Pro Golf Weekly previews the LPGA Tour stop at Highland Meadows Golf Club in this week’s 2018 Marathon Classic Primer.
The LPGA Tour tees it up this week at the aptly titled Marathon Classic as the LPGA Tour wraps up its five-event stretch through the heartland of America (Michigan, Arkansas, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Ohio).
- 6/17: Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give – So Yeon Ryu
- 6/24: Walmart NW Arkansas Championship – Nasa Hataoka
- 7/1: KPMG Women’s PGA Championship – Sung Hyun Park
- 7/8: Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic – Sei Young Kim
- 7/15: Marathon Classic
The Marathon Classic is the season’s 20th tournament, and will once again be contested at at Highland Meadows Golf Club which will play to a par-71, measuring just over 6,500 yards for the championship.
In-Kyung Kim returns to defend her 2017 title, alongside 2017 runner-up Lexi Thompson, and top-ranked stars Brooke Henderson, In Gee Chun, and last week’s record-setter Sei Young Kim. Hometown hero Stacy Lewis will also headline, as she makes her final start of the season.
Tournament: Marathon Classic
Dates: July 12-15, 2018
Where: Sylvania, Ohio
Title Sponsor: Marathon Oil
Course: Highland Meadows Golf Club
Distance: par-71, 6,512 yards
Architect: Sandy Alves (1925)
Format: 72-holes, stroke play, 36-hole cut
Winning Share: $225,000
Defending Champion: In-Kyung Kim
Marquee Players: Lexi Thompson, Brittany Lincicome, Sei Young Kim, Stacy Lewis, Paula Creamer, Brooke Henderson, Annie Park, Mo Martin, Charley Hull, Angel Yin, Cheyenne Woods, Chella Choi
TV AND ONLINE
The Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning and O-I was first held in 1984 at Glengarry Country Club (presently Stone Oak Country Club), and remained until 1988 when it moved to its current venue, Highland Meadows Golf Club.
The tournament reportedly began as a dream of Toledo native, Judd Silverman. In 1982, then working as a PGA Tour caddy, Silverman came up with the idea of bringing an LPGA tournament to the Toledo region.
After getting approval from the Tour, and working out the logistics, Silverman, himself, secured the tournament’s first 12 founding sponsors, which covered the inaugural tournament’s full purse (then just $175,000).
Actor Jamie Farr agreed to lend his name to the event and brought his celebrity friends to the tournament, while the Toledo area McDonald’s franchises underwrote the operating expenses with the agreement that a portion of the money raised would benefit the Ronald McDonald House.
Since 1984, the tournament has donated millions of dollars to local children’s charities.
As one of the longest running events on the Tour’s schedule, winners of the Marathon Classic have included legends such as Laura Davies, Jane Geddes, Patty Sheehan, Meg Mallon, Paula Creamer, Annika Sorenstam, and five-time winner Se Ri Park.
HISTORY: RECENT WINNERS
2017: In-Kyung Kim (-21)
2016: Lydia Ko (-14)
2015: Chella Choi (-14)
2014: Lydia Ko (-15)
2013: Beatriz Recari (-17)
2012: So Yeon Ryu (-20)
HISTORY: TOURNAMENT RECORDS
5 – Se Ri Park (1998-99, 2001, 2003, 2007)
2 – Penny Hammond (1985, 1989)
2 – Kelly Robbins (1994, 1997)
2 – Lydia Ko (2014, 2016)
261 (−23) – Se Ri Park (1998)
Despite a leaderboard that was filled with Americans for much of the first three rounds, it was once again a South Korean who took home the LPGA Tour’s trophy.
A week after Sung Hyun Park won the U.S. Women’s Open, In-Kyung Kim fired a bogey-free 8-under 63 at Highland Meadows Golf Club on Sunday to win the Marathon Classic by four shots.
Kim, who won the ShopRite LPGA Classic in June, joined her countrywoman So Yeon Ryu (ANA Inspiration, Walmart NW Arkansas Championship) as the only two-time winners on tour this season.
“I think today the pin positions were a little bit comfortable for me,” said Kim, who now has six LPGA Tour wins. “I’ve been hitting little draws this week, and when the pin is tucked on the left side, I was having a hard time, but I think just knowing what I’m doing kind of helped me to plan out the round.”
Four shots back, and alone in second, was Lexi Thompson, who shot a final round 5-under 66.
FINAL TOP 5
1. In-Kyung Kim -21
2. Lexi Thompson -17
3. Gerina Piller -15
3. Pei-Yun Chien -15
5. Sandra Changkija -14
The 144-player field in Ohio includes five of the world’s top-20 ranked players, headlined by top-ranked American Lexi Thompson (No. 5), defending champion In-Kyung Kim (No. 7), Brooke Henderson (No. 16), In Gee Chun (No. 19), and Sei Young Kim (No. 20).
The field also includes three additional past Marathon Classic champions in Paula Creamer (2008), Beatriz Recari (2013), and Chella Choi (2015).
The field is also highlighted by name players such as Cheyenne Woods, Mo Martin, Angela Stanford, Brittany Lincicome, Emma Talley, Austin Ernst, and 12-time LPGA winner Stacy Lewis, who will be making her final start before taking maternity leave.
The favorite is Thompson at 5-1 who enters off four-straight top 15s, including three top 10s. The next top pick, at 7-1, is red-hot Sei Young Kim, who shattered all the records in Wisconsin last week en route to her first win of 2018.
Henderson is offered at 14-1. The 20-year old Canadian enters off a T23 at the Thornberry, and before that a T6 at the KPMG. Defending champion I.K. Kim is 14-1. She will be teeing it up for the first time since a T8 at the KPMG Women’s PGA.