It’s a week of head-to-head showdowns as the third edition of the Bank of Hope LPGA Match-Play descends on Shadow Creek Golf Course in North Las Vegas (Nevada). South Korea’s Eun-Hee Ji arrives as the defending champion, and she’s looking for a rebound performance after missing the cut in her last start at the Cognizant Founders Cup earlier in May.
Ji — winner of six LPGA titles including the 2009 U.S. Women’s Open — has made eight starts this season, with her best finish being a T-11 at the HSBC Women’s World Championship in March. Last year at Shadow Creek, Ji beat Japan’s Ayaka Furue 3 and 2 in the championship match to secure her first title in three years.
This year’s field — which is competing for a $1.5 million prize purse, with $225,000 going to the winner — features LPGA winners from the 2021 and 2022 seasons, plus the top 25 tour members on the priority list who have not won in the past two years, and two sponsor invites. The remainder of the field is filled off the 2023 CME Group standings. The inaugural tournament in 2021 at Shadow Creek was won by Ally Ewing, who beat Sophia Popov in the final, 2 and 1.
The event marks the first LPGA tournament to being played following the death of Marlene Bauer Hagge — the last surviving LPGA founder — who died on May 16 at age 89. She was one of 13 founders of the LPGA in 1950.
How to watch the 2023 LPGA Match-Play
You can watch the 2023 Bank of Hope LPGA Match-play on Golf Channel, Peacock, NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. Check out the complete TV and streaming schedule:
- Wednesday, May 23: 1:30-4:30 p.m. ET, Golf Channel and Peacock
- Thursday, May 24: 7-10 p.m. ET, Golf Channel and Peacock
- Friday, May 25: 7-10 p.m. ET, Golf Channel and Peacock
- Saturday, May 26: 5:30-8:30 p.m. ET, Golf Channel and Peacock
- Sunday, May 27: 1:30-4 p.m. (streaming only), Peacock; 6:30-9:30 p.m. ET, Golf Channel and Peacock
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Who’s playing in the 2023 LPGA Match-Play?
The 64-player field features two of the top 10 players on the Rolex Rankings — No. 4 Lilia Vu and No. 8 Brooke Henderson — along with three winners on the LPGA Tour in 2023 (Vu, Henderson and Celine Boutier). Four LPGA rookies — Jaravee Boonchant, Celine Borge, Lucy Li and Hae Ran Ryu — will make their event debut, while both past champions (Ally Ewing and Eun-Hee Ji) are also slated to compete.
Additionally, the field features three players with Nevada connections — Danielle Kang, Alison Lee and Jenny Shin — all of whom are state residents, plus two sponsor exemptions in Muni He and Yaeeun Hong. Major champions in the field include Henderson, Ji, Kang and Vu, plus A Lim Kim, Sei Young Kim, Jennifer Kupcho, Jeongeun Lee6, Stacy Lewis and Anna Nordqvist.
What’s the format for the 2023 LPGA Match-Play?
The field of 64 players will be divided into 16 groups of four players each and will open with three days of group play. For group play (also called “round robin”), players will face off against each of the other members of their group in 18-hole matches, with wins being worth one point and ties worth a half-point. The player with the most points will advanced to the Round of 16. In the case of a tie, a stroke-play, hole-by-hole playoff will determine the group winner.
After three days of round-robin play, the 16 group winners will play a single-elimination tournament to determine the champion. The format is similar to the PGA Tour’s WGC-Dell Match Play Championship, but unlike the men’s match-play event, where the field is determined by the Official World Golf Ranking, the LPGA event is open to tour members only and the field is not determined by the Rolex Rankings. However, players will be seeded 1-64 based on their Rolex Ranking, with group-play pods structured according to the following table:
The 16 group winners will advance to a single-elimination tournament on the weekend. The knockout rounds begin Saturday with the Round of 16 and quarterfinal round. The semifinals are scheduled for Sunday morning, with the finals and consolation matches set for Sunday afternoon.
Click here for the full list of players by pod, and click here for the full bracket.
Past winners of the LPGA Match-Play
|2022||Eun-Hee Ji||3 & 2||Ayaka Furue||Shadow Creek|
|2021||Ally Ewing||2 & 1||Sophia Popov||Shadow Creek|
Last year at the LPGA Match-Play
Last year at Shadow Creek, South Korea’s Eun-hee Ji won for her first victory on tour in more than three years. A then-36-year-old Ji beat a then-21-year-old Ayaka Furue of Japan, 3 and 2, in the final to become at the LPGA’s oldest winner from South Korea. During the championship match, Ji took a 1-up lead on the ninth hole after holing out for eagle from 92 yards and followed up by also winning the 10th hole. Furue cut into the lead by winning the 11th hole before Ji won No. 12 with a par. Ji and Furue halved the next three holes, and Ji won the match with a 10-foot par putt on the 16th hole.
Ji played 111 holes during the week, winning two matches and tying one during group play, then sweeping all four matches in the knockout portion of the event.
More about Shadow Creek
Located just outside Las Vegas, the ultra-exclusive Shadow Creek was designed in 1990 by acclaimed course designer Tom Fazio and Las Vegas hotel and real-estate magnate Steve Wynn. First built as a private club for Wynn to entertain clients and celebrity friends, Shadow Creek allows an extremely limited number of public guests.
Par for this weeks tournament is 72 — 37-35 — and the course has a scorecard yardage of 6,765 yards. Of note, Hole Nos. 9 and 18 will be swapped from regular play for the tournament. The course has hosted other high-profile professional events including the PGA Tour’s 2020 CJ Cup (won by Jason Kokrak) and the 2018 made-for-TV event, “The Match” — an 18-hole, $9 million, winner-take-all match-play competition between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Mickelson won the event with a birdie on the fourth extra hole.
Prior to the return of the match-play event in 2021, the LPGA last played in Las Vegas in 2006 when Lorena Ochoa won the LPGA Takefuji Classic at Las Vegas Country Club. That tournament ran from 2000 through 2006. Additionally, the LPGA has played several events in Las Vegas from 1971-1999 including the Desert Inn Classic, Las Vegas LPGA and the season-ending LPGA Tour Championship (played from 1996-1999 at Desert Inn Golf Club).
The NBC Sports golf research team contributed to this report.
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