LPGA Announces 2018 Schedule

LPGA continues momentum with 34 events in 14 countries, for a record $68.75M in prize money

 

Tour to add stops in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Shanghai

 

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Dec. 13, 2017 – The LPGA continues its upward momentum with record prize money and three new events in 2018, setting the stage for another season to remember for the world’s best female golfers and the sustained global growth of the LPGA Tour.

 

The 2018 LPGA schedule features 34 events across 14 countries, including two new events on the West Coast of the United States, for a record $68.75 million in prize money. In addition to the season’s five majors, which deliver more than $18M alone, the UL International Crown at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea promises to be one of the most sought-after tickets in the history of women’s golf.

 

“Perhaps the most important aspect of our schedule is the consistency — continuing to deliver strong playing opportunities both in North America and around the world, while growing overall purse levels every year,” said LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan. “There is simply no better Tour opportunity in the world, when it comes to purses, global TV coverage or strength of field. It’s an exciting time in women’s golf, with the best players from every corner of the globe competing against each other in virtually every event.”

 

2018 HIGHLIGHTED BY THREE NEW TOURNAMENTS, OPTIMIZED LAYOUT

While two events have exited the schedule and a third has been pushed to spring 2019, players will have three exciting new opportunities to compete, including two full-field events that fill out a swing around the West Coast of the United States.

 

After the LPGA’s standard week off following the ANA Inspiration, the Tour will return to Oahu, Hawaii, for the LOTTE Championship on April 11-14. The Tour then moves to the greater Los Angeles area on April 19-22 for the inaugural HUGEL-JTBC Championship. The host club for the tournament will be announced in early 2018.

 

The following week, on April 26-29, the Tour heads north to the Bay Area and a return to Lake Merced Golf Club for a new event sponsored by Korean skincare company L&P Cosmetic. Lake Merced, located just outside San Francisco, hosted the Swinging Skirts LPGA Championship in 2014-16, but that sponsorship moved to the Tour’s event in Taipei in 2017. The official tournament name will be announced in early 2018.

 

“These two new events are perfect additions to our schedule,” said Whan. “We believe they will offer terrific playing opportunities in wonderful golf environments, and make it more enticing for our players by strengthening this West Coast swing. They create a great four-week stretch that starts in Hawaii and finishes in Texas with our always exciting Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic, which is now being played at a new venue, Old American Golf Club.”

 

Additionally, a new event to be held in Shanghai, the LPGA’s only tournament on the mainland of China, will join the calendar on Oct. 18-21 as part of the LPGA’s Fall Asian Swing. Further details about this new tournament, including the title and course, will be announced in 2018. The Fall Asian Swing will open Sept. 27-30 in Kuala Lumpur for the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, before heading to the Republic of Korea for back-to-back weeks in Incheon at the UL International Crown and LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship.

 

The LPGA Tour expects to have more than 400 hours of domestic broadcast coverage on Golf Channel and network TV in 2018, with more than 450 hours available in 175 countries around the world. With domestic TV ratings that continue to climb annually, up 19% in 2017, the 2018 season is sure to continue to entertain and inspire golf fans around the globe.

 

UL INTERNATIONAL CROWN HEADS TO KOREA

Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in Incheon, Korea, will host the third staging of the UL International Crown on Oct. 4-7. This marks the first time that the competition, which features the best female golfers from the top eight countries across the globe, will be staged outside the USA. Record crowds are expected to line the fairways, and Korean legend Se Ri Pak will serve as the competition’s honorary director.

 

The eight countries to compete in the UL International Crown will be set following the U.S. Women’s Open, while the top four players in those countries after the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship will receive the honor of representing their homelands.

 

The UL International Crown was first held in 2014 at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Md., where the Spanish team of Carlota Ciganda, Belen Mozo, Azahara Munoz and Beatriz Recari won all four singles matches on the final day to become the inaugural champions. Two years later, a powerful United States lineup of Cristie Kerr, Stacy Lewis, Gerina Piller and Lexi Thompson came from behind to win the prestigious title at Merit Club near Chicago.

