Top Storylines from the North Texas Shootout
NO. 1 KO LOOKING FOR BACK-TO-BACK WINS
Two days after her 18th birthday, Lydia Ko supplied herself with a belated birthday present by defeating Morgan
Pressel on the second hole of the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic Presented by CTBC for her seventh career LPGA Tour
win. By comparison, Tiger Woods took 51 starts before his seventh win, and Ko’s done it nearly five years earlier than
him. It’s a level of precociousness golf’s yet to witness before as Ko’s become the youngest man or woman to ever
reach the No. 1 ranking.
Ko’s in the field this week and looking for her third title of 2015. In her first eight starts of 2015, Ko’s posted two
victories and five additional top-10s.
Five of Ko’s seven career LPGA Tour victories have been come-from-behind on Sunday, and her win Sunday followed
that course. Ko made birdie at the last to tie Morgan Pressel. Then again Ko made birdie at the last on the second
playoff hole to defend her title in San Francisco.
TEXAN BACK TO DEFEND
Stacy Lewis, a Houston native, entered the final round here a year ago tied for the lead with Meena Lee. But the
Texan throttled the field here on Sunday with a 7-under 64 on Sunday to take a six-shot victory. The win proved a
launching point as Lewis went on to win two more times over the next two months for arguably the most dominant
stretch of golf of 2014 - a seven-event stretch that saw her win three times, finish runner-up and post two additional
top-10s. Lewis used that two month stretch to propel her to a year in which she became the first American since
Betsy King to sweep the Rolex Player of the Year, Vare Trophy and money list titles.
Lewis arrives back to Texas enduring a frustrating year by her standards. Among the first eight events, Lewis has
finished in the top-10 six times, and is currently ranked third on the money list, third in the Race to the CME Globe,
and fourth in the Rolex Player of the Year standings. A successful measure by anyone’s standards but Lewis’. She
judges her year strictly by one number - one. And she’s yet to finish in that position at any of her eight starts and will
surely be looking to correct that this week in her bid to defend.
PRESSEL BACK TO FORM
Morgan Pressel was rightfully disappointed Sunday after Lydia Ko beat her in the second playoff hole. Pressel had
two opportunities to seal the tournament up - a 15-foot birdie putt on her 72nd hole and a 10-foot birdie - and
didn’t convert either, leaving the door open for Ko. But Pressel’s recent form of four consecutive top-20 finishes is
a major cause for encouragement. Since going back to her old coach, Ron Stockton, the week before the Founders
Cup, Pressel’s seen major strides. She finished in solo third at the ANA Inspiration - the season’s first major - and
nearly got her first victory in over six years last week before finishing runner-up.
“My last, what, four tournaments, I definitely feel like there are so many positives,” Pressel said. “I mean, if you
would’ve told me that I would finish basically second - I guess I finished third at ANA - in two tournaments out of my
next five before I left for Phoenix, I don’t think I would’ve believed you.”
Pressel said she basically felt lost in her swing after returning from Singapore in March and knew she had to make a
change. So her and Stockton have worked on getting the club more out in front of her on the way back and in turn on
a better plane on the way back, and she’s seen major results so far.
“I mean, my swing was in a pretty bad place, so to think that mentally and physically I’ve been able to put myself in the
hunt and then be comfortable being in the hunt as well...,” Pressel said. “Just looking forward to getting back to work,
playing next week, and then into the big spring/summer schedule we have. It’s very strong, a lot of good tournaments,
so just shows that what I’m doing is working and I just got to keep plugging along.”
DO THE SHUFFLE
This week will be the last week of competition before the Tour’s reshuffle. Texas Tech University alum, Kim Kaufman,
knows first-hand how important playing well this week can affect players’ status. For Kaufman, her performance in the
2014 North Texas Shootout helped elevate her status and position on the priority list.
The former Red Raider finished the tournament tied for fourth at 8-under-par. Her $60,653 paycheck was enough to
boost her up on the Official Money List just in time to improve her status on the priority list, thus getting her into more
tournaments during the remaining 2014 season. Kaufman was able to keep her momentum going throughout the
2014 LPGA season. In addition to her top five finish here in Irving, she had two additional top ten finishes (T5 at the
Canadian Pacific Women’s Open and T9 at Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic).
Currently, Kaufman sits 60th on the 2015 Official Money List. If players are looking to make a last minute push, now is
the time. Going low at the Volunteers of America North Texas Shootout this week could mean more tournaments for
the remaining 2015 and more opportunity to make a place for themselves on the LPGA Tour.
LPGA FINALIST FOR THE SPORTS LEAGUE OF THE YEAR
The LPGA was recently nominated as one of five finalists for Sports League of the Year by the Sports Business Journal,
joining the NBA, Nascar, MLS, and Big East. Sports Business Journal will award the winner May 20 at the Eighth Annual
Sports Business Awards ceremony in New York.
NUMBERS TO KNOW
3 - Number of runner-ups for Stacy Lewis to start 2015.
5 - Five of Lydia Ko’s seven wins have been come-from-behind victories on Sunday.
6 - The number of strokes Stacy Lewis won by last year
7 - Number of career wins Lydia Ko has at the age of 18.
11 - 11 Texas natives are in the field this week - Brittany Lang, Stacy Lewis, Candie Kung, Lisa McCloskey, Gerina Piller,
Angela Stanford, Jackie Stoelting, Casey Grice, Marijosse Navarro, Amber Wang, Maddie McCrary