LPGA 26-year-old legend Lydia Ko continues to raise the bar on the LPGA Tour, adding another victory to her lengthy resume after an impressive performance at the Tour’s season-opening Hilton Grand Vacations Tournament of Champions.

ORLANDO, Florida – Continuing in its tradition of empowering and supporting women’s golf, Lake Nona Golf & Country Club once again played host, for the third consecutive year, to the LPGA’s season opener, the 2024 Hilton Grand Vacations (HGV) Tournament of Champions. This was the first of back-to-back event being held in Florida before the Tour heads out on its annual swing through Asia in February.

The 18-hole Lake Nona Golf & Country Club is a private golf course that opened in 1986 and was designed by Andy Banfield and Tom Fazio. It starts off under a canopy of tall trees on the front nine, becoming more open on the inward half as the final five holes play around natural inland lakes. The LPGA Tour set up its own tee boxes to arrive at a total yardage of 6,608.

As one of LPGA Tour’s premier events of the year, the Tournament of Champions’ distinctive format featured Tour champions playing alongside celebrity and amateur golfers. The 35 LPGA format was stroke play while the 46 Celebrities and amateurs’ format was a modified-Stableford.

Brooke Henderson

This year’s Tournament of Champions featured a total purse of $1.5 million, an impressive figure for an LPGA event with only 36 players. Winner’s portion was $225,000. Celebrities and amateurs’ purse was $500,000; winner’s portion was $100,000.


Japan’s Ayaka Furue fired a seven-under par 65, closing with back-to-back birdies to seize a two-stroke lead after Thursday’s opening round of the LPGA Tournament of Champions at Lake Nona in Orlando.

Furue’s bogey-free 18 holes gave her the top spot with Mexico’s Gaby Lopez and Sweden’s Maja Stark sharing second in the opening event of the 2024 LPGA Tour campaign. “All of my play today, that was really fantastic for me,” Furue said. “This course is really difficult. Not only my shot but also my putting was really good today.”

Annika Sorenstam

Furue is an eight-time winner on the Japan Tour and qualified for the event with her victory at the 2022 Women’s Scottish Open. Lopez reached the field by winning the 2022 Dana Open while Stark qualified by winning the 2022 Handa World Invitational in Northern Ireland.

The Celebrities were using the modified-Stableford scoring format. 10 points double Eagle, 8 Hole-in-one, 5 eagle, 3 birdie, 2 par,1 bogey and 0 double bogey and worse.

The Celebrities Leaderboard after today’s first round had 1st place Annika Sorenstam 40, 2nd place Jeff McMcNeil 38, 3rd place Jeremy Roenick 36, and 4th place Whit Merrifield 35.


The LPGA leaderboard at the beginning of the 2nd round had 1st place Ayaka Furue -7. 2nd place Gaby Lopez -5, Maja Stark -5. 4th place Danielle Kang -4, Ally Ewing -4. Andrea Lee, Brooke Henderson, Lydia Ko, Grace Kim, Rose Zhang, Ashleigh Buhai and Alexa Pano were all tied for 6th place at -3.


The second round brought with it scattered showers and a golf course that played much softer and slower than yesterday’s round. Threatening skies, along with sustained 14mph winds, that at times reached gusts over 20mph, made club selection a continuous challenge.

Lydia Ko and a few other late finishers, including Ayala Furue, dealt with rain at the end of the round. Gaby Lopez wasn’t ready for that; she didn’t remember to pack any rain gear in her bag. “It wasn’t easy, especially the wind picking up after nine holes,” Ko said of her 67. “So that’s going to be the mindset for the next couple days … but definitely glad that I’m done and it’s still raining outside.”

The leaderboard at the end of the second round found Ayala Furue -8 (65-71) in a 1st place tied with Lydia Ko -8, (69-67). 3rd Place was Gemma Dryburgh -6 (70-68) tied with Gaby Lopez -6 (67-71). 5th place found Brooke Henderson -5 (69-70) and Alexa Pano -5 (69-70) also in a tie.