 

MAJOR GLORY, AWARD ON THE LINE

The LPGA season’s five major championships always provide breathtaking drama, the quest for personal glory and the pursuit of the Rolex ANNIKA Major Award. On March 29 to April 1, the ANA Inspiration will take its traditional position as the first major of the professional golf season. Players will again wave to the iconic Dinah Shore statue that welcomes competition to the 18th green at Mission Hills Country Club’s Dinah Shore Course in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

 

Starting in 2018, the U.S. Women’s Open Championship, conducted by the United States Golf Association, moves from early July to a permanent spot in late May or early June. From May 31 to June 3, players from around the world will compete at Shoal Creek in Alabama for a $5 million purse, the largest of the LPGA Tour season.

 

On June 28 to July 1, the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship goes back to Illinois, this time to the North Side of Chicago and Kemper Lakes Golf Club, site of the 1989 PGA Championship won by Payne Stewart. One month later, on Aug. 2-5, the Tour is off to the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Royal Lytham and St Annes in Lancashire, England. The 120-year-old course has hosted 11 Open Championships and four Women’s British Opens, most recently Catriona Matthew’s victory in 2009, which came just 11 weeks after giving birth.

 

The LPGA’s major season will end Sept. 13-16 at The Evian Championship in Evian-les-Bains, France, with a purse elevated to $3.85 million, an increase of $200,000. In 2018, the tournament will be played in the same mid-September slot it has held since 2013, when it first received major status. However, Whan has already voiced the Tour’s intent to return The Evian Championship to a summer date as early as the 2019 Tour season.

 

The Evian Championship also serves as the culmination of the Rolex ANNIKA Major Award. Named for 10-time major champion Annika Sorenstam, the honor is bestowed on the player who, during the current LPGA season, has the most outstanding major championship record. So Yeon Ryu won the 2017 ANA Inspiration en route to capturing the Rolex ANNIKA Major Award, joining Michelle Wie (2014), Inbee Park (2015) and Lydia Ko (2016) as award recipients.

 

ALREADY LOOKING TO 2019

With 2017 not even over, it is never too early to look even further ahead to 2019. The MCKAYSON New Zealand Women’s Open will take a hiatus for 2018 and move to spring 2019, making a logical pair with the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.

 

The planned date adjustment of The Evian Championship will create a mid-summer European Swing, paired with the newly renamed Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open and the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

 

And in even more exciting news, the LPGA Tour has three new events – two with unique formats – already on the docket for 2019. More information on those events will be announced in the future.

 

SUCCESSFUL CORPORATE SPONSORSHIP DRIVING TOUR CONSISTENCY

A major factor in the continuing growth and stability of the LPGA is the development of a flourishing corporate partnership program. As announced at last month’s CME Group Tour Championship, the CME Group will continue the title sponsorship of the Tour’s season-ending event and the Race to the CME Globe through 2023. This partnership with the CME Group is just one of 23 new Title Sponsors that have been added to the LPGA portfolio in the last six years. The 2017 season alone also saw the LPGA join forces with six new Official Marketing Partners, with 14 companies partnering with the LPGA in the last three years.

 

2018 LPGA Schedule (bold = majors; italics = new event; ** = unofficial money)

Date Title Location Purse
Jan. 25-28 Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic Ocean Club

Paradise Island, Bahamas

$1.4M
Feb. 15-18 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open Kooyonga G.C.

Adelaide, Australia

$1.3M
Feb. 21-24 Honda LPGA Thailand Siam C.C.

Chonburi, Thailand

$1.6M
March 1-4 HSBC Women’s World Championship Sentosa G.C.

Singapore

$1.5M
March 15-18 Bank of Hope Founders Cup Wildfire G.C. at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa
Phoenix, Arizona
$1.5M
March 22-25 Kia Classic Aviara G.C.

