Ann Arbor, Michigan – Ariya Juntanugarn wins the inaugural Volvik Championship at Travis Pointe Country Club in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Juntanugarn shot 5-under 67 during the final round to be 15-under for the tournament and five shots ahead of Christina Kim who birdied the final hole to take control of solo second place.
Entering the final day, there was a log jam atop the leaderboard with Juntanugarn leading Jessica Korda, Christina Kim by a single shot. The conditions during the third round were a lot different than the first two rounds. The greens were getting very hard and with the pin positons and the wind, were making it very different for the players to be aggressive and make birdies.
Ariya “May” Juntanugarn, May is her nickname in her native Thailand had a solid start to her first round where she would par the first five holes and then birdie that par 5 sixth hole. She would card a 35 on the front 9.
The back 9 is where May made her move with a birdie on the thirteenth hole. That birdie would give her a three shot lead on the field heading to the par 5 14th. Juntanugarn would follow that birdie up with another and that seemed to be where she took control of the field. She would add another two birdies on 16 and 17 and would par the 18th for the victory.
Christina Kim was the 36 hole leader heading into the third round. Kim, recorded her first round under 70 in 21 rounds with a first round 8-under 64. Christina Kim is a very jovial player who players with a lot of passionate for the game and like many of the stars on the LPGA Tour is a great role model in the growth of the game. Kim had some opportunities during her final two rounds at Travis Pointe. Christina Kim would birdie the final hole to take home solo second place money.
The biggest surprise of the final round, would be Brook M. Henderson who started the round at 5-under for the day and would move into a tie for third place with Jessica Korda with a final round score of 9-under. Henderson would card five birdies and one bogey during the final round.
Play would be suspended for 55 minutes due to lightning in the area. During the week, weather forecasters predicted inclement weather to affect this tournament but Mother Nature decided otherwise.
Tournament director Keith Kardo placed a rosary sent to him by his mother in a rose bush in front of the Travis Pointe Country Club sign on Tuesday “My mother sent me this rosary to ward off bad weather. Ever since, the weather has stayed away.” Keith attempted to show us where he put the rosary but it seems to have be taken out of the bush by Marilyn who took the rosary out of the bush because she thought it was a sign from her mother.
All in all the tournament proved to deliver with many players with the food, hospitality and how the tournament was run overall from beginning to end. There were many large groups of spectators that in some ways proved that professional golf deserves a home in southeastern Michigan.
The next LPGA Tournament will be next week at the Shoprite LPGA Classic at Stockton Seaview Hotel & Golf Club in Galloway, NJ.