Michelle Wie will be trying to find her best form returning home as defending champion this week.
Brittany Lincicome will be aiming to ride momentum gained winning the year’s first major championship.
The Lotte Championship begins Wednesday in Hawaii with no shortage of storylines. Golf Channel will be televising the event from 7-11 p.m. (ET) Wednesday through Saturday.
Wie, who grew up in Honolulu, returns a year after winning at Ko Olina Golf Club, where she played so often growing up. It was Wie’s third LPGA title, her first in four seasons. It helped her build momentum ahead of her most important victory, the U.S. Women’s Open last summer.
“I love coming back home,” Wie said in her pre-tournament news conference. “I look forward to this event all year.”
Wie makes her home in Jupiter, Fla., now.
“Hawaii will always be my home, forever, no matter where I live,” She said. “You know the saying, 'You can take the girl out of the island, but you can never take the island out of the girl.' It's definitely true.”
Wie was coming off a second-place finish at the Kraft Nabisco last year when she won the Lotte Championship. She’s off to a sluggish start this year and looking for her first top-20 finish of the season. Her best finish so far is T-24 in the season-opening Coates Golf Championship.
“I think the key for me is just not to look too far into the future and not put too much pressure on myself,” Wie said. “I think that's kind of what I’ve struggled with - obviously not last year - but just putting too much pressure on myself. I just want to play really well when I come back home, just kind of keep the mindset going from last year. No pressure. Just have fun, enjoy being back home.”
Lincicome is making her first start since defeating Stacy Lewis in a playoff to win the ANA Inspiration two weeks ago. It was her sixth LPGA title, her second major championship victory.
“I've been on Cloud Nine since winning,” Lincicome said. “Last week, when I was home, I played golf four out of the five days I was home, which is very strange for me.
“It's been great, just coming out this week, and all of my fellow friends out here congratulating me and giving me hugs. Obviously, it makes it feel very special that they were rooting for me. It will be interesting to see how this week goes. Hopefully, we keep the momentum going.”
Park can’t overtake Ko for Rolex No. 1 this week, but a victory will narrow the gap. Ko tops the world rankings with 10.68 average points. Park can move within .36 points with a victory, which would put the No. 1 ranking in play next week at the Swinging Skirts Classic in San Francisco, where Ko, Park and Lewis all will be playing.
Pressel, playing with a swing she just recently began overhauling, finished one shot out of a playoff at the ANA Inspiration. She has some good mojo going to Hawaii, where she one her second LPGA title, taking the 2008 Kapalua Classic.
“Right now, I certainly feel good about my game,” Pressel said leaving ANA. “I know that I can improve. So that's always a good thing. I don't feel I got everything possible out of my game. So, it’s looking up.”