Carlsbad, California

$1.8M
March 29 – April 1 ANA Inspiration Mission Hills C.C.

Rancho Mirage, California

$2.8M
April 11-14 LOTTE Championship Ko Olina G.C.

Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii

$2M
April 19-22 HUGEL-JTBC Championship Course to be Announced

Greater Los Angeles, California

$1.5M
April 26-29 Name to be Announced Lake Merced G.C.

San Francisco, California

$1.5M
May 3-6 Volunteers of America
LPGA Texas Classic
Old American G.C.

The Colony, Texas

$1.3M
May 17-20 Kingsmill Championship Kingsmill Resort

Williamsburg, Virginia

$1.3M
May 24-27 LPGA Volvik Championship Travis Pointe C.C.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
$1.3M
May 31 – June 3 U.S. Women’s Open Championship conducted by the USGA Shoal Creek

Shoal Creek, Alabama

$5M
June 8-10 ShopRite LPGA Classic
presented by Acer
Stockton Seaview Hotel and G.C. Galloway, New Jersey $1.75M
June 14-17 Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give Blythefield C.C.

Grand Rapids, Michigan

$2M
June 22-24 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G Pinnacle C.C.

Rogers, Arkansas

$2M
June 28 – July 1 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship Kemper Lakes G.C.

Kildeer, Illinois

$3.65M
July 5-8 Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic Thornberry Creek at Oneida

Oneida, Wisconsin

$2M
July 12-15 Marathon Classic
presented by Owens-Corning and O-I
Highland Meadows G.C.

Sylvania, Ohio

$1.6M
July 26-29 Aberdeen Standard Investments
Ladies Scottish Open
Gullane G.C.

East Lothian, Scotland

$1.5M
Aug. 2-5 Ricoh Women’s British Open Royal Lytham & St Annes

Lancashire, England

$3.25M
Aug. 16-19 Indy Women in Tech Championship presented by Guggenheim Brickyard Crossing G.C.

Indianapolis, Indiana

$2M
Aug. 23-26 CP Women’s Open Wascana C.C.

Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

$2.25M
Aug. 30 – Sept. 2 Cambia Portland Classic Columbia Edgewater C.C.

Portland, Oregon

$1.3M
Sept. 13-16 The Evian Championship Evian Resort G.C.

Evian-les-Bains, France

$3.85M
Sept. 27-30 Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia TPC Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

$1.8M
Oct. 4-7 UL International Crown Jack Nicklaus G.C. Korea

Incheon, Korea

$1.6M**
Oct. 11-14 LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship Sky 72 G.C.

Incheon, Korea

$2M
Oct. 18-21 Name to be Announced Course to be Announced

Shanghai, China

$2.1M
Oct. 25-28 Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship Miramar G.C.C.

New Taipei City, Chinese Taipei

$2.2M
Nov. 2-4 TOTO Japan Classic Seta G.C.

Shiga, Japan

$1.5M
Nov. 7-10 Blue Bay LPGA Jian Lake Blue Bay G.C.

Hainan Island, China

$2.1M
Nov. 15-18 CME Group Tour Championship Tiburon G.C.

Naples, Florida

$2.5M
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LPGA Q-School Finals Concluded

When the dust settled on the Hills Course at LPGA International Sunday evening following the final round of LPGA Qualifying School Stage III, 20 women earned their 2018 LPGA card and 29 more were awarded conditional status.

At 12-under par overall, it was Nasa Hataoka (Ibaraki, Japan) who captured medalist honors.

“I’m really happy to be at the top of the leaderboard and winning the tournament,” said Hataoka. “It’s really hard to be a professional golfer. LPGA is one of the best leagues, so I’m going to try to prepare as soon as possible.”

Just behind Hataoka was Tiffany Chan (Gong Kong, Hong Kong) at 11-under par overall. She becomes the first player from Hong Kong to qualify for the LPGA.

