For the second year in a row, the LPGA Cognizant Founders Cup comes to New Jersey, hosted for the first time by Upper Montclair Country Club in Clifton, former host to the PGA Senior Tour’s NFL Golf Classic.
Starting Thursday, the 144-player field will compete for a $3 million purse, the largest of any LPGA Tour event outside of the majors and CME Group Tour Championship.
The Cognizant Founders Cup is highlighted by seven of the Rolex Rankings top 10, including World No. 1 and two-time defending champion Jin Young Ko.
Last year, Ko fired a 72-hole total of 18-under 266 — highlighted by a 5-under-par 66 for her second consecutive Cognizant Founders Cup victory.
Ko was four shots clear of runner-up Caroline Masson of Germany at last year’s venue, Mountain Ridge Country Club in West Caldwell.
New Jersey native Marina Alex, born and raised in Wayne, returns to her home state with a lot of momentum after earning a long-awaited victory at the inaugural Palos Verdes Championship in California on May 1.
The 11-year LPGA Tour veteran — now No. 28 in the Rolex Rankings — enters the week with a second career LPGA victory after defeating Ko, by a single stroke in California two Sundays ago.
A Look at the Favorites
BetMGM has Jin Young Ko as a +550 favorite, followed by Lydia Ko (+1000) and Lexi Thompson (+1100).
As of Wednesday morning, here are the top 10 favorites at DraftKings to win the tournament:
Other notables include: Jennifer Kupcho (+3500), Jersey favorite Marina Alex (+4500), Anna Nordqvist (+8000), Ally Ewing (+9000) and Stacy Lewis (+15000).
LPGA Back to New Jersey in June
The LPGA returns to the Garden State on June 6-12 as the ShopRite LPGA Classic makes its annual stop on the tour just outside Atlantic City on the Bay Course at Seaview in Galloway.
The LPGA and PGA will be heavy in action for bettors this month, as will MLB, NBA playoffs and the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Last year, the ShopRite LPGA Classic was held in October and was won by Boutier, who recorded the second LPGA Tour title of her career. Boutier, 28, from France, matched her career-low score during Sunday’s final-round with a 63 to reach 14-under par, holding off Ko, Inbee Park and Canadian Brooke Henderson.
Seaview hosted the ShopRite Classic in 1986-87, from 1998-2006 and started to host again in 2010.