The Celebrities Leaderboard after the second round had 1st place Annika Sorenstam 75 (40-35), tied with Jeremy Roenick 75 (36-39), 3rd place Derek Lowe 71 (33-38) and in 4th place Jeffery McNeil 70 (38-32).

Derek Lowe, meanwhile, shot a 2-under 70 on Friday, and is four points behind Sorenstam and Roenick. “It was one of my better rounds that I played in these events. Lucky enough to shoot 70 for me, which is a little above my pay grade,”


The third round brought with it a morning that was more suited for mittens than golf gloves and ski parkas rather than golf shirts. The temperature was sitting in the early forties with a wind chill that made it a little uncomfortable for golfers and spectators alike.

Lydia Ko fired a bogey-free four-under-par 68 to seize a two-stroke lead after Saturday’s third round. “I played really solid,” Ko said. “There’s still a lot of golf to be played. I’m just going to enjoy it. I’m sure there are going to be nerves, wake up a couple times overnight, but that’s part of it. I’m going to take it all in and be excited to play one more round.”

Ally Ewing birdied three of the last five holes to shoot 68 and charge into third while Alexa Pano (67) moved up from tied for 5th to 2nd today. Here is the leaderboard at the end of the third round, 1st place Lydia Ko -12 (69 67 68). 2nd place Alexa Pano -10 (69 70 67). 3rd place Ally Ewing -8 (68 72 68) T 4th place Gemma Dryburgh -7 (70 68 71), Gaby Lopez -7 (67 71 71), and Ayala Furue -7 (75 71 73)

The Celebrities Leaderboard saw a dearth of activity with little or no movement during today’s round. 1st place Jeremy Roenick 107 (36 39 32). T 2nd place between Annika Sorenstam 105 (40 35 30) and Derek Lowe 105 (33 36 34). 4th place Jeff McNeil 103 (38 32 33). 5th place John Smotz 101 (29 35 37).


Unseasonably cold weather greeted the golfers for the second straight morning as temperatures dipped into the mid 30’s, with an added wind chill, from the cold north winds off Lake Nona, making it an uncomfortable morning for both golfers and fans.


As play continued into the latter stages of the tournament, it became obvious that the persistent cold winds were becoming more difficult. Lydia Ko -15 (Playing on her home course) seemed to be oblivious to the conditions around her as she continued to add to her lead. Defending Champion Brooke Henderson -10, and Alexa Pano-10 were doing their best to keep Lydia in sight.

Down the home stretch things started to get a little tighter for 2nd place between Henderson -10 (68) the leader in the clubhouse, Alexa Pano -11, and Ally Ewing -9, who jumped from -7 to -9, with and eagle on the 15th hole. Lydia Ko -15 was playing with both of them in the last threesome and sitting comfortably in the lead.

The winner of the 2024 LPGA Tournament of Champions was Lydia Ko -14 (69 67 68 70) 274. The 26-year-old New Zealand native, who turned professional in 2014, currently residence here at Lake Nona. Her Rolex ranking is 12th and career earnings are now $ 17,167,692, with today’s win, along with 20 career victories (2 Majors). She picked up a check for $225,000 and the 2024 Tournament of Champions’ trophy.

“Maybe if I had found the keys to my form that I found a little earlier, maybe I could have had a better season [last year]. I think if you keep going down a spiral of thinking like ‘what if’, it’s endless. I worked hard in the two weeks leading up to this event.” Lydia Ko’s response to a reporter’s question about her winning two tournaments in the past two months. [Grant Thornton Dec 23]

Alexa Pano -12 (69 70 67 70) 276 finished 2nd and picked up a check for $165,659. Brooke Henderson -10, (69 70 71 68) 278 finished in 3rd place for a $120,174 payday.

The 2024 Celebrities Tournament was won by Jeff McNeil 138, ($100,000). 2nd place was Annika Sorenstam 136, ($50,000). Tied for 3rd place were Derek Lowe 135 ($27,500) and Mark Mulder 135 ($27,500).

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