“I’m feeling really excited. I just tried to play my best out there today. I’m pretty good friends with Nasa, we’ve played together before on Team Asia two years ago. We’re really good friends, so I think I just tried to have fun today, but tried to win also. I left my putt short [on 18] but it was fine we’re both happy. It was a happy ending.”

 

“I played on Symetra for three months, so that kind of built up the momentum for me coming here,” said Chan, who went 3-under today. “I came in with a really positive mindset, and I have all my friends here since I used to live here, and everything ended up good.”

Continuing down the leaderboard, Paula Reto (Bloemfontein, South Africa) and Rebecca Artis (Coonabarabran, Australia) each carded a 1-under (71) today to finish the tournament 9-under and 8-under par overall, respectively.

 

“I’ve always believed I was good enough to play on the LPGA,” said Artis, who captured a LPGA card at her fifth qualifying tournament. “Its taken me longer than I probably would’ve wished, but it doesn’t matter now. I grew up in a small country town in Australia, about six hours west of Sydney, so to achieve what I have coming from a place like that is pretty good effort.”

Meanwhile, to determine the last card it took a three-hole aggregate stroke-play playoff. Daniela Darquea (Quito, Ecuador), Mind Muangkhumsakul (KhonkeM,an, Thailand) and amateur Maria Torres (San Juan, Puerto Rico) headed to No. 9 with one goal in mind. The deciding factor was a birdie by Torres on No. 10, the second playoff hole, to become the first Puerto Rican to make it to the LPGA.

“It’s just a dream come true. I am in shock, that’s all I can say,” said Torres, who called her mom on the 18th green after securing her card. “I started like, ‘Hey, mom,’ really like down, trying to do it movie style. Then I told her I won the playoff. She started laughing, crying, just all those emotions.”

The other amateur turning professional is University of Southern California junior Robynn Ree (Redondo Beach, California). She fired a 2-under in the final round to finish in a tie for fifth with Luna Sobron Galmes (Palma De Mallorca, Spain) at 7-under par overall.

“Everything just came together these last few days,” said Ree. “I’m feeling good, but exhausted. I’m really glad it’s over because its been a long week, but I’m happy with my results.”

 

The biggest move on the afternoon was courtesy of Kassidy Teare (San Diego, California). The Symetra Tour alumna went crazy on her second nine, draining five straight birdies to end her round at 6-under (66). She catapulted from tied for 34th at 1-over after the third round to tied for 10th at 5-under par overall, earning her LPGA card in dramatic fashion.

“This year has been a lot of learning experience. I owe a lot to the Symetra Tour,” Teare said. “It’s what you dream of. It’s what you visualize when you go to bed. I don’t have any words for it. It’s just a dream come true and as cheesy as that sounds, that’s just exactly how it feels.”

Caroline Inglis (Eugene, Oregon) and Marissa Steen (West Chester, Ohio) joined Teare at 5-under par for the tournament.

Just ahead of them was a group of three at 6-under par overall including Georgia Hall (Wimborne, England), Amelia Lewis (Jacksonville, Florida) and Lauren Coughlin (Charlottesville, Virginia). Hall shot even par in the final round, while Lewis finished 4-under and Coughlin went 3-under.

“I think playing Solheim and doing well at the British Open prepared me mentally for this week,” said Hall, the highest ranked player in the field at No. 41 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings. “I wouldn’t like to do Tour school more than once. I think once was enough.”

As 20 players earned their card, 29 more captured conditional status. Of the 49 individuals comprising the 2017 Q-School class, 23 will be considered rookies on the LPGA in 2018.

In total, 31 countries were represented at the Final Stage and 12 different nations comprised the top 20.

WATCH OUT LPGA

Here is a look at the 20 players to earn their full 2018 LPGA cards.

1. Nasa Hataoka, -12 (348), Ibaraki, Japan, 18 years old

Notables:

• Became a 2017 LPGA Tour rookie after finishing T14 at the 2016 LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament.

