Maja Stark became the seventh first-time winner on the LPGA this season with her commanding five-stroke triumph at the ISPS Handa World Invitational in Northern Ireland. The victory qualified Stark, a former standout at Oklahoma State, for immediate LPGA membership.
Stark has now won seven times worldwide since turning professional last summer.
Two of the seven first-time winners – Jennifer Kupcho and Ashleigh Buhai – won majors. Last week, Buhai became the 44th player to become a Rolex first-time winner at a major.
The record for most first-time winners in a season is 11, set in 1995. In 2018, there were 10: Jin Young Ko, Pernilla Lindberg, Moriya Jutanugarn, Annie Park, Nasa Hataoka, Thidapa Suwannapura, Georgia Hall, Marina Alex, Nelly Korda and Gaby Lopez.
Here’s a closer look at the seven first timers in 2022:
Jennifer Kupcho – USA
Jennifer Kupcho of the United States celebrates with The Dinah Shore Trophy after winning The Chevron Championship at The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa on April 3, 2022, in Rancho Mirage, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
The first woman to hoist a trophy at Augusta National became, perhaps, the last woman to take the leap into Poppie’s Pond at the Chevron Championship.
Jennifer Kupcho broke through with her first victory at a major championship and then followed it up victories at the Meijer LPGA Classic and Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, with Solheim Cup partner Lizette Salas.
Leona Maguire – Ireland
Leona Maguire of Ireland imitates a “selfie” as she poses with the trophy after winning the LPGA Drive On Championship at Crown Colony Golf & Country Club on February 5, 2022, in Fort Myers, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
Leona Maguire headed into the LPGA Drive On Championship in a tie with Marina Alex, and a final-round 67 helped her step into history as the first Irish woman to win on the LPGA.
Maguire led Europe to victory with 4.5 points at the 2021 Solheim Cup. A four-year player at Duke, she spent a record 135 weeks at the top of the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
Nanna Koerstz Madsen – Denmark
Nanna Koerstz Madsen poses with the trophy on the 18th green after winning the final round of Honda LPGA Thailand at Siam Country Club Pattaya Old Course on March 13, 2022, in Pattaya, Thailand. (Photo by Thananuwat Srirasant/Getty Images)
Nanna Koerstz Madsen began the final round in Thailand with an eagle and ended her day the same way, draining a 10-foot putt on the second playoff hole against Xiyu “Janet” Lin to secure her first LPGA title. Koerstz Madsen became the first player from Denmark to win on tour.
Koerstz Madsen set a new scoring record of 26-under 262 at the Honda LPGA Thailand. The very next week, she found herself in another playoff.
Atthaya Thitikul – Thailand
Atthaya Thitikul reacts on the final hole on the last day of the Honda LPGA Thailand at the Siam Country Club in Pattaya on May 9, 2021. (Photo by Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP via Getty Images)
Former Thai prodigy Atthaya Thitikul closed with an 8-under 64, the round of the week, on Sunday at Aviara Golf Club to work her way into a playoff with Denmark’s Koerstz Madsen at the JTBC Classic.
Rookie Thitikul, who made history when she won her first LET title at age 14, prevailed on the second playoff hole, locking up her first LPGA victory in just her fifth start of 2022.
Ayaka Furue – Japan
Ayaka Furue of Japan poses at the 18th green with the trophy as she wins the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open at Dundonald Links Golf Course on July 31, 2022, in Troon, Scotland. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)
Japan’s Ayaka Furue torched Dundonald Links on Sunday in Ayrshire, Scotland, firing a course record and tournament record of 10-under 62 to overcome a four-stroke deficit and capture her first LPGA victory at the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open.
Furue, a seven-time winner in Japan, became the second LPGA rookie to win on tour this season.
Ashleigh Buhai – South Africa
Ashleigh Buhai of South Africa poses with the AIG Women’s Open trophy on the eighteenth green after winning the playoff to become the 2022 AIG Women’s Open champion during Day Four of the AIG Women’s Open at Muirfield on August 7, 2022, in Gullane, Scotland. (Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images)
South Africa’s Ashleigh Buhai won in her 221st start on the LPGA and it proved well worth the wait. Buhai became the first female professional to win at historic Muirfield at the AIG Women’s British Open.
After a late triple-bogey on Sunday threatened to end her chances, the 33-year-old pulled off a spectacular up-and-down for par from a daunting bunker on the fourth playoff hole to ultimately defeat three-time major winner In Gee Chun as the skies darkened in Scotland.
Maja Stark - Sweden
Maja Stark of Sweden reacts after putting on the 13th hole during Day Four of the ISPS Handa World Invitational presented by AVIV Clinics at Galgorm Castle and Massereene Golf Clubs on August 14, 2022 in Co Antrim, Northern Ireland. (Photo by Oisin Keniry/Getty Images)
Maja Stark put together a supreme Sunday performance that resulted in her first LPGA title and seventh worldwide since she turned professional last August. The former Oklahoma State standout closed with a course-record 63 at the ISPS Handa World Invitational to win by five and earn LPGA membership. The 22-year-old Swede carded 10 birdies in the final round.
Stark leads the Race to Costa del Sol on the LET.