Marathon Classic Primer: History, TV, Field

With the U.S. Women’s Open in the books – the third major of the season, the LPGA Tour has officially completed three-quarters of its 12-week summer marathon.

 
And the aptly titled, Marathon Classic Presented by Owens Corning and O-I, marks the beginning of the final three-tournament lap.

12 Week Summer Marathon

This portion of the schedule includes 12 consecutive tournaments including 3 major championships.

Lap 1

  • 5/18-22: Kingsmill Championship – Lexi Thompson (-20)
  • 5/25-28: LPGA Volvik Championship – In-Kyung Kim (-11)
  • 6/2-4: Shoprite LPGA Classic – Shanshan Feng (-19)

Lap 2:

  • 6/8-11: Manulife LPGA Classic – Ariya Jutanugarn (-17)
  • 6/15-18: Meijer LPGA Classic – Brooke Henderson (-21)
  • 6/23-25: Walmart NW Arkansas Championship – So Yeon Ryu (-18)

Lap 3:

  • 6/29-7/2: KPMG Women’s PGA – Danielle Kang (-13)
  • 7/6-9: Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic – Katherine Kirk (-22)
  • 7/13-16: U.S. Women’s Open – Sung Hyun Park (-11)

Lap 4:

  • 7/20-23: Marathon Classic
  • 7/27-30: Ladies Scottish Open
  • 8/3-6: Women’s British Open

History

The Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning and O-I was first held in 1984 at Glengarry Country Club (presently Stone Oak Country Club), and remained until 1988 when it moved to its current venue, Highland Meadows Golf Club.

 
The tournament reportedly began as a dream of Toledo native, Judd Silverman. In 1982, then working as a PGA Tour caddy, Silverman came up with the idea of bringing an LPGA tournament to the Toledo region.

After getting approval from the tour, and working out the logistics, Silverman, himself, secured the tournament’s first 12 founding sponsors, which covered the inaugural tournament’s full purse (then just $175,000).

Actor Jamie Farr agreed to lend his name to the event and brought his celebrity friends to the tournament, while the Toledo area McDonald’s franchises underwrote the operating expenses with the agreement that a portion of the money raised would benefit the Ronald McDonald House.

Since 1984, the tournament has donated millions of dollars to local children’s charities.


Historic Numbers

  • 5 – The number of time Se Ri Pak won the Marathon Classic (2007, 2003, 2001, 1999, 1998)
  • 6 – Six of the last 10 winners of the Marathon Classic have been from South Korea
  • 10 – The number of playoffs in the history of the tournament
  • 13 – The number of American players who have won the event, most recently Paula Creamer in 2008
  • 23 – The under-par record set by Se Ri Pak (-23) in 1998
  • 60 – The record low score by Paula Creamer (12-under-par 60) in the first round in 2008

The Skinny

Tournament: Marathon Classic Presented by Owens Corning and O-I
Managed By: LPGA Tour
Title Sponsor: Marathon Petroleum Corporation
Presenting Sponsors: Owens Corning, O-I
Dates: July 20-23
Course: Highland Meadows Golf Club
Where: Sylvania, Ohio
Vitals: par-71, 6,512 yards
Architect: Sandy Alves (1925)
Format: 72 hole competition, 36 hole cut (top 60 and ties)
Purse: $1,600,000
Winning Share: $225,000
Website: MarathonClassic.com
Facebook: Facebook.com/MarathonLPGA
Twitter: @MarathonLPGA
Instagram: @MarathonLPGA


The Course

Highland Meadows offers eighteen classic and unique holes situated on rolling landscape with tree-lined fairways and challenging greens.

 
Built in 1925 by Sandy Alves, Highland Meadows Golf Club will play to a par-71 championship, measuring just over 6,500 yards for this week’s Marathon Classic.


The Field

The 144-player field in Ohio includes six of the world’s top 10 ranked players, headlined by top-ranked American Lexi Thompson (No. 3), defending champion Lydia Ko (No. 4), Sung Hyun Park, the newly-minted U.S. Women’s Open champion, and Canadian Brooke Henderson (No. 8).

 
The field also includes three former Marathon Classic champions, including two-time winner Ko (2016, 2014), Chella Choi (2015), and Na Yeon Choi (2010).

The field is also highlighted by seven players who have won on Tour this year: Brittany Lincicome (Pure-Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic), Amy Yang (Honda LPGA Thailand), Mirim Lee (Kia Classic), Thompson (Kingsmill Championship), In-Kyung Kim (ShopRite LPGA Classic), Henderson (Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give), and the rookie Park (U.S. Women’s Open).

 
In addition to Park, there will be 29 other rookies in the field, headlined by rookie stars Angel Yin, Nelly Korda, and Emily Pedersen.

Other marquee names include 11-time LPGA winner Stacy Lewis, Cheyenne Woods, and Gerina Piller.


Defending Champion

In 2016, Lydia Ko won her second Marathon Classic title in a playoff against Mirim Lee and Ariya Jutanugarn. It was Ko’s fourth victory of the 2016 season. The former World No. 1 shot a final-round 2-under-par 69 to capture her 14th LPGA Tour victory.

 
Ko arrives in Ohio seeking her first win the 2017 season. Her best finish this season is a runner-up at the LOTTE Championship. The 20-year-old Ko does have seven top-10s in just 14 starts, and feels she’s played solid, despite the lack of trophies.

“I feel like the puzzle pieces are there, but I’ve been struggling to kind of put those pieces together,” said Ko. “Sometimes that is almost the hardest bit where you feel like those little pieces are there but to connect it and put them all into good rounds, I feel like there are a lot of positives going on, so I’m trying to stay patient.”


Recent Winners

2016: Lydia Ko (-14)
2015: Chella Choi (-14)
2014: Lydia Ko (-15)
2013: Beatriz Recari (-17)
2012: So Yeon Ryu (-20)
2010: Na Yeon Choi (-14)


TV Coverage

Tape Delay
Round 1: Thursday 8-10 PM (Golf Channel)
Round 2: Friday 8-10 PM (Golf Channel)
Round 3: Saturday 7-9 PM (Golf Channel)
Round 4: Sunday 9-11 PM (Golf Channel)


Jeff Smith

Jeff is a Producer for Pro Golf Weekly. He is producing a digital documentary on the 2016-17 PGA Tour season.



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