Olympic Bound Duo Capture Dow Championship in First Appearance as Teammates

    icon Jul 01, 2024
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It came down to the last putt, but Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul and the People’s Republic of China’s Ruoning Yin won the Dow Championship by one stroke in Sunday’s four-ball action at Midland Country Club.

Starting the final round in a tie for second, the Olympic-bound duo got off to a hot start, recording three straight birdies on Nos. 2, 3 and 4 and adding two more on holes seven and nine to take some momentum into the back nine.

Unfortunately, that momentum slowed down, and with just three birdies to account for on the back, team Ping-Pals, comprised of Ally Ewing and Jennifer Kupcho, were able to make a surge back up the leaderboard, eventually trading blows with Yin and Thitikul as played came to an end.

After No. 14, the two teams really began to take their shots at one another. Kupcho and Ewing grabbed back-to-back birdies on Nos. 14 and 15 compared to Yin and Thitikul’s pars to keep pace. Nos. 16 and 17 were a wash as both teams secured a pair of pars heading into the pivotal par-3 18th hole. Thitikul stuck it on the green and stared down a putt to win the championship. With the newly-redesigned Dow Championship trophy on the line, Thitikul left no doubt and sunk the birdie putt to give Jin and Ronic a one-stroke lead over the Ping-Pals.

Yin and Thitkul finished 22-under-par with rounds of 64-66-66-62. The win counts as an official tour victory for both partners.

Ewing and Kupcho, meanwhile, finished one stroke back with scores of 64-64-67-64. Two teams finished tied for third with 19-under par: Nicole Broch Estrup and Nanna Koerst Madsen along with the duo of Haeii Kang and In Kyung Kim.

The Dow Championship is the first team event played for official money and points and became the first fully GEO Certified® sustainable tournament on the LPGA Tour since its inception in 1950. The tournament is played with 72 two-woman teams competing in a 72-hole stroke play format with alternating rounds of foursomes (alternate shot) and four-ball (best ball) with a $3 million purse.

Australian LPGA Tour winner Grace Kim made a hole-in-one during the second round of the Dow Championship on Friday. The 23-year-old aced the par-3 7th hole at Midland Country Club, holing out from 145 yards with her 7-iron to record the first hole-in-one of both her life and her LPGA Tour career on day two of the Dow Championship.

Dow in the National Sports Spotlight

Dow was in the national sports spotlight this year after the event, now in its fifth year, changed its name from the Dow Great Lakes Bay Championship to simply the Dow Championship. The host sponsor has signed up for another five years.

“This tournament gives us a really great platform to showcase Dow to the world, but also the power of teammate and the power of collaboration,” said Dow Chairman/CEO Jim Fitterling.

“We have a great set of values that align well with the LPGA. Teamwork is a big part of what we do and collaboration to innovate for our customers. We had upwards of 200 customers, merchants, and supplies here with us this week and focused on everything from innovative new products to best practices on sustainability; how we create an inclusive environment at work and how that translates into really being much closer to our customers and delivering value for them.”

When asked about the 5-year anniversary of the event, Fitterling said, “We’ve had some fantastic crowds and fantastic sponsors out here. They help us to give back more than $2 million. We’ll cross the $2-million mark this year to charities. There are 36 charities that teamed up with the teams this week. It’s generated over $50 billion in economic impact for the region (over the past five years) and I think these numbers will be big this year as well.”

“We try to utilize a lot of local content when we put the program together and then we want to make it into a big community event,” Fitterling added. “We couldn’t do what we do without the support of all of our partners from the educational institutions to our suppliers, to our contractors that work with us, everybody that is part of Dow and part of our 127-year history; So, it’s a great week for us. It gets our name out there and attracts people and we’re just proud to be partnered with the LPGA. It’s a great partnership and we’re looking forward to the next five years.”

Tournament Features New Events

The Dow Championship tournament committee did a really nice job of incorporating new and different events into the tourney. Similar to the Saginaw Spirit’s Memorial Cup tournament, the event planners felt the need to honor area military personnel with their own special suite seating.

The week-long event featured more than golf. It includes an official LPGA Tour Pro-Am Tournament, STEM Center, youth related programming, Eat Great Trail and leadership events.

Tournament officials did a really nice job with its transportation. Since the Midland Country Club is in the middle of a residential neighborhood, busses brought both the media and fans to the tournament from parking lots at Dow Diamond and Midland High School. The bicycle rack at MCC was packed daily. Tournament events consisted of the following:

Monday – Rock the Block presented by Dow Credit Union in Downtown Midland. Practice rounds were closed to the public.

Tuesday – Garber Day, which benefitted the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The First Tee Junior Clinic, presented by Wilson, was held at Currie Golf Course. The Champion’s Party was presented by Univar Solutions.

Wednesday – Lavender Pro-Am Day benefitted Cancer Services. The Pro-Am Tournament was presented by Enterprise Productions. The Nascar Unveiling and Dow SOAR Fireside Chat were also held on Wednesday.

Thursday – Benefitted the Delta College Planetarium. There was a Veteran’s Pancake Breakfast and free samples from the Lemonade Stand Squeeze the Day and Flavored Water Stand Infuse the Day, while Tri-Star Trust sponsored Autograph Alley.

Friday – The Dow Employee Experience Day benefitted Saginaw Children’s Zoo. Veteran’s Happy Hour was held in a hospitality suite inside Midland Country Club.

Saturday – Benefitting Special Olympics Michigan, Yoga on the Green + Chair Yoga was presented by MyMichigan Health. There was a Special Olympics 3-Hole Challenge presented by TaylorMade.

Sunday – Benefitting YWCA Great Lakes Bay Region, there was a Veteran’s Ice Cream Sundae Bar and a Kid’s Ice Cream giveaway.

Peacock Live and the Golf Channel provided television coverage and camera angles made Midland Country Club look extremely inviting.

Michigan Weather is Michigan Weather

Golfers and fans alike were treated to just about everything that Michigan weather had to offer. Rain pelted the course on a couple of days and winds picked up on Friday, making it downright chilly. Some fans actually turned to winter coats. Saturday’s weather was hot (mid-80s) and muggy. Championship Sunday offered perfect conditions and temperatures hovering between 75-78 degrees throughout the day.





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