NAPLES, Fla. – The CME Group Titleholders begins Thursday with 73 players bidding to win the $500,000 first-place check.
How did they get into the LPGA's season-ending event?
The answer is in the Titleholders name, and in the history LPGA commissioner Mike Whan wanted to re-create in bringing back the event.
Three players from each official LPGA event this year qualified, and you’ll be able to tell which event they qualified from while watching them play this week. Their caddies will be wearing a bib showing where they qualified.
While 78 players qualified, five have withdrawn for various reasons, including 15-year-old Lydia Ko, who won the CN Canadian Women’s Open but is back in school in New Zealand.
There is a quirky feature to the qualifying. Because the Titleholders invites the top three players from each event not already qualified, the qualifying reaches low into the results at year’s end. In fact, Tanya Dergel finished dead last at the Lorena Ochoa Invitational last week and grabbed the final qualifying position. She played in Mexico last week on a sponsor’s invitation.
Basically, Dergal won the spot before the event even began because all but three eligible players in the Lorena Ochoa Invitational were already qualified for the CME Group Titleholders.