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No CME sponsor invites for Sophia Popov or Jin Young Ko; both must play their way in at U.S. Women's Open

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HOUSTON ­– The last two events on the LPGA’s 2020 calendar are worth a combined $8.5 million in prize money. The winner of this week’s U.S. Women’s Open earns $1 million and next week’s CME Group Tour Championship gets $1.1 million. Needless to say, it’s a big finish.

Sophia Popov, the 2020 AIG Women’s British Open winner and World No. 1 Jin Young Ko need strong finishes this week at Champions Golf Club to earn their starts in Naples, Florida. The field at the CME was increased to 72 this year (up from 60 last year) and two sponsor exemptions were added. Those exemptions went to CME ambassador Sarah Kemp and veteran Natalie Gulbis.

Popov would need at least a 14th-place finish at the Women’s Open to have a chance at making the field at the CME. She opened with a 2-under 69 at the Cypress Creek Course and sits in a share of fifth place.

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“It was a great year for me, and it’s something that I would have loved to play CME just because it’s Naples, it’s my hometown, and every year I’ve been there watching the girls and watching my friends,” said Popov. “I felt like this year I definitely deserved to be there, and I’m still not in. I have to wait another year … or not. Let’s see how the next three days go.”

Ko spent most of 2020 back home in South Korea competing on the KLPGA. She returned to the LPGA at the Pelican Women’s Championship last month and is making her third start of the year this week in Houston. Ko shot 2-over 73 on Cypress and is T-55. She needs to finish in the top 4 this week to have a chance.

Ally Ewing ranks fifth on the CME points list but won’t be in the field due to her brother’s wedding. Marina Alex will miss as well due to injury. That puts Brittany Lincicome and Maria Torres as the last two in the field through the Volunteers of America Classic.

Other notable names currently outside the top 70 include: Angel Yin, Annie Park, Sung Hyun Park and Morgan Pressel.

original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2020/12/10/cme-sponsor-sophia-popov-jin-young-ko-us-womens-open/

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