The underage LPGA members will have to bypass the traditional drink, but a victory at the $2.2 million event will still taste like every dime of $330,000, the winner's amount of the Michelob ULTRA Open at Kingsmill.
Cristie Kerr is the defending champion, as she outlasted the field last year playing a grueling 36 holes on Sunday to capture her fifth career LPGA title. Kerr returns to the Kingsmill Resort & Spa along with all of the top players on Tour.
Kerr, fresh off her win last week at the Franklin American Mortgage Championship benefiting the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, has turned in one of the more impressive starts to the season so far. She has played in nine events and in addition to her win last week has five more top-10 finishes this year. The 28-year-old has played well on the par-71 River Course, recording a top-six finish each of the three years the event has been on the LPGA schedule.
Joining Kerr in the field this week is Annika Sorenstam, who is No. 1 in Rolex Rankings, which were unveiled earlier this year. Sorenstam won her first event of the year and has notched three additional top-six finishes. She has three top-12 finishes at the Michelob ULTRA Open at Kingsmill.
One player who has become increasingly tougher to beat this year is 24-year-old Lorena Ochoa. She has one win this year and an additional four runner-up finishes. Ochoa tops the ADT Official Money List this year and in her career has two runner-up finishes in three appearances at the Michelob ULTRA Open at Kingsmill.
Another player to watch this week is the resurgent Karrie Webb. A month and a half ago, Webb was still trying to tweak a reworked swing, but then came that magical shot at the Kraft Nabisco Championship-a pitching wedge from 116 yards for eagle on the 72nd hole-that propelled her to her seventh career major and back into the golfing spotlight. Since then, Webb has been playing lights out, with two runner-up finishes in her last three events.
Last year, Kerr won the rain-plagued event by a comfortable five shots over Jill McGill, but the first two years of the tournament were a bit more theatrical. In 2003, Grace Park rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt on the final hole to win, and in 2004 Se Ri Pak stormed back with a final-round 65 to win and qualify points-wise for the LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame.
In the three years of the 72-hole event the winning score has never been lower than 275 (-9). The week features a top-notch course, one of the best fields of the year and cold beer for the champion.