By SCOTT COTTOS
SYLVANIA — Some of the world’s top women golfers don’t consider a tightening of the LPGA Tour’s dress code to be the big deal that others are making it out to be.
Points made in an email from LPGA President Vicki Goetze-Ackerman last week have gone into effect in this week’s Marathon LPGA Classic at Highland Meadows Golf Club. The tournament started Thursday and will run through Sunday.
Among items in the email were a ban of leggings and “plunging necklines” and a ruling that skirts must be long enough to cover the “bottom area, even if covered by under shorts at any time, standing or bent over.”
The LPGA has come under attack on social media, and the British group Women in Sport said: “We should always focus on the talent and athleticism of our female sport stars as opposed to their appearance. Women and girls should wear what makes them feel comfortable when taking part in sport and should not be deterred by unnecessary dress codes.”
World fourth-ranked Lydia Ko is among those who aren’t worried about the dress code.
“It’s more like a reminder than saying, ‘Hey, this is such a big deal about it,'” she said.
“I honestly don’t understand the kick-back we had from addressing the issues we had on this tour because I think we needed it, to be honest,” 11-time tour winner Stacy Lewis, a Toledo native, said. “I’ve had a title sponsor say to me something about what somebody was wearing on the golf course, you know, and when your title sponsor sees that, they’re the one paying the bills, and we … need to address that and make sure that we come across as a professional organization.”
Said world No. 8 Brooke Henderson: “You know, it really doesn’t affect me too much. I wear long pants and T-shirts, so for me it doesn’t really matter, but maybe some of the other girls will pay a little more attention.”
COMEBACK KID? Defending champion Ko has a lot of work to do to get into contention, let alone win the Marathon LPGA Classic for a third time.
The 20-year-old Ko, who also won at Highland Meadows in 2014, struggled to a first-round, 2-over-par 73.
“I had some good looks at birdies, and actually a lot of putts were good at one stage but kind of peeled off,” she said. “So, when the putts aren’t dropping and you’re not hitting the ball fantastic, it’s going to be not the greatest score. But there’s always tomorrow, so hopefully I’ll get a few things better for tomorrow’s round.”
PRIDE OF TOLEDO: Lewis checked in with a first-round 69, which put her in early contention to claim a tournament she would dearly love to win for the first time.
She admitted to not going into her round with a great deal of energy, but one of the always-large galleries that follow her at Highland Meadows gave her a boost.
“It definitely helps you through,” said Lewis, who always has family and friends donning “Lew Crew” T-shirts for the tournament. “I wanted to give them something else to cheer for, but still, it was solid. I made a bunch of pars. Good, solid golf.”
SO-SO START: Henderson, the 19-year-old Canadian star who again will join Lewis and In Gee Chun today in one of the high-profile groups of the first two rounds, will aim to improve on a first-round 70.
“Everything was steady, but nothing really stood out as perfect,” she said. “I would like to make a few more putts. Hopefully, tomorrow I’ll just hit it a little closer and make it easier on my putter.”
ATTENTION TO DETAIL: Many little parts add up to the whole of having a proper golf swing, and Brittany Altomare illustrated that vividly on the practice range on Wednesday, continually stopping to check various body and club positions before going ahead and hitting a shot.
That’s not at all unusual for a pro golfer.
“Just checking on some things and making corrections where I can so everything’s in check before tomorrow,” said the 26-year-old former all-America performer at Virginia, who has recorded top-30 showings in her last three tournaments.
Altomare converted her work into an even-par 71 in Thursday’s first round.
“I had a lot of birdies and bogeys,” said Altomare, who recorded five of each. “But I think it’s good that I’m seeing the birdies, so hopefully I can have a cleaner round tomorrow.”
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