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Early arrivals ready for Marathon Classic at Highland Meadows

07/17/2017, 12:23am EDT
By By KYLE ROWLAND BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Kent State’s Ha, others check out course changes


LPGA rookie Jennifer Ha was among those arriving Sunday at Highland Meadows in Sylvania in preparation for the Marathon Classic. ASSOCIATED PRESS

A handful of players arrived Sunday at Highland Meadows Golf Club ahead of the Marathon Classic.

An afternoon walk around the property led to sightings on the short-game area, practice putting green, driving range, and the golf course. Practice rounds begin Monday, with the tournament running Thursday through Sunday.

“I’m super excited to be here. It’s always nice to be back in my adopted home state,” said LPGA Tour rookie Jennifer Ha, a native of Canada who attended Kent State. “I have a lot of good friends who live around here and a lot of support here, so I love coming back to the Marathon.”

Ha was joined by Justine Dreher, Hannah Burke, and Min Lee on the practice facilities at 1 p.m. They’ll get a head start on surveying Highland Meadows’ new par-5 18th hole. The green was shifted 100 yards to the south. It can measure as long as 541 yards.

MARATHON CLASSIC: Everything you need to know for the LPGA tournament at BCSN.tv/MarathonClassic

Eagle, birdie — and the dreaded “other” should appear on scorecards throughout the week.

“It’s a great course,” Ha said. “It’s tricky, for sure. There are some holes you really need to be careful on. It’ll be interesting to see the changes.”

It’s one of the reasons Dreher, an LPGA Tour rookie, arrived in town before the start of tournament week. The Paris native did not play in the U.S. Women’s Open, and she opted against traveling to France, where she still lives, for one week, instead staying in Grand Rapids, Mich., before arriving in Sylvania on Saturday night.

Dreher, who attended the University of South Carolina, speaks fluent English and knows her way around the United States, so she’s comfortable with the travel associated with the LPGA Tour. Last year, she played on the Ladies European Tour before earning her LPGA Tour card through Q school.

“I’m playing on different golf courses every week that I’ve never played before and everyone else has,” said Dreher, who is making her first Marathon Classic appearance. “There’s a lot of work to do prior to round one.”

Ha missed the cut in last year’s Marathon Classic after Monday qualifying.

“For me, it has a special place in my heart having spent so much time in Ohio,” she said. “It’s nice to see this tournament doing well. It’s nice to see it has a strong place on the tour schedule.”

Alison Walshe didn’t get into town until midnight, a mere 11 hours before her tee time Monday at Sylvania Country Club.

When she arrived at the course, she was so unfamiliar with the facility that she asked if there was a driving range.

A few hours later, she signed for a 5-under 67, which earned co-medalist honors at the Marathon Classic Monday qualifier. Joining her in this week’s field is Meghan MacLaren, who made a 25-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to separate herself from Jillian Hollis.

Hollis, a Rocky River native who’s entering her junior season at the University of Georgia, played in the same group as MacLaren and missed a 12-foot birdie putt on No. 18 that would have forced a playoff.

DRESS CODE UPDATES: Over the weekend, a report by Ashley Mayo of GolfDigest.com stirred many comments.

The LPGA in instituting a new dress code, and those who fail to comply will be fined $1,000 for each violation.

Among the items that are a no-no: racerbacks with no collar, plunging necklines, leggings (unless under a skort or shorts), joggers, and players must wear “appropriate attire” to pro-am parties, according to an email sent to players from LPGA player-president Vicki Goetze-Ackerman.

The new policy reportedly takes effect at the Marathon Classic.

“To each their own,” Ha said. “With golf being the kind of sport it is, you should honor the traditions. At the same time, it is modernizing. It’s about keeping that balance.”

In a statement, Heather Daly-Donofrio, the LPGA's chief communications and tour operations officer, downplayed the changes.

“The dress code requires players to present themselves in a professional manner to reflect a positive image for the game,” she said. 

“While we typically evaluate our policies at the end of the year, based on input from our players, we recently made some minor adjustments to the policy to address some changing fashion trends. The specifics of the policy have been shared directly with the members.”

Contact Kyle Rowland at: krowland@theblade.com, 419-724-6110, or on Twitter @KyleRowland.

The basics

WHAT: Marathon Classic, presented by Owens Corning and O-I, a stop on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour.

WHERE: Highland Meadows Golf Club, 7455 Erie St., Sylvania.

WHEN: Tournament competition Thursday through Sunday.

PURSE: $1.6 million; winner will receive $240,000.

FIELD: 144 (140 pros, 2 amateur invitees, plus 2 starters from Monday qualifying tournament held at Sylvania Country Club).

FORMAT: 72-hole stroke play. Field will be cut to the low 70 scores and ties after 36 holes.

DEFENDING CHAMPION: Lydia Ko (14-under-par 270, playoff).

Schedule

(At Highland Meadows Golf Club unless noted.)

MONDAY

■ 7:30 a.m.: PNC Pro-Am, shotgun start.

■ 11a.m.: Qualifying tournament, Sylvania Country Club.

■ 1:30 p.m.: ProMedica/​Hylant Pro-Am, shotgun start.

TUESDAY

■ 9:00 a.m.: Dana Pro-Am

■ 10:00 a.m. The Image Group Pro-Am (Sylvania Country Club)

■ 11:00 a.m.: KeyBank Putting Pro-Am 

■ 12:00 p.m.: Women’s Summit Presented by Owens Corning

■ 5:30 p.m.: Huntington Gala Dinner & Show at SeaGate Centre

(LPGA practice rounds throughout day.)

WEDNESDAY

■ 7 a.m. and 12:10 p.m.: Two waves of Buckeye Broadband Celebrity Pro-Am (Top 60 LPGA pros participate based on current tour money list).

THURSDAY

■ 7:15-9:15 a.m., and 12:15-2:15 p.m.: Marathon Classic first round, threesomes off Nos. 1 and 10 tees.

■ 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday Kids Zone presented by ValPak.

(Kroger Senior Day)

FRIDAY

■ 7:15-9:15 a.m., and 12:15-2:15 p.m.: Marathon Classic second round, threesomes off Nos. 1 and 10 tees.

SATURDAY

■ 7:05 a.m.-1:05 p.m.: Marathon Classic third round, twosomes off No. 1 tee.

(The Blade Day)

SUNDAY

■ 7:05 a.m.-1:05 p.m.: Marathon Classic final round, twosomes off No. 1 tee. 

5 p.m.: Closing ceremony, 18th green.

(Championship Sunday sponsored by The Toledo Clinic)

Tickets

Weekly grounds badges ($60), or two for the price of one, are available at all Toledo area Kroger stores. Daily grounds tickets are available at the main gate for $15 Monday through Friday and $20 on Saturday and Sunday. To designate a charity to receive 100 percent of your purchase amount, or for weekly clubhouse ticket information, go to marathonclassic.com.

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