August 13, 2019
Team USA Solheim Cup Stars Confirmed. Special Sponsor Exemption Revealed.
PORTLAND, OR (August 13, 2019) – Marina Alex returned to the scene of her first career LPGA title yesterday at Columbia Edgewater Country Club ahead of the 48th edition of the tournament from August 29 – September 1.
America’s Alex, who won in spectacular fashion in 2018 with a record-equaling first round 62 and final round 65 to win by four strokes, was nostalgic about returning to the tournament that will long stand in her memory.
The 29-year-old, who is set to make her Solheim Cup debut for Team USA in just under a month said,
“It is great to be back. I will never forget how it felt to lift the trophy last year and the fans in Portland were incredible all week. The city is so passionate about sport so it is always fun to come back here, especially as defending champion. I had a really interesting day yesterday seeing the many of the cool parts of Portland as well as taking part in the Topgolf in the afternoon.”
Joining Alex in the 144-player-field competing for the $1.3 million purse that already includes major champions Brooke Henderson, Sung Hyun Park, Lydia Ko and Ariya Jutanuagrn are five Team USA stars Lexi Thompson, Danielle Kang, Lizette Salas, Jessica Korda and Megan Khang, who finished 5th last year.
All five players have made previous appearances in Portland with Thompson, who currently tops the Solheim Cup qualification rankings with one event to go, set to make her sixth appearance, finishing in the top ten on two occasions. Danielle Kang, Salas and Korda have all experienced the excitement of the Solheim Cup but rookie Megan Khang will join Alex in making their debuts at Gleneagles, Scotland.
Previously confirmed Team Europe Solheim Cup stars will also be at Columbia Edgewater including English trio Georgia Hall, Charley Hull and Bronte Law, who received one of the captain’s picks yesterday at the Team Europe announcement.
Lexi Thompson, said, “I am really looking forward to coming back to Portland. The fans are always really supportive, which makes the tournament a lot of fun. The golf course is always in great shape and the layout really suits my eye, which should give me a lot of confidence going in to the Solheim Cup and the end of my year.”
Rounding off the day, in an interesting media day twist, 15-year-old American star Paris Hilinski, was awarded a sponsor invitation at the afternoon entertainment at Topgolf in Hillsboro.
The Californian native, who only started playing golf three years ago and recently qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open and Amateur, arrived in Portland with her Dad under the pretense that she was visiting Nike headquarters, only to be surprised by the championship committee and defending champion Marina Alex, who shared the good news.
Paris Hilinski, said, “I can’t believe it. I am genuinely speechless right now. My dad told me we were heading to Portland to visit Nike headquarters and then visiting Topgolf to hit a few balls for practice. I had no idea that I would have a chance to play in such a big event and cannot wait to come back here. This will be my first LPGA Tour event outside of the majors and I can’t wait to go on the range and hit balls alongside the likes of Lexi Thompson, Brooke Henderson, Lydia Ko and Danielle Kang.”
The remaining exemption was awarded to Tze-Han (Heather) Lin, a rising sophomore at the University of Oregon, who won the Portland Classic Am Open last week at Langdon Farms. Heather shot a four-under-par round of 68 to earn her place in her third LPGA event, having previously played in Australia and Taiwan.
Cambia Portland Classic Tournament Director Chris Garrett, said, “We are delighted to welcome back the world’s best players to Portland. We have got six of the current seven qualified players for Team USA in the Solheim Cup and securing exciting rising talents like Paris is great for our field. It was awesome to see how much this opportunity meant to her and we had a blast with our defending champion and look forward to bringing her back in a few weeks.”
Entering its 48th year, Cambia Portland Classic is the longest running non-major championship on the LPGA Tour schedule. The 72-hole tournament will be played Aug. 29 -Sept. 1, 2019 with a purse of $1.3 million.