Uncover the essential highlights of the 2023 Chevron Championship, featuring Lilia Vu’s triumph and valuable course insights.
The Club at Carlton Woods (Jack Nicklaus Signature Course)
6,824; par 72
269 – Dottie Pepper (1999)
$5.1 million (2022)
The Chevron Championship is the tournament that started its life as the Colgate Dinah Shore in 1972 and continued under various title sponsors. It was played at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California, until Chevron, which took over sponsorship in 2022, moved the event to The Club at Carlton Woods in The Woodlands, Texas, in 2023.
The tournament, with its large purse and network television coverage, has been one of the top LPGA events since its inception and received official major championship status in 1983. Chevron increased the purse from $3.1 million to $5 million and then $5.1 million since taking over sponsorship.
The Jack Nicklaus Signature Course opened in 2001 at The Club at Carlton Woods, which also has a course designed by Tom Fazio. The course winds through a naturally wooded area with tree-lined fairways and takes advantage of natural ponds and water features. It’s a longer course than the event’s longtime site, Mission Hills, with one notable similarity. The 18th hole is a par five with water in front of the green, providing a stage for a dramatic finish. Instead of a small pond directly in front of the green as at Mission Hills, it’s a larger body of water that also comes into play on the left side on a layup second shot. The hole can be set up at 491 yards, making it more enticing to go for the green in two, or 525 yards.
How Lilia Vu won in 2023
Lilia Vu birdied the 17th and 18th holes, waited to see that she made it into a playoff, and birdied the first extra hole to claim her first major title and second LPGA Tour victory at age 25. Vu was four strokes behind entering the final round before shooting a 68 that matched the best round of the day, while the 10 players ahead of her starting the day shot between 71 and 77. Vu finished at 10-under 278. Thailand’s Atthaya Thitikul was 10-under through 17 holes before she hit her third shot into the water on the par-5 18th and double bogeyed. Nelly Korda eagled the 18th hole, but it came too late as it only got her to 9-under and a third-place finish. In the last group of the day, Angel Yin bogeyed 16 and 17, but reached a playoff with Vu with a birdie on 18. The pair headed back to 18 for the playoff. This time, Yin hit her second shot into the water. Vu hit her second shot over the green, chipped to 10 feet and made the putt for a winning birdie.
- Vu was the No.1-ranked woman amateur in the world in 2018 and was a standout in college at UCLA. Her pro career got off to a slow start before she reached the LPGA Tour in 2022 and scored her first LPGA victory in February of 2023.
- At the previous site of the tournament, Mission Hills Country Club in California, it had become a tradition for the winner to jump into Poppie’s Pond in front of the 18th green. Vu carried on that tradition by jumping into the water next to the 18th green at the Club at Carlton Woods.
- Angel Yin was still looking for her first LPGA Tour victory, but she posted her second runner-up finish at a major championship (2019 U.S. Women’s Open).
This was first published in Essential Golf – you can read the complete magazine here.