Nasa Hataoka, Cognizant Founders Cup, Founders Cup, LPGA
Nasa Hataoka is in third place after Day 1 of the LPGA Cognizant Founders Cup. (Photo by Christopher Shannon - JSN)

Cognizant Founders Cup Kicks Off With Close Race for First Place

Since the Cognizant Founders Cup began in 2011, the competition has only grown to become more challenging each year. When it first began the prize was money to be donated towards charity to now, where the purse is three million dollars to the winner. The Founder Cup has truly been amazing as a leading cause in the growth of girls and women's golf. The tour started to honor the past, present, and future of the LPGA by encouraging young girls to play through the United States Golf Association. 

Two-time Founders Cup Champion, Jin Young Ko. (Photo by Michaela Alfano - JSN)


Going into this year's tournament 144 elite women golfers are set to take on Upper Montclair Country Club's beautiful course. Throughout the weekend the tournament will honor Shirley Spork, which started early this morning with a Ceremonial First Tee Shot on Thursday at 7 a.m., featuring LPGA&USGA Girls Golf eLeader Bella Scanapicco along with World Golf and LPGA Hall of Fame member Nancy Lopez. There will also be video boards through UMCC that will run Shirley’s photo, and will touch on her love of golf, ducks and blue and yellow. This will tie things back to a “yellow out” on Saturday, which would have been her 95th birthday.

Brittany Linicome spoke about Spork saying, “Just to see how much she loved the game and to have her out a lot of times and to see her, it really was super special. It was really great to get to know her over the years. Obviously, going to miss her very much because she was such a great part of the game and really meant a lot to the game.” 


Day one of the Founders Cup got off to a quick start, not even the wind could deter the excitement of kicking off the event. The competition was close throughout the day but as round one of the cup came to a close Madelene Sagstrom led the grow, -9 under par with a score of 63. The 63 is her best first-round score recorded on Tour, beating her previous record by two strokes – 65, recorded twice, and most recently at the 2020 ISPS Handa Vic Open.

“It was one of those days. Like everything was easy. It's like I was hitting the fairways, hitting the greens, and I was making all the putts. The hole just kept growing,” said Sagstrom, whose 63 is one off her career-best 18 holes. “I told my caddie, Shane, I was like, you know, everything feels like tap-ins today. It's one of those days. You just trying to hold on to momentum and just keep it going.”

Right behind Sagstrom is American Megan Khang who most recently finished in a tie for third at the Palos Verdes Championship. She was just one behind Sagstrom with a 64 which ties her career-best 18 holes. Nasa Hataoka sits in solo third at her fourth Founders Cup after a 7-under 65, highlighted by an eagle on her second hole of the day. 

From there the leader board closed up with three players in a tie for fourth – Giulia Molinaro, Amy Yang, and Bianca Pagdanganan – at -6. Bianca Pagdanganan, who recently suffered tendonitis causing to miss some of the tour the last two starts, had an incredible morning hitting 10 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens while showing off her solid ball-striking abilities. Seven players are tied for seventh at -5, including major champions Lexi Thompson and Minjee Lee.

Defending champion Jin Young Ko posted a 3-under 69 to sit in a tie for 22nd after day one. New Jersey native Marina Alex ended her first day of the tournament +2, scoring a 74 on the course. Young phenom and sponsor invite Anna Davis sits at a tie for 37, shooting -2 for her first round of the tournament.

Day two begins bright and early tomorrow which Anna Davis is ready for saying, “ I'm a lot more confident going into tomorrow than I was going into the second day two weeks ago.” 



Friday, May 13 the excitement will continue with the LPGA Cognizant Founders Cup  airing on the Golf Channel from 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. It can also be found on the NBC Sports App. You can follow the Cognizant Founders Cup even more on social media Tournament: @LPGAfounders (Twitter, Instagram) and LPGA Tour: @LPGA and @LPGAMedia (Twitter), @lpga_tour (Instagram).


TV TIMES (all times Eastern)

Friday, May 13 – 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. (Golf Channel)

Saturday, May 14 – 5-7 p.m. (Golf Channel)

Sunday, May 15 – 12-1 p.m. (Golf Channel), 1-3 p.m. (CBS)


STREAMING TIMES (all times Eastern)

Friday, May 13 – 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. ( Sports App)

Saturday, May 14 – 4-7 p.m. ( Sports App)

Sunday, May 15 – 12-1 p.m. ( Sports App); 1-3 p.m. (Paramount+)

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