Thursday Featured Groups - JM Eagle LA Championship presented by Plastpro

By Amy Rogers

Here is a closer look at some of the featured groups that will be teeing it up for the opening rounds at Wilshire Country Club.

Ariya Jutanugarn, Atthaya Thitikul, Lilia Vu - 8:21 a.m. PST - 10th tee

Two-time major champion Ariya Jutanuarn makes a return to L.A. and will tee it up for a fifth time at Wilshire Country Club where she looks to crack the top 20 for the first time. Jutanugarn will play alongside the reigning rookie of the year in Atthaya Thitikul. The young player from Thailand has enjoyed a hot start to the season with four top 10s in her first five starts of the year and will look to ride that momentum into Wilshire where she finished T48 in 2022.

The most recent winner on the LPGA Tour and the newest major champion, Lilia Vu, is the third member of this group. Vu will feel comfortable this week as the Los Angeles resident and UCLA alumnae returns home for this week’s championship. She finished T10 at Wilshire Country Club last season.

“It's amazing here. It's super fun,” Vu said about this week’s venue. “I feel like it can play really difficult if the wind gets up. It's already difficult on its own. I think around the greens it's difficult, and the putting greens are difficult. I think it should be a good test for everybody out here.”

Brooke Henderson, Danielle Kang, Minjee Lee - 8:32 a.m. PST - 10th tee

Canada’s Brooke Henderson returns to Wilshire Country Club where she has had mixed success in her four prior appearances - she won in 2021, twice missed the cut, and once finished T10.

“Honestly, I think it's just such a tough golf course, and if you're a little bit off, you can be punished really quickly here,” Henderson said about her mixed success in L.A. “But if you're playing really well and your ball-striking is really good, you're hitting a lot of greens, then you can kind of get it rolling, and it's kind of that momentum that you need to keep riding it. But I think it just comes down to it's a tough golf course, and you've got to have a good strategy and hopefully it works.”

Henderson will play alongside Danielle Kang and Minjee Lee during the opening rounds of the championship. Kang has two 10s to start 2023 and will be looking to get back in the winner’s circle in a place close to heart as she returns home to Los Angeles for this week’s event. Lee, who won at Wilshire Country Club in 2019, is making just her fourth start of the season. The two-time major champion has consistently contended at Wilshire, where, in addition to her victory in 2019, she has two more top 10s including a T3 last season.

Nelly Korda, Celine Boutier, Nasa Hataoka - 1:21 p.m. PST - 1st tee

Nelly Korda returns this week to Wilshire Country Club for the first time since 2021 after missing last year’s tournament in L.A. due to the blood clot in her arm. Korda has had a strong start to the season with five top 10s in six starts, and will look to carry that consistency into Wilshire where she’s had mixed success with two missed cuts and a tie for 10th in her three appearances. She’ll play the opening rounds with Celine Boutier, who is already a winner this season at the LPGA Drive On Championship. It was just one in a string of strong weeks for the Frenchwoman who hasn’t finished worse than 26th so far this season. Nasa Hataoka, the last to win when the LPGA Tour played at Wilshire Country Club in 2022, is the third member of this group. In addition to her victory last season, Hataoka has just one other start at the club where she finished T19 in 2018.

April 26, 2023
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