DALY CITY, Calif. – Rolex world No. 1 Lydia Ko is back as defending champ at the Swinging Skirts Classic this week. The field features 19 of the top 20 in the world rankings. Here are three featured groups to watch at Lake Merced Golf Club (all times ET):
Ko, Anna Nordqvist and Lexi Thompson: 3:49 p.m. Thursday; 10:49 a.m. Friday
Ko won last year at Lake Merced, playing all four rounds with Stacy Lewis. It was a treat for golf fans in the area with those two staging a weekend duel. Ko came from a shot behind Lewis in the final round to win. Nordqvist won twice a year ago and Thompson won once, but they’re both looking for their first LPGA titles this season.
Stacy Lewis, Michelle Wie and Sei Young Kim: 4 p.m. Thursday; 11 a.m. Friday
Kim is coming off that remarkable finish last week, where she chipped in to force a playoff and then holed an 8-iron from 154 yards to win the playoff at the Lotte Championship. Kim is the only two-time LPGA winner so far this year. Lewis came so close to winning here last year, and Wie loves this area, having graduated from Stanford.
Paula Creamer, Inbee Park and Morgan Pressel: 10:49 a.m. Thursday; 3:49 p.m. Friday
Creamer is inspired playing so close to where she grew up. Lake Merced is just 40 miles west of Pleasanton. Park is on form, coming off that crazy playoff loss to Sei Young Kim. Pressel is on form, too, just a couple weeks removed from a third-place finish at the ANA Inspiration.