All in the Relationship: Defending Champions Show Up Early at Dow GLBI | LPGA
MIDLAND, Michigan | Positive relationships bring out the best in each of us. You always want to be a better person with your friends and relatives. At home, you want to do the best you can for your family. At work, you want to deliver for your teammates. And on the golf course, you always want to play well for your partner. In each of these situations, have someone you trust by your side; someone you know gives it your all; someone you trust and trust you, can make all the difference and lift you to heights you haven’t visited in quite some time.
Jasmine Suwannapura has two wins on the LPGA Tour, the 2018 Marathon Classic and the 2019 Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational. Suwannapura captured the inaugural game of this event with her partner Cydney Clanton. It was Clanton’s first and, to date, only career victory. Due to the pandemic and the cancellation of the Dow GLBI 2020, this dynamic duo, who gave themselves the All In team name, remain defending champions almost 24 months after hoisting the trophy at Midland Country Club.
Since then, Clanton has landed three top-10s, finishing sixth at the 2020 Gainbridge LPGA in Boca Rio and tied for ninth at the 2020 Marathon Classic and the 2021 KPMG PGA Women’s Championship.
Suwannapura had a good race but finished second behind Sophia Popov at the 2020 AIG Women’s Open. She also finished T9 last week at the Marathon Classic. But other than that, neither player sniffed the top of a leaderboard.
Still, they were there in the early afternoon in Michigan, answering questions about the 5 under par 65 they shot in a foursome (alternative shot) in the first round of this year’s Dow GLBI for , once again, take the lead.
“I think we trust each other a lot in each other’s games,” said Suwannapura. “When we play well, we are on the right track. But when you miss a shot, you feel like you’re touching. We say to ourselves “She has that” or “I have that”. Then we perform ascents and descents for the par. I think this is a big key for us.
Clanton jumped in, two friends who could almost complete their thoughts. “I think the same,” said the 31-year-old North Carolinian. “I think we are playing each other very well. Our putters were hot today. We put in a lot of really catchy putts which helped the momentum to move forward.
“We try not to apologize for anything because you are going to hit hard. And it’s like, okay, well, let’s just figure out what to do next and give ourselves a chance to either fix it or give ourselves another shot on the next hole.
Clanton used the royal “we”, but it was she who had the putter. She made several putts outside of the normal lag-it-up-close range, including a 43-footer on the 16th (their seventh hole of the day).
“So many holes,” said Suwannapura, remembering the putts Clanton made. “She made at least three birdies just off the green, so the fringe. I was like, ‘Just shut it up.’ But she rolled it in. I saw it roll around in the mug and I was like ‘Woohoo’.
Clanton also praised his partner. “Jasmine made crucial pars on the first two holes only,” she said. “My speed was a bit low on the first two holes, she just got it, she did amazing.
“When the putter is hot and you’re in that format, it makes it a bit easier. “
Neither has played a single quartet tour since that event in 2019. And although they have been paired up a few times and have played a practice round or two over the course of the last two years, they are by no means besties. “We compliment each other and we always shoot for each other,” Clanton said. “When [she] have a good week, the first thing I send is a good game and vice versa. When we see each other, it’s more, how was your week, how is it going. We’re both really good at uplifting each other, even when it’s just not this week.
It’s the kind of chemistry – supportive, friendly, but not too close – that leads to success.
“It was amazing, two years ago on Wednesday Jasmine played the first nine in the pro-am and she said, ‘You play the events,” Clanton said. “And that was it. like, ‘Okay.’ It’s been like that ever since. No way. I don’t wonder if I should play the events. She plays luck; I play at night. And we try to make the most of it.
“So far we’ve done it.”