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  • Writer's pictureMichaela Alfano

Leading Ladies: The LPGA Cognizant Founders Cup Returns

Updated: Jun 14, 2023

The Ladies Professional Golf Association’s 2023 tour is steadily moving. After a successful tournament at Upper Montclair Country Club in 2022, the tour has returned for the 2023 Cognizant Founders Cup tournament. Along with that, they inked a deal to be on the course through 2025, meaning there are two more years of world-class gold in North Jersey.

Outside Upper Montclair Country Club (Clifton, New Jersey) | Photo by Michaela Alfano

The tournament kicks off May 11 and runs through May 15 at Upper Montclair in Clifton, New Jersey, and is one of four tournaments to take place in the Garden State this summer. This tournament also happens to fall on Mother's Day weekend and is intended to empower and support women in the sports industry, with an extra shout-out to the mothers on tour.


ABOUT THE LPGA

The Ladies Professional Golf Association was founded in 1950 by 13 founders. Alice Bauer, Patty Berg, Bettye Danoff, Helen Dettweiler, Marlene Bauer Hagge, Helen Hicks, Opal Hill, Betty Jameson, Sally Sessions, Marilynn Smith, Shirley Spork, Louise Suggs, and Babe Zaharias are the original founders who wanted to bring light to the women’s golf game.


The first hole tee featuring the 13 founders of the LPGA | Photo by Michaela Alfano


The Founders Cup is in its 12th year and honors the past, present, and future of the game of golf. While the money is there, with a $3 million prize money purse — one of the largest on tour — the tournament is so much more than that. It is meant to show that the founders of this tour continue to inspire and motivate the women who are now playing at the highest level of women’s professional golf.


This is a big week for Girls Golf, a partner of the LPGA. Paige Crawford, who is getting her start on the LPGA tour at the age of 31, spoke about how important it is to have young girls, especially young Black girls, having access to golf.


“I want more Black golfers to be playing, more Black girls to be playing golf, and hopefully

that's just going to keep going,” Crawford said.




LPGA*USGA Girls Golf is the only national junior golf program that specializes in providing girl-friendly environments for juniors to learn the game of golf. They have 500 Girls Golf sites designed to help prepare girls ages 6 to 17 for a lifetime of enjoyment of the game, confidence, positive self-esteem, and also access to golf and skills. Girls Golf reaches nearly 80,000 girls a year, a far leap from when they first began with just 10 programs back in 1989.


LOOKING AT UPPER

Founded in 1901, Upper Montclair Country Club is one of only a few country clubs worldwide known to have hosted tournaments for all three professional golf tours, a major feat for the premier North Jersey golf club. After a series of renovations in the 1950s, the club went from the traditional 18-hold course to where it is now. The course is unique with three nines, equaling a 27-hole course that is long, tight, and requires all golfers to be on their A game.


One of the more challenging holes on the course, South -6 is flanked by water on both sides | Photo by Upper Montclair Country Club

UMCC General Manager Charlie Dimpfl shared the significance of the club hosting this event.


“There is no greater supporter of women’s golf and the professional game than UMCC, and we expect today’s world-class women professionals will find our golf course as challenging, yet as far as their predecessors,” Dimpfl said.


WHO TO WATCH

The tour format is a pool of 140 players with a fight to make the cut. After 72-hole stroke play, the pool is cut to the top 65. From there they play on to crown a champion.


This year, 2022 winner Mingee Lee is back and hoping to keep her title for one more year. But, in the game of golf, anything can happen.


Upon coming back to UMCC, Lee talked about the course and what to expect. With the course being long and far, gaining yardage off each tee is crucial.


“I remember it being really tight off the tee and just being a little bit off line, you're in the rough. So obviously driving it well,” she said.




Lee is one of five previous champions in the field this week with 2013 champion Stacy Lewis, 2016 winner Sei Young Kim, and two-time champion Jin Young Ko. Ko is one of only two players to have won the cup twice and with currently being second in the LPGA, eyes will most definitely be set on her.



Along with the previous winners, Nelly Korda will be one to watch. Korda is on a roll, currently ranked No. 1 in the LPGA, and is taking on her fourth leg of the tour in a row. She has earned six top-10 finishes in official events this season and is bound to do well this weekend.



No. 2 Lydia Ko, No. 4 Lilia Vu, No. 5 Atthaya Thitikul, No. 7 Lexi Thompson, and No. 10 Georgia Hall will also make their cases this weekend as they continue on tour.



Another group to look at is the moms on tour. There are seven who will be participating in this week's tournament, and with it falling on Mother’s Day weekend, it is bound to be special. Brittany Lincicome, who last year was pregnant during this cup, is ready to get back on the course and potentially notch another win on her 18-year-long career.


There are also sponsor invitees including New Jersey native Katie Lu, a college sophomore at Michigan State University. After an impressive showing, she was invited to the tournament and will arrive Wednesday night due to NCAA Regionals in Garden, Florida.


Katie Lu teeing off during a tournament with Michigan State | Photo Credit Michigan State Athletics

The other invitees are Paige Crawford and Alison Walshe. Crawford earned her entry on Monday through the John Shippen Cognizant Cup, beating last year’s champion Lakareber Abe to secure her spot. The John Shippens was created to advance opportunities for Black men and women in golf.


WHERE TO WATCH

The Tournament can be watched on various channels throughout the weekend. Below are all the places to watch with all times listed in EST.


Thursday, May 11

Golf Central Pregame

10-10:30 a.m. – Live on NBC GOLF Channel

Round 1

10:30 am-1 p.m. – Live on NBC GOLF Channel/Peacock/NBC Sports App

1 p.m.-1:30 pm – Live on Peacock/NBC Sports App


Golf Central

7-8 p.m. – Live on NBC GOLF Channel


Friday, May 12

Golf Central Pregame

10-10:30 a.m. – Live on NBC GOLF Channel


Round 2

10:30 am-1 p.m. – Live on NBC GOLF Channel/Peacock/NBC Sports App

1 p.m.-1:30 pm – Live on Peacock/NBC Sports App


Golf Central

7-8 p.m. – Live on NBC GOLF Channel


Saturday, May 13

Golf Central Pregame

12-1 p.m. – Live on NBC GOLF Channel


Round 3

4-5 p.m. – Live on Peacock/NBC Sports App

5-7 p.m. – Live on NBC GOLF Channel/Peacock/NBC Sports App


Golf Central

7-8 p.m. – Live on NBC GOLF Channel


Sunday, May 14

Golf Central Pregame

12-1 p.m. – Live on NBC GOLF Channel


Final Round

4-5 p.m. – Live on Peacock/NBC Sports App

5-7 p.m. – Live on NBC GOLF Channel/Peacock/NBC Sports App

Golf Central

7-8 p.m. – Live on NBC GOLF Channel







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