With the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship now in the rear vision mirror and next week’s lucrative US Women’s Open in New Jersey on the horizon, three of the game’s top eight players, Ariya Jutanugarn, Brooke Henderson and In Gee Chun will add strength and credibility to an event that has not been blessed with the best position in the schedule.
It will be the LPGA Tour’s first stop in the Green Bay area and its first event in the state of Wisconsin since the 2012 US Women’s Open at Blackwolf Run in Kohler.
Built on the Oneida Reservation and owned by the Oneida Nation, the course is a public facility and is being used for an event of this nature for the very first occasion, making a significant transition into high-level tournament golf.
Jutanugarn surprised many with a very disappointing performance at last week’s Women’s PGA, missing her first cut in 18 months but is expected to bounce back this week.
Henderson has found form after a comparatively slow start to the season with a recent win and a runner-up finish last week behind Danielle Kang. This will be the Canadian’s 17th event of the season and shows her determination to play the Thornberry Creek Classic rather than prepare elsewhere for the US Women’s’s Open.
“Being a new event, I was excited to come and see what it was all about,” said Henderson in her Tuesday press conference.
“I like to play a lot in the summer and keep my game going. I won a couple weeks ago, I did take a week off, but I was pretty busy doing other commitments, and then went straight into the major, played well, and so I'm hoping that I can play well this week and continue that on over the next few weeks and especially at the U.S. Open next week.
“I know some players like to take the week off and practice a lot, maybe rest a little bit more than they do during a tournament week, but for me I'm going to try and take it a little bit easier but also keep my game really sharp.”
In Gee Chun is one of the game’s most consistent players but hasn't been rewarded with a victory this year.
The South Korean has been four times runner-up this season including at two of her last four LPGA starts.
Perth’s Minjee Lee is another whose game is built around consistency with six top-10 finishes from 13 LPGA starts in 2017, and she is searching for her fourth LPGA Tour title and first since October last year.
Lee will be joined by fellow Australians Sarah Jane Smith, Karrie Webb, Katherine Kirk and Sarah Kemp. Smith finished as the leading Australian last week in Illinois, continuing her good season in doing so.