PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The winner of the 2014 Meijer LPGA Classic has been forced to withdraw from this year’s event.
Mirim Lee played in Wednesday’s Pro-Am, but then had her wrist checked out and withdrew. She won’t play in the Classic, which starts Thursday, and she’s not expected to play in the British Open next week, either.
“I am very sorry that I won’t be able to defend my title at the Meijer LPGA Classic,” Lee said in a statement posted on the LPGA website. “Meijer puts on a great tournament and I wish that I could play, but the injury to my left wrist will prevent me from competing this week and also next week at the RICOH Women’s British Open. I want to thank Meijer and the community of Grand Rapids and I look forward to competing in this great tournament again next year.”
“You don’t get to win a lot in golf, percentage-wise as much as you play, so you don’t get to defend all the time, and when you do it’s a special feeling,” Meijer LPGA Classic Executive Director Andy Bush said. “We do a lot of things for our defending champion, so I’m more upset for her. The tournament, fortunately, we’ve still got a great field. We’ll be fine. But we’d love to see her out there competing, obviously. Being our first champion, she’ll be that forever. Thankfully that lives in the history book.”
Inbee Park fell to Lee last year in a playoff. Now ranked No. 1 in the world, Park is back in West Michigan this year. Her team was 19 under par at Wednesday’s Pro-am, shooting a 52.
She is expected to play in both the Classic and the British Open in Scotland.
“I really like to play the week before the major tournaments to try everything that I really need to try for the major tournament,” Lee said. “You can’t try everything while you’re just having a week off or practicing. There are really things you have to try in a tournament to see if it’s working. You know, that’s what I’m here for and I really love this week, so that’s why I came. We get so much good support from all the people in Michigan and, you know, the golf course is in great shape. I really loved it here last year, even though I lost in the playoff, it was a great tournament, that ‘s why I came back this year and hopefully a little better than last year’s result.”
Only one player could earn back-to-back wins this week: Chella Choi, who won the Marathon Classic in Toledo last week — her first victory on the LPGA Tour.
“My condition is really good, and I’m happy to have my first win last week. I’m confident, and I’m feeling good, so I’ll try to do my best this week and get my second win,” Choi said.
Wednesday, Choi helped her Pro-Am team to a second-place finish.
The first round of tournament play in this year’s Meijer LPGA Classic starts Thursday morning at Blythefield in unincorporated Belmont, north of Grand Rapids, and continues through Sunday.