2022 Meijer LPGA Classic: Schedule, how to watch, key storylines

Nelly Korda of The United States plays her tee shot on the second hole during the final round of the 2022 U.S. Women's Open.
Getty Images

The LPGA swings into the America’s heartland this week for the eighth edition of the Meijer LPGA Classic, where nine of the top 10 players on the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings – including defending champion and world No. 2 Nelly Korda – will tee it up starting Thursday at Blythefield Country Club in Grand Rapids, Mich. This week’s purse is $2.5 million, with the winner receiving $375,000.

Korda, who won four times last season including her first major title (the 2021 KPMG Women’s PGA) plus the gold medal at the Tokyo Summer Olympics, will make her second start since returning to competition after surgery for a blot clot in her left arm. Last year, Korda finished at 25-under 263 to win by two strokes over Ireland’s Leona Maguire for her second victory of the season and fifth career LPGA title.

“There [are] a bunch of opportunities obviously to make birdies and eagles, and I feel like the scores are always super low – I think that’s fun,” said Korda, who made her return at the U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles where she finished T-8. “It’s fun to do when you go from a really hard golf course like I played at U.S. Women’s Open, where I think the low scores – or just under par was in the top 10 – and you come out here and you have to shoot a good number every single day.

“I think it’s fun to get two different aspects of the game of golf where it’s really hard and you have to push to make birdies.”

Read on to find out more about who’s playing this week at Blythefield CC, how to watch and more fun facts about the Meijer LPGA Classic.

How to watch the 2022 Meijer LPGA Classic

The Golf Channel will provide daily coverage of the Meijer LPGA Classic from Blythefield Country Club in Grand Rapids, Mich., beginning with first-round action on Thursday, June 16.

Daily Schedule (all times ET):

  • Thursday, June 16: First round, 3-6 p.m. ET, Golf Channel
  • Friday, June 17: Second round, 3-6 p.m. ET, Golf Channel
  • Saturday, June 18: Third round, 3-6 p.m. ET, Golf Channel
  • Sunday, June 19: Final round, 3-6 p.m. ET, Golf Channel

Who’s playing in the 2022 Meijer LPGA Classic?

Just one week ahead of the LPGA’s third major of the season – the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship – the 2022 Meijer LPGA Classic boasts a star-studded field featuring seven-time LPGA winner and defending champion Nelly Korda, and eight other top-10 players in the WWGR including:

  • No. 3 Minjee Lee, Australia, winner of the 2022 U.S. Women’s Open and Cognizant Founders Cup;
  • No. 4 Lydia Ko, New Zealand, 17-time LPGA winner including the 2022 Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio;
  • No. 5 Atthaya Thitikul, Thailand, who captured her first win in March at the JTBC Classic;
  • No. 6 Nasa Hataoka , Japan, six-time LPGA winner including the 2022 DIO Implant LA Open;
  • No. 7 Lexi Thompson, USA, 11-time LPGA winner;
  • No. 8 Brooke Henderson, Canada, 11-time LPGA winner including last week at the ShopRite LPGA Classic;
  • No. 9 Hyo Joo Kim, South Korea, five-time LPGA winner;
  • No. 10 Inbee Park, South Korea, 21-time LPGA winner (seven majors).

The full field includes 144 players, with a cut to the top 70 and ties after 36 holes.

All six past winners of this event are in the field (Korda, Henderson, So Yeon Ryu, Sei Young Kim, Thompson and Mirim Lee), as are nine of the 13 LPGA event winners so far this season: Ko, Leona Maguire (LPGA Drive On Championship), Thitikul, Jennifer Kupcho (Chevron Championship), Hyo Joo Kim (LOTTE Championship), Hataoka, Minjee Lee, Eun Hee Ji (Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play) and Henderson.

Past winners of the Meijer LPGA Classic

Year Winner Score Margin Runner(s)-up
 2021 Nelly Korda (USA) 25-under 263 Two strokes Leona Maguire (Ireland)
 2019 Brooke Henderson (Canada) 21-under 267 One stroke Nasa Hataoka (Japan), Su Oh (Australia), Brittany Altomare (USA), Lexi Thompson (USA)
 2018 So Yeon Ryu (South Korea) 21-under 267 Two strokes Caroline Masson (Germany)
 2017 Brooke Henderson (Canada) 21-under 263 Two strokes Michelle Wie (USA), Lexi Thompson (USA)
 2016 Sei Young Kim (South Korea) 18-under 266 Won in playoff Carlota Ciganda (Spain)
 2015 Lexi Thompson (USA) 18-under 266 One stroke Gerina Piller (USA), Lizette Salas (USA)
 2014 Mirim Lee (South Korea) 14-under 279 Won in playoff Inbee Park (South Korea)

*NOTE: The Meijer LPGA Classic was not held in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Fun facts ahead of the 2022 Meijer LPGA Classic

