BELMONT, Mich. (WOOD) — At Blythefield Country Club in Belmont, 144 top women golfers are preparing for the Meijer LPGA Classic.
There are some big names among the pros — like 17-year-old Lydia Ko, who is ranked No. 2 in the world among women golfers, 19-year-olds Michelle Wie and Lexi Thompson, and the world’s No. 1 woman golfer, Stacey Lewis.
Wie drew the biggest galleries during her Tuesday practice round.
She has been the biggest name in women’s golf since she was a high school star a decade ago, but this has been a breakthrough year for her.
She’s second on the money list, having earned over $1.6 million this year. She’s second on the tour in scoring, averaging 69.71 per round. She also won two tournaments, including her first major with a victory at the U.S. Open.
During Tuesday practice, Lewis played in the group behind Wie.
Lewis has been on the LPGA Tour since 2008, and has flourished in the last couple of years.
This year, she’s top in scoring average and top in money earned — she expects to pass the $2 million this week. Lewis has won three tournaments and has eight finishes in the top five.
She’s leading a charge of young American players who are getting people excited about women’s golf again.
Another player in that resurgence in Lexi Thompson.
Like Wie, Thompson was successful before she hit her teens. She played in her first U.S. Open at age 12.
Now 19, she has four career victories to her name. She holds the distinction of being the tour’s biggest hitter, averaging 270 yards of the tee.
She said driving accuracy will be key at Blythefield.
Also on the green Tuesday were a pair of players who hope to one day be LPGA Tour regulars. Lindsey McPherson and Grace Choi received the two sponsor exemptions into the tournament.
McPherson recently graduated from Michigan State University, but still has another year of eligibility left. She’s also about to start grad school.
Choi is a sophomore at the University of Michigan. She played with Ko Tuesday.
Wearing their school colors, the pair will spend the week rubbing elbows with some of the best players in the world.
First round tournament play begins at Blythefield Thursday.