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Dow Championship team event ideal week for LPGA players

Dow Championship team event ideal week for LPGA players

There’s something about team golf that, for many, brings out the best. Over the course of the past four editions of the Dow Championship, several winning teams have enjoyed a serious springboard.

Cydney Clanton was ranked 269th in the world and playing on the Epson Tour when Jasmine Suwannapura invited her to play the Dow in 2019. By week’s end, Clanton was an LPGA winner and back on the big tour after the pair won by six.

Last year, Elizabeth Szokol teamed up with good friend Cheyenne Knight to earn her first LPGA title at age 29.

For Sandra Gal and Maude-Aimee Leblanc, an opening 67 in the alternate-shot format at Midland Country Club gives the old friends reason to smile. Gal, who is coming back from a years-long battle with Lyme disease and recent hip surgery, reached out to Leblanc after hearing she needed a partner.

A dozen years ago, Gal was Leblanc’s “big sister” on tour, a rookie program the LPGA puts together to help young players adjust. Their team name, “The Shorties,” is tongue-in-cheek given that both players are at least 6 feet tall.

“I think we really complement each other, obviously,” said Gal. “Maude hits it very, very far, and I think I hit some good wedge shots coming in and then we both made a few putts. It just felt like we just trusted each other and really enjoyed being out there.”

Maude-Aimee Leblanc of Canada and Sandra Gal of Germany walk the eighth fairway during the first round of the Dow Championship at Midland Country Club on June 27, 2024, in Midland, Michigan. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Gal, 39, who has played a very limited schedule for the past four years, is currently No. 813 in the world while Leblanc is 386th. Gal made her first tour start since 2022 earlier this season at the Blue Bay LPGA, where she tied for 55th. She withdrew from the ShopRite and missed the cut at the Meijer two weeks ago. The German won her only LPGA title in 2011 at the Kia Classic. She played on two Solheim Cup teams in 2011 and 2015.

Leblanc, 35, hasn’t finished better than a share of 47th so far this season and has never won on tour.

LPGA members on the winning team will receive the standard two-year winner’s exemption. CME points and prize money will be official for the purposes of the current-year LPGA Official Money List and Race to the CME Globe Standings. Rolex Player of the Year, Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year and U.S. Solheim Cup points will not be allocated and statistics will not be…


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