NJ moves to the major leagues with Founders Cup

It’s not a major women’s championship by title, but the Cognizant Founders Cup will be a big experience this week at Mountain Ridge Country Club in West Caldwell, NJ.

First, nine of the top 10 players in the world rankings are in the fray, including world No. 1 Nelly Korda, who won the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo, tournament’s defending champion No. 2 Jin Young Ko and No. 3. Inbee Park.

Secondly, the LPGA event will be played on an old-school, Donald Ross-designed golf course, who will be as much the star of the show this week as players playing rough and tough, wavy greens like the US Open.

Other top-10 players in the field include Sei Young Kim, Nasa Hatoka, Minji Lee, Yuka Sasso, Danielle Kang and Hyo-joo Kim. Lydia is not the only player in the top 10 to field.

Some of the other popular players on the field are Lexi Thompson, Christy Kerr, Stacy Lewis, Mel Reid, Brooke Henderson, Christina Kim and Korda’s sister Jessica.

The tournament, which begins Thursday and ends on Sunday, has been moved from Arizona to New Jersey, with sponsors raising the purse to $3 million and hoping to last longer on Mountain Ridge. Is.

Marina Alex, who is a native of Wayne, NJ and called this week “a home game,” is one of the LPGA’s top players, speaking about the region’s hopes of making the event last longer. .

“This [has] Chief [championship] Vibes,'” Alex said Wednesday. “It’s really wonderful to see this tournament going high [this] Level. I think it should mirror the Players Championship [the PGA Tour’s premier event]. It should be closest to a major, not a major.

“I think we are both taking a step in the right direction with Cognizant, being here at Mountain Ridge and this is all about the week. I know a few members here and they are very excited for us to be here I know they have been trying to organize women’s golf tournaments for a long time.

Alex, who took lessons at Mountain Ridge when she was in high school, called the tournament “an amazing opportunity for women’s golf because we haven’t left any of that behind.” [older] Golf fields.

“A lot of these classic courses are too short for men and certainly not too short for us, and they are great venues,” Alex continued. “I think we need to use that as an advantage to go back to some of these places that can host great tournaments, and we don’t really have to worry about a length element because At their longest they are still long enough for us.”

Alex didn’t predict a very low score this week, especially as recent rain downgraded the course and pushed it to play longer.

“I would be surprised to see the super-low score win this week,” she said.

“It’s definitely been playing like a major because of the tough green conditions and length,” said Nelly Korda.

“The course is in really, really good shape. … [It] Looks like a prime golf course,'” Inby Park said.

Tickets are available for the tournament with a great chance to see the world’s best players up close.

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