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2023 Grant Thornton Invitational: Power Rankings, Defending Champion, Prize Money, and Major Details

Published 12/03/2023, 2:40 AM EST

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The golfing world is in for an exciting week. The community is set to witness the Grant Thornton Invitational on December 8 at the Tiburon Golf Club at the Ritz Carlton Golf Resort in Naples. The event is a much-anticipated one, being the first of its kind since the 1999 JC Penney Classic in the sport of golf, co-sanctioned by both the women’s and men’s golf circuits.

The mixed-team Challenge Season event would spot a total of 32 golfers, 16 each from the LPGA Tour and PGA Tour. Moreover, the sixteen squads would duke it out against each other in a unique team-play format for an equal prize purse of $4 million (split into 2 million each for the men and the women). Here’s all you need to know about the various details of the tournament, including the top teams that are set to take part in it!

Top contenders for the 2023 Grant Thornton Invitational

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The golfing fans would find themselves rooting for the team of professionals as the mixed team, consisting of one female and one male athlete, pairs up to face off against similar teams on the greens. Moreover, the sporting world would be able to witness 32 professionals whose career wins number a total of 141 from both the LPGA and PGA tours on the greens. Let us take a look at the team of pros who are set to fight for the glory to lift the first-ever title of winners for the event since there are no defending champions for the same.

1. Ludvig Aberg and Madelene Sagström: Fresh off a win from the RSM Classic scoring 29-under 253, the 24-year-old Aberg has teamed up with Sagström, who is currently ranked at No. 59 on the Rolex Rankings. The Swedish duo has managed to represent their country successfully in the year during the Ryder Cup and the Solheim Cup that took place a while back, boasting records of 1-1-1 and 2-2-0, respectively. Moreover, the PGA Tour Pro boasts a total of four top-10 finishes, including his last two tournaments, consisting of the RSM Classic win and a T10 at the World Wide Technology Championship.

2. Lucas Glover and Leona Maguire: Glover boasts a total of two victories in 2023 at the Wyndham Championship and the FedEx St. Jude Championship, scoring 265 (-15), which took place three months ago. Moreover, the world No. 31 on the OWGR has teamed up with the Irish pro, who herself has garnered four top-10 finishes in the year, including a win at the Meijer LPGA Classic and a T7 finish at the Ascendant LPGA Benefiting Volunteers of America in October. Together, the winning Solheim Cup star and the 1X major winner would surely prove to be a menace to others on the course.

3. Nelly Korda and Tony Finau: Although Korda does not have any victories in the season except at the Aramco Team Series London, she has finished a total of ten times inside the top 10 in 2023, her latest coming off the CME Group Tour Championship at T8 with 270 (-18) and the Maybank Championship LPGA at T6 with 271 (-17) after putting up an amazing performance at the biennial tournament. Moreover, the golfer has managed to cement her place at the top of the world rankings as the current No. 4 team up with Finau, who has also won just once this season. Together, the Grant Thornton ambassadors would look to finish the inaugural event on a high note.

4. Sahith Theegala and Rose Zhang: The youngest athletes in the tournament, 25 and 20 years old, respectively, would hope to make it big in the event. The male golfer clinched his first PGA Tour victory at the Fortinet Championship, the first event of the FedEx Fall season, while his teammate won her first LPGA title at the Mizuho Americas Open earlier this year. The young guns are undoubtedly a fan favorite to win the event.

5. Rickie Fowler and Lexi Thompson: The seventh woman to play on the PGA Tour and the current World No. 31 on the Rolex Rankings has teamed up with Fowler, who is currently in the 23rd position on the OWGR. Despite an amazing performance at the Solheim Cup, Thompson couldn’t help her team clinch the title. Nevertheless, she managed to garner three top-10 positions in the four events that she played following the biennial tournament, leading to the ANNIKA Driven by Gainbridge at Pelican, where she finished T7. Teamed up with the 34-year-old male golfer in Jessica Korda’s place after she was forced to withdraw, they are indubitably a force to be reckoned with at the event.

The unique format of the event at the Tiburón Golf Club in Naples

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The inaugural edition of the co-sanctioned tournament boasts a multi-format approach during the three days, including Friday scrambles, Saturday foursomes, and a modified fourball in the final round. However, in the new version, both players switch to their teammate’s ball following their respective tee shot, after which they go ahead and play until it is holed. And only the lowest score of the two on the exceptional course would be considered at the end.

The Tiburon Golf Club has a total of two courses, the Black and the Gold. The former opened in 2001, while the latter was designed and built in 1998. Moreover, conventional bunkers are absent in the layout, leading to the fairways being lined with pine straw. And the innovative yet beautiful grounds were designed by none other than Greg Norman.

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The community is surely in for a treat, with a one-of-a-kind format and event slowly reaching the golf world. Who do you think would take home the trophy from this wonderful course? Let us know in the comments below.

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Written by:

Allan Abe

1,196Articles

One take at a time

My search for happiness eventually led me, Allan Abe, to the hallways of ES after dabbling in different fields. Following my childhood passion for the sport and coupling it with my passion for writing, the role of a golf writer was the perfect career path and has been more than a fruitful one. Through the live coverage and in-depth analysis of the lives of big stars like Tiger Woods and Jon Rahm, I have put to use all my journalistic-accolade-winning experience, from state-wide events to college competitions, to give the reader a great story with every piece.
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Edited by:

Sheldon Pereira

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