• She made the cut nine times in 17 starts in 2017 with a season-best T15 finish at the Cambia Portland Classic and finished 15th in the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year standings.

• Hataoka won the 2016 Japan Women’s Open Championship, becoming the first amateur and the youngest champion to win a major tournament on the Japan LPGA Tour (JLPGA).

Hataoka on earning her 2018 LPGA card:

“I’m really happy to be at the top of the leaderboard and winning the tournament. LPGA is one of the best leagues and I’m happy to play again on the LPGA.”

2. Tiffany Chan, -11 (349), Gong Kong, Hong Kong, 24 years old

Notables:

• Becomes the first LPGA player in history from Hong Kong.

• At Daytona State College, Chan won back-to-back NJCAA individual national titles in 2014 and 2015. After graduating from Daytona State, Chan transferred to USC where she was a 2015-2016 Second Team All-American.

• As a 2017 Symetra Tour rookie, recorded four top-10 finishes in 13 starts including a season-best runner-up finish at the Decatur-Forsyth Classic and finished 24th on the season money list.

• Represented Hong Kong at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Chan on earning her 2018 LPGA card:

“I don’t know if I’m still dreaming. It’s actually my mom’s birthday today, she’s not here, but I’m going to give this to her for her present. My parents don’t really know golf, but they just encourage me and I can’t wait to talk to them.”

3. Paula Reto, -9 (351), Bloemfontein, South Africa, 27 years old

Notables:

• Has made the cut 44 times in 93 starts on the LPGA with four career top-10 finishes, including a career-best third place result at the 2014 Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic.

• Represented South Africa in the 2016 Rio Olympics, finishing T16.

• Became a 2014 LPGA Tour rookie after finishing T13 at the 2013 LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament.

Reto on earning her 2018 LPGA card:

“I’m really, really happy. In the last two weeks I’ve really trained hard and I felt like it all paid off here. Even when I was a little nervous at times I just stuck to my routine which is very good for me, it’s an accomplishment actually. So, I’m really happy about that. Honestly, I tried not to think too much coming into this week. I just said to myself, ‘Paula, just do your thing and wherever you end up, you end up,’ and I’m really happy with the result.”

4. Rebecca Artis, -8 (352), Coonabarabran, Australia, 29 years old

Notables:

• Rookie season on the Symetra Tour was in 2010, has nine career top-10 finishes including two in 2017.

• Has two career wins on the Ladies European Tour the first at the 2013 Helsingborg Open.

• Her second professional win came at the 2015 Ladies Scottish Open, Artis shot a final round 66 to win by two strokes, despite trailing Suzann Pettersen by 6 strokes going into the final round.

Artis on earning her 2018 LPGA card:

“It’s crazy really. To be honest, I’m glad the week’s over. I don’t think I could have taken another day. I just really tried to control myself out there today. This is what we’ve been working for to try and get ourselves out there on the LPGA. I’m glad this week’s over.”

5. Luna Sobron Galmes, -7 (353), Palma De Mallorca, Spain, 23 years old

Notables:

• Earned her Ladies European Tour card for the 2017 season after finishing T25 at the Lalla Aicha Tour School Final Qualifying staged in Morocco; had five top-25 finishes on the LET this season.

• Played in the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2015 (T13) and 2016 (MC).

Robynn Ree, -7 (353), Redondo Beach, Calif., 20 years old

Notables:

• Ree is the 30th ranked amateur in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.

• Was named to the WGCA All American Second Team as a freshman at USC in 2015-16, earned Honorable Mention recognition in 2016-17.

• Played in the 2016 U.S. Women’s Open.

• Ree is studying real estate development at USC and plans to continue taking classes and earn her degree.

Ree on earning her 2018 LPGA card:

“It’s been a long journey, and I’m really happy that I was able to get through on my first try. Hopefully I can have a good year next year.”

7. Amelia Lewis, -6 (354), Jacksonville, Fla., 26 years old

Notables:

• Has made 57-of-114 cuts in her LPGA career with two career top-10 finishes.

