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Two weeks after her biggest moment, Marina Alex gets a home game at LPGA’s Founders Cup

By Andy Vasquez, North Jersey Record

CLIFTON, N.J. — The LPGA’s Cognizant Founders Cup begins Thursday at Upper Montclair Country Club and local native Marina Alex, just days removed from the biggest win of her professional career, is set to be one of the headliners in an elite field.

Yes, it’s a big golf week for North Jersey. Here’s everything you need to know about the Founders Cup.

The details

The Founders Cup was started in 2011 to honor the 13 founding members of the LPGA Tour. It’s a 72-hole stroke play event that awards a $3 million purse ($450,000 to the winner), the largest prize in women’s golf outside of a major or a season-ending event.

The event was played in Arizona for its first decade, last October it moved to North Jersey for the first time and was contested at Mountain Ridge Country Club in West Caldwell.

This week, just seven months after World No. 1 Jin Young Ko won with a score of 18-under-par, she’ll be among the favorites to win as the LPGA Tour returns to Upper Montclair for the first time since 2009.

Happy homecoming for Alex

Marina Alex, the former Wayne Hills star, will be playing close to home and the timing couldn’t be better. Less than two weeks ago, Alex picked up the most impressive win of her professional career.

With two of the top three players in the world in contention at the Palos Verdes Championship, Alex edged Jin Young Ko and World No. 3 Lydia Ko with a five-under-par 66 in the final round.

It was Alex’s second win on the LPGA Tour and her first since 2018. The win moved her up 33 spots to No. 28 in the world.

Alex said recent work with Claude Harmon III has helped her feel re-inspired coming out to the West Coast.

“It’s been tough,” said Alex. “We’re all getting older. I’m getting older. There are so many amazing players out here. The competition is really, really difficult. So I just didn’t know if my mind and body were going to put me back in a position that I was going to be able to do it again.”

Alex, the first player from Vanderbilt to win on the LPGA, said she tried to stay away from leaderboards, noting that she doesn’t typically respond well when she goes “leaderboard crazy.”

“It can just create extra pressure that I don’t need,” said Alex, “whether it’s to make a birdie or to conserve a lead. It’s just – it doesn’t help my performance, so I kind of have to be really disciplined to just take a deep breath and do me.

“If it’s good enough to win, it’s good enough to win. If someone outplays me, that’s okay, but I don’t want to outplay myself. That’s the mistake I have made in the past.”

Tournament details

Course: Upper Montclair Country Club, Clifton

Opened in 1928 and designed by legendary architect A.W. Tillinghast, the course was renovated in the 1950s by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. The tournament course will feature a composite from the 27 holes at the facility which has the rare distinction of hosting the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour and Champions Tour in its long history.

Par: 36-36—72

Yardage: 6,536

Field: The 144-players competing this week will include most of the top 100 in the world, including Jin Young Ko, Lydia Ko and Lexi Thompson.

Defending champion: Jin Young Ko, who shot 18-under at Mountain Ridge in October of 2021

 

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Dive Deeper:
Top-ranked Ko seeks third straight Founders Cup title
Washington (AFP) - World number one Ko Jin-young of South Korea chases her third consecutive Founders Cup title on a…
Madelene Sagstrom zooms to the top of the leaderboard at Cognizant Founders Cup
Madelene Sagstrom opened with four straight birdies at the LPGA's Cognizant Founders Cup.
Sagstrom seizes LPGA Founders Cup lead with sizzling 63
New York (AFP) - Sweden's Madelene Sagstrom fired a bogey-free nine-under par 63 to grab a one-stroke lead over American…
Aussie Lee fires 63 to grab lead at LPGA Founders Cup
New York (AFP) - Australia's Minjee Lee matched her career-low with a nine-under-par 63 to seize a three-stroke lead late…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Diksha Dagar claims gold medal at Deaflympics
CAXIAS: Indian golfer Diksha Dagar outplayed American Ashlyn Grace in the final to bag gold medal at the Deaflympics, fulfilling…
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Get all your news in one place