The bittersweet goodbye to Mission Hills Country Club begins on Thursday with the final playing of the Chevron Championship in Rancho Mirage, California.
In October, when Chevron was announced as the new title sponsor, with it came news that the purse would see a significant increase from $3.1 to $5 million. However, the partnership also meant that Chevron would move the event to the Houston area after 50 years at Mission Hills.
While players are thrilled to see the reinvigoration of a major championship with such a long and storied history in the women’s game, they’re also disappointed to say farewell to the traditions which have made the Chevron Championship so special. The ceremonial leap into Poppie’s Pond, beside the 18th green at the Dinah Shore Tournament Course, will be missed most. Sunday’s winner will become the final player to make a splash.
The new home of the 2023 championship has not yet been announced.
Patty Tavatanakit defends
Keep an eye on a well-rested Patty Tavatanakit, who looks to defend her title at the Chevron Championship. Tavatanakit skipped last week’s JTBC Classic, opting to arrive early at Mission Hills to begin her prep. She’s trending towards a second career win, having finished inside to top 20 in four of her first five starts this season.
Tavatankit averaged more than 320 yards off the tee, en route to capturing her first major title – her first LPGA win – at this event a year ago. She became only the second player in championship history to win as a rookie, the first to do so since Juli Inkster in 1984. The 22-year-old Thai went on to win the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year and Rolex Annika Major Award. She recorded 10 top-10s on the LPGA Tour in her first season, three of those in major championships.
Nelly Korda to miss season’s first major
While in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, for a sponsor obligation during The Players, Nelly Korda was diagnosed with a blood clot in her arm. When she might return to the LPGA Tour remains unknown. She did not play in the JTBC Classic and also withdrew from the Chevron Championship, where she has back-to-back top-3 finishes. Her most recent start was the LPGA Drive On Championship in mid-February. Coming off
Players to watch
Lydia Ko: Ko closed last year’s Chevron with a final-round 62. It was an indicator of things to come, as Ko had gone without a win on tour for three years. Since leaving Mission Hills, Ko has won three times worldwide, in addition to securing the bronze medal at the Olympic Games in Tokyo and earning the Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average. And, Ko knows what it takes to win this event, having made the leap into Poppie’s Pond in 2016.
Inbee Park: With seven major championships, an Olympic gold and a place in the LPGA Hall of Fame, Inbee Park is often asked what continues to motivate her. Park said one of her biggest goals this season is to win another major, which she hasn’t done since 2015. Park won the ’13 Chevron and would love nothing more than to become the final player to make the jump on Sunday. She arrives in Mission Hills off a T-8 at the JTBC Classic.
Nasa Hataoka: Hataoka is the highest-ranked player in the world, at No. 9 in the Rolex Rankings, without a major victory. The 23-year-old Japanese star is a five-time winner on Tour and has repeatedly put herself in position to capture a first major, which five top-10’s, including a pair of runner-up finishes. Hataoka is coming off at T-16 last week in Carlsbad, her fifth top-20 in six starts this season.