy Golf Club at Vistancia for Demo Day on Saturday, March 23rd!

Saturday, March 23rd | 9:00am to 1:00pm

Prime golf season is here, and it's time to update your gear to improve your scores!

Join us on Saturday, March 23rd from 9:00am to 1:00pm on the Trilogy Golf Club at Vistancia Practice Facility, for a Demo Day with PING and TaylorMade Golf!

Come check out the latest and greatest technology, and let the professionals make the recommendations to improve your game. Both Vistancia's professional team members and manufacturer representatives will be here to answer your questions and show you the new equipment.

If you'd like to schedule a fitting with the TaylorMade reps, you can do so online, here.

We'll see you on March 23rd at Trilogy!