  • Nelly Korda is the defending champion, and in 2021 she became the only player to win this event and a major – the 2021 KPMG Women’s PGA – in the same year. No player has won this event in consecutive years.
  • Eleven-time winner Brooke Henderson, winner of last week’s ShopRite LPGA Classic, is the only two-time winner of this event, having won in 2017 and 2019. She also is the only wire-to-wire winner (no ties after any round) in tournament history, having accomplished the feat in 2019.
  • Brittany Lincicome, 31, is listed in the field and arrives off a T-6 finish at last week’s ShopRite LPGA Classic. The 17-year LPGA Tour veteran, who’s seven months pregnant with her second child, finished three strokes behind winner Henderson.
  • Every previous edition of the Meijer Classic has been won by a player that either already had won or would go on to win a major championship.
  • Founded on June 11, 1928, by financier Joseph Brewer and designed by William Langford and Theodore Moreau, Blythefield Country Club will play as par-72 course (36-36) and measures 6,556 yards on the card. The lowest round to par is 10-under-par 62, carded by Ariya Jutanugarn in the final round in 2018, Lexi Thompson in the third round in 2019, and Nelly Korda in the third round in 2021. (Note: Lee Anne Pace shot a 61 in the third round in 2017 when the course was downsized to a par 69 due to rain.)
  • The event is being played in June for the sixth consecutive year, after being held in August of 2014 and July of 2015. It has always been played at Blythefield.

Refresher: Last year at Blythefield Country Club

Last June, a 22-year-old Nelly Korda won at Blythefield for her second win of the season and the fifth of her career. She posted a 10-under 62 in the third round to take the lead and finished at 25-under 263 to beat Ireland’s Leona Maguire by two strokes.

Korda started the day with a three-stroke lead, and she held her advantage Sunday with a final-round 67, highlighted by an eagle at the par-5 14th, along with six birdies and three bogeys. Maguire pulled within a shot on the par-4 16th when she made a birdie and Korda made bogey. They both made par at 17 before Korda closed out with a birdie at 18.

The NBC golf research team contributed to this report.

Justine Wong-Orantes’ atypical path to becoming one of the best liberos in the world

Justine Wong-Orantes hits the ball in the women's semi-final volleyball match between USA and Serbia during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Getty Images

It’s been 20 years since the same nation held both the Olympic and world volleyball titles at the same time, but libero Justine Wong-Orantes is looking to help lead Team USA accomplish that very feat at the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championships in the Netherlands and Poland. Competition began on Friday and the U.S. is currently 2-0 after group play wins against Kazakhstan and Canada.

“We’re trying to win, for sure,” Wong-Orantes told On Her Turf. “I think, especially with the new turn of the program and the new year of the quad, we just have a really nice blend of veterans and also newcomers on the team.”

The 14-woman roster for Team USA, which is ranked No. 1 in the world and won its first Olympic title last summer, features six players from that gold-medal-winning team. And while Wong-Orantes is among the 2021 U.S. Olympic team veterans, she’s still a relative newcomer to international play.

The Southern California native enjoyed a notable junior career – she was 12 when she became the youngest female to ever earn an AAA rating in beach volleyball – and was a standout collegian at Nebraska, where she was a member of the 2015 NCAA championship team. But Wong-Orantes followed a different path upon graduation, initially choosing not to go overseas to play professionally.

While she was first selected for the U.S. national team in 2016 and played a handful of international tournaments in the following years, it wasn’t until she started playing professionally in Germany in 2019 that she saw the potential to elevate her position on the roster. In particular, the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Olympics gave her an additional year of overseas experience, which she calls “a blessing in disguise.”

“I just felt like I was still in that developmental stage,” she said. “And a whole year postponement allowed me to go overseas and really get all the touches, all the repetitions, and just kind of expose myself to international volleyball another year. So I was, in hindsight, pretty thankful for that COVID season because I got an extra year under my belt, and I think that just gave me a ton of confidence.”

Ahead of the Olympics, Wong-Orantes earned “best libero” honors at the 2021 FIVB Volleyball National League in Rimini, Italy, which helped secure her spot on the Olympic roster. In Tokyo, she followed up with another standout performance and was named best libero of the Olympic tournament.

As to how the Wong-Orantes transformed into one of the world’s top liberos, she points to her background as a beach volleyball player. She began competing at age 8, and her first partner was Sara Hughes, a star on the AVP Pro Tour who also won two NCAA titles with USC.

“I think having that background and just the court awareness that beach volleyball forces you to have allowed me to really have a good read on the game,” said Wong-Orantes. “I think that’s what makes a great libero is just reading and always being reactive towards the ball.”

Wong-Orantes also credits the assistance of mental coach Sue Enquist, a former UCLA softball coach and U.S. national team coach, who now helps teams work on their culture and relationships. Enquist began working with the U.S. volleyball team during the pandemic and has continued in her role ever since.

