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Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic preview: Hall, Jutanugarn and Park commit

By Murray Gleffe


HOBART – Thornberry Creek at Oneida became part of history after Sei Young Kim hit a record 31-under par (257 score) at the Ladies Professional Golf Association Thornberry Creek Classic tournament in 2018.

One year later, the record still stands for the lowest 72-hole aggregate total in LPGA history.

The World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Florida, has four signed scorecards and a glove at the museum displaying her remarkable feat.

There will still be low scores in 2019, but don’t expect a repeat performance.

“Pretty amazing to witness last year,” said Thornberry Creek head golf professional Justin Nishimoto. “In my opinion, I don’t think the score will be duplicated. It shows you how good these pros are when given the right conditions. The drainage is superb at this facility. This year, the one thing I’ve heard is the rough will be up a bit, and the ball is settling down, making for a more difficult recovery shot. We’ll see how the scores reflect with the change.”

Rolex Ranking No. 8 and two-time major winner Ariya Jutanugarn, and reigning Women’s British Open champion Georgia Hall are the latest players to commit to the tournament.

Joining them in the field will be Kim, Katherine Kirk (2017 winner), No. 2 Sung Hyun Park, No. 5 Nasa Hataoka, Amy Yang, Carlota Ciganda and China’s Shanshan Feng.

“I really enjoyed everything about this tournament last year, from the food to the course to the fans,” Hall said. “It was all so welcoming and made me feel extremely comfortable out there. It really is one of my favorite events in my schedule. The golf course is in great condition, and it gives you a real confidence boost to see yourself shoot scores in the 60s. Without a doubt, it gave me the confidence to go out there and perform in the weeks that followed.”

This year’s ticket holder will not only get to walk the grounds with the best players in the world but get to go into the clubhouse as well.

“We want our fans to be able to come into the clubhouse whenever they choose to relax and enjoy great food and a beverage,” said Nishimoto. “We have over 30 big screen televisions to watch golf during tournament week.”

The 14th hole tent will continue to serve all former and active veterans as a place to relax and watch golf.

In addition, the 18th hole will serve the Sky Women Suites, which will accommodate those who want to experience more than the daily ticket.

The Traveling Chef of 335, Chris Mangless, will be catering the food in the suites this year.

Active duty, retired, reserve military and veterans, as well as tribal members of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin will receive complimentary grounds access.

Oneida Tribal members will also have access to the Oneida Pavilion, which is located close to the 18th green, while Oneida elder will also benefit from a special viewing area inside the Clubhouse.

Certain holes are always pivotal down the stretch in winning a golf tournament.

At this level, most golfers take advantage of the par-5 holes.

However, the difference in making a par at the most difficult holes, are just as important.

“Our opening hole and closing hole play very difficult,” Nishimoto said. “Both have a semi-blind tee shot, and putting the ball in play is important. They have ranked in the top five for difficulty the first two years of the tournament and have added pressure to the player to start well and close strong.”

With two Symetra Tour tournaments within a two-hour drive of Green Bay, a Senior Tour event in Madison and the Ryder Cup coming to Whistling Straits in 2020, Wisconsin is becoming a worldwide destination to play golf.

“We’re very excited to be able to host an LPGA event with so many worthy golf courses, not only in this area but in the state,” said Nishimoto. “It’s a tremendous time of year to share our product. I grew up here – to see the passion golfers have is very rewarding.”

Oneida Nation has made a tremendous impact on this tournament with their main sponsorship.

They showcase their culture with various sculptures and statues when you walk through the main gate and end the tournament with a dance to bless the people that attended.

“We should be very proud of the contributions they have made to get a tournament of this magnitude to the area,” Nishimoto added. “Being half Oneida myself gives me great pride in serving my community and having 144 of the very best tee it up on our golf course.”

For more information on how to purchase a ticket for the tournament that will take place July 1-7, please visit thornberrycreeklpgaclassic.com.  


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