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Ko, LPGA Tour stars tee it up for Gold in Rio

Female golfers take center stage at the Rio Olympics this week. 

The 72-hole competition begins Wednesday with the Gold, Silver and Bronze medals up for grabs. If the Women’s Golf Competition finds the same final-round drama that the Men’s Golf Competition in Rio did last week, expect a bump in the game’s popularity among active and beginning players.

Among the contenders for medals this week is Rolex Ranking World No. 1 Lydia Ko of New Zealand. Ko, who has 14 LPGA Tour victories including a two major championships is the betting favorite at 3-to-1 odds, according to www.skybet.com. Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn sits at 6-1 after surging in 2016.

Jutanugarn, who won three straight weeks in May, captured the RICOH Women’s British Open in late July and is now 2nd in the world rankings.

Lexi Thompson, No. 4 in the Rolex Ranking with 11 worldwide victories, is the top-ranked American in the field. She is listed at 12-1 odds to win the Gold.

Lexi tees it up Wednesday in round one action alongside Canada’s Brooke Henderson, who won a major this year and ranks 3rd, and Suzann Pettersen of Norway. The trio tees it up at 9:14 a.m. local time in Rio.

The final group at 11:09 a.m. features Ko, Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist and England’s Charley Hull.

Other Golf News: 

  • For a longer shot wager, consider Korea’s Amy Yang, who is 6th in the world rankings. She is listed at 18-1 odds. Inbee Park, a whopping 50-1 pick, is competing after battling injury for much of the season. Park is a 7-time major champion and the youngest ever to quality for the World Golf Hall of Fame.
  • The PGA Tour tees is up Thursday for its final regular season stop hosting the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, North PGA TOURCarolina. It’s the final opportunity for players to quality for the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Only the Top 125 in the season-long race advance to play next week. Patrick Reed, who competed in the Olympics last week, is the headliner and betting favorite at 16-1. Jim Furyk, Rickie Fowler (who closed with 64 in Rio) and last week’s winner Ryan Moore are also in Greensboro.
  • The European Tour returns to action this week for the C+C Real Czech Masters. Lee Westwood, Matthew Fitzpatrick and defending champion Thomas Pieters are in the field along with Andy Sullivan and Jamie Donaldson.