“We just worked on a lot of stuff within ourselves, within our program, how to communicate with each other off the court, and I think that honestly propelled us into such a high, high level with how we worked with each other, and then that transferred onto the court,” explained Wong-Orantes, who noted the team has Enquist on speed dial while at the World Championship. “I really commend Sue. I just really give a lot of praise to her because I think our culture was never bad, but I think [she] just transformed into a different level.”

2022-09-26 - FIVB Volleyball Womens World Championship 2022 - Day 4
ARNHEM, NETHERLANDS – Justine Wong-Orantes (far right) poses for a photo with her U.S. teammates after defeating Canada at the 2022 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship on September 26, 2022. (Photo by Rene Nijhuis/Orange Pictures/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

Wong-Orantes said she and her U.S. teammates are on their toes for the world championships, which features twice as many teams (24) as the Olympics and a “more grueling” format.

“It’s going to be a long tournament, and I think we’re really going to need all 14 of us that are here. I’m pretty certain that, at any given moment, someone’s going to be called on and someone’s going to need to step up in big moments.”

2022 Ascendant LPGA: How to watch, who’s playing in Texas’s annual signature event

Atthaya Thitikul of Thailand hits her second shot on the 16th hole during the final round of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.
Getty Images

The LPGA make its annual stop in The Colony, Texas, this week for the 10th edition of the Ascendant LPGA benefiting Volunteers of America, where Thailand’s 19-year-old rookie Atthaya Thitikul comes in hot off her second career win and second playoff victory this season at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship.

Leading the 132-player field at Old American Golf Club, located at Golf Clubs at The Tribute, are Texas residents and past champions Cheyenne Knight and Angela Stanford. They’ll compete for the $1.7 million prize purse alongside major champions Nelly KordaLydia Ko and Brooke Henderson. Last year’s Ascendant LPGA champion, world No. 1 Jin Young Ko, will not be defending her title after announcing earlier this month she would be missing several weeks due to a nagging wrist injury.

This past weekend in Arkansas, Thitikul took the lead with a 10-under 61 in the second round and shot 68 in the final round to finish regulation tied with Danielle Kang at 17-under 196. Thitikul, who won the JTBC Classic in March in a two-hole playoff vs. Nanna Koerstz Madsen, drained an 8-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole to secure the win over Kang.

How to watch the 2022 Ascendant LPGA 

Coverage of the 2022 Ascendant LPGA from Old American Golf Club in The Colony, Texas, can be found on Golf Channel, with streaming options available any time on any mobile device and online through NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.

  • Thursday, Sept. 29: 12:30-3:30 p.m. ET, Golf Channel
  • Friday, Sept. 30: 12:30-3:30 p.m. ET, Golf Channel
  • Saturday, Oct. 1: 1-4 p.m. ET, Golf Channel
  • Sunday, Oct. 2: 1-4 p.m. ET, Golf Channel

Who’s playing in the 2022 Ascendant LPGA

Six of the top 10 players in the Rolex World Rankings are among the field in Texas, including:

  • No. 2 Nelly Korda
  • No. 4 Lydia Ko
  • No. 5 Atthaya Thitikul
  • No. 6 Brooke Henderson
  • No. 7 Lexi Thompson
  • No. 10 Nasa Hataoka

A number of local Texans also are in the tournament, headlined by past champions, Angela Stanford (2020) and Cheyenne Knight (2019), and two junior champions of the Volunteers of America Classic Girls Championship, who are playing on a sponsor exemption: Yunxuan (Michelle) Zhang (2022), a freshman at SMU, and Avery Zweig (2021), a high school sophomore from McKinney, Texas.

Past five champions of The Ascendant LPGA

2021 Jin Young Ko (South Korea) 16-under 268 1 stroke Matilda Castren
2020 Angela Stanford (USA) 7-under 277 2 strokes So Yeon Ryu, Inbee Park, Yealimi Noh
2019 Cheyenne Knight (USA) 18-under 266 2 strokes Brittany Altomare, Jaye Marie Green
2018 Sung Hyun Park (South Korea) 11-under 131 1 stroke Lindy Duncan
2017 Haru Nomura (Japan) 3-under 281 Playoff Christie Kerr

Last time at The Ascendant LPGA

South Korea’s Jin Young Ko carded a final-round 69 to maintain her 54-hole lead at Old American Golf Club and held on for a one stroke win at the 2021 Volunteers of America Classic, her eighth career LPGA tour title. Ko finished regulation at 16-under 268, edging Finland’s Matilda Castren by one stroke.

It kicked off a five-win season for Ko, who had just lost her No. 1 ranking to Nelly Korda the week prior after holding the top spot for 100 straight weeks. She regained the No. 1 ranking back in October 2021, after earning her fourth win in seven starts at the BMW Ladies Championship.

More about Old American Golf Club

Opened in 2010, the Old American Golf Club is one of two clubs at The Tribute, a lakefront resort community on Lewisville Lake in The Colony, Texas. Designed by Tripp Davis and 12-time PGA Tour winner Justin Leonard, Old American plays as a Par 71 and stretches to 6,475 yards on the tournament scorecard.