• Finished 115th on the 2017 Official Money List with $80,897.

• Qualified for the Tour on her first attempt with a T33 finish at the 2010 LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to earn conditional status for the 2011 LPGA season.

Lewis on earning her 2018 LPGA card:

“It feels great. I had status coming into this week, but I wanted to guarantee getting into the first couple of events of the year. It’s a great feeling to go through five days and get the job done. I haven’t been back at Q School in a while so it’s a good feeling to get it done.”

Lauren Coughlin, -6 (354), Charlottesville, Va., 25 years old

Notables:

• Has played on the Symetra Tour since 2016; posted three top-25 finishes in 13 starts in 2017.

• Was the 2016-17 ACC Player of the Year while playing at the University of Virginia.

Coughlin on earning her 2018 tour card:

“I’m just really thankful, I think that’s the big thing. I’m just really excited to get out there and play well. I think it’s something that I never really thought that I would actually do, so to do it is pretty big. I had a lot of people who believed in me so I’m just really excited.”

Georgia Hall, -6 (354), Wimborne, England, 21 years old

Notables:

• Was the highest ranked player at Final Stage at No. 41 in the Rolex Rankings.

• Earned medalist honors at Stage II of LPGA Qualifying School.

• Ranks first on the 2017 Ladies European Tour Order of Merit; has 16 top-10 finishes in 45 career starts on the LET.

• Was a member of Team Europe at the 2017 Solheim Cup, finishing with a 2-3-0 record.

Hall on earning her 2018 LPGA card:

“To kind of finish the season off and get my Tour card, and I can kind of plan for next year now, I’m very happy actually. I can relax.”

10. Kassidy Teare, -5 (355), San Diego, Calif., 23 years old

Notables:

• As a rookie on the Symetra Tour in 2017, made the cut in 14-of-19 starts with two top-10 finishes.

• Was the 2016 Big West Conference Player of the Year while playing at Long Beach State University.

Teare on earning her 2018 LPGA card:

“It’s just a dream come true, and as cheesy as that sounds it’s just exactly how it feels. I’ve wanted this since I was little, wanted it all throughout college and this year on the Symetra Tour has really gotten me ready. I’m so excited to start the next year.”’

Caroline Inglis, -5 (355), Eugene, Ore., 23 years old

Notables:

• Played in two tournaments on the LPGA during her rookie season; competed primarily on the Symetra Tour where she made the cut in 15-of-18 starts with three top-10 finishes.

• Finished T44 at the 2016 LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to earn Priority List Category 17 status for the 2017 season.

• Became first golfer in the University of Oregon program history to be named the Pac-12 Individual Champion (2014-15).

Inglis on earning her 2018 LPGA card:

“It’s just really awesome. It’s hard to describe because you put so much work in. I had played on Symetra last year, I had conditional but I didn’t play in that many, I played in two LPGA. So I’m excited to have a full schedule playing on the LPGA. The feeling is indescribable. I’m really excited, really happy.”

Marissa Steen, -5 (355), West Chester, Penn., 27 years old

Notables:

• Made the cut 20 times in 46 career starts on the LPGA Tour with a career-best T30 finish at the 2017 ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.

• Collected nine top-10 finishes on the Symetra Tour in 2016 to earn her LPGA Tour card through the Symetra Tour for a second time.

• Won three times in 2014 on the Symetra Tour and was the Player of the Year, earning her LPGA Tour membership for 2015.

Steen on earning her 2018 LPGA card:

“It’s awesome. That was definitely my goal going into this week. I worked hard the whole month of November. I hadn’t ever played well at Finals before; this was the first time I had even made the cut. I was definitely happy just to be playing today and to finish it off pretty strong.”

13. Laetitia Beck, -4 (356), Caesarea, Israel, 25 years old

Notables:

• After finishing the 2017 LPGA season No. 121 on the Official Money List, improves her status for the 2018 season from Category 16 to Category