LPGA Cognizant Founders Cup Update

Story posted May 12, 2023 in CommRadio, Sports by Amanda Vogt

CLIFTON, N.J. - For the second consecutive year, Upper Montclair Country Club will host the Cognizant Founders Cup.

The event which honors the LPGA’s 13 original founders is flooded with stars in its field — other than the major tournaments, it is the largest field of the season.

After Friday’s round, the cut was made at one over par with the top 54 and ties advancing to the weekend.

Minjee Lee, the defending champion, currently sits T-3 after firing a three-under 69 on day two.

Upper Montclair is a course that requires precision off the tee with tight fairway landing areas, and most pin locations in unattackable places on the large greens.

“I just think that some pin placements you can’t really go for it,” Lee said. “If you go for it, it brings a lot more trouble into play.”

Playing smart, as Lee suggests, is allowing these players to post those under-par scores.

After 36 holes two are tied for the lead, Jin Young Ko and Sarah Kemp.

Ko won the Founders Cup in October 2021 when it was played just 10 miles away at Mountain Ridge Country Club.

After firing a 68 bogey-free round two the world ranked No. 2 erased the mistakes from her round one scorecard that featured a double bogey and bogey.

“It’s hard to keep the fairway from the tee so I really focused [on] that shot,” Ko said. “The greens are a little firm so need good focus from my eye to judge distance.”

The lack of snow during the winter left the course in great shape and a break from the rain that the Garden State has been pounded with the past few weeks provided nice conditions for the event.

However, the afternoon pairings battled some wind gusts that the morning wave didn’t have to worry about.

And with the wind came firmer greens that further challenged the players’ aggressiveness.

Aditi Ashook who sits one shot off the lead admitted that going right at the flag wasn’t always the wisest option.

“On some of these holes if you’re on the wrong side the angle is probably so bad you can’t go at the flags,” she said. “The best shots were 30 feet past, 40 feet past, and that’s just the nature of the golf course sometimes.”

Sarah Kemp’s seven-under 65 was the best round of the day which propelled her to tie Ko at the top of the leaderboard.

The Australian started off hot, birding her first three holes, and remained bogey-free until running into some problems on 17.

The biggest question for Kemp is how she will handle holding a share of the lead heading into rounds three and four.

“I’m sure I’ll go to bed and think about it naturally, being a co-leader going into Saturday at an LPGA event is pretty cool, right?” Kemp said. “I think there would be something wrong if I wasn’t excited, but I think I can get a little bit too hyped. So probably just trying to calm down a little bit and enjoy the experience.”

The leaders are well within reach considering 19 players are at -4 or better which makes for an exciting final two rounds at this year’s Cognizant Founders Cup at Upper Montclair Country Club.

Amanda Vogt is a first-year student majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact her, email her at aev5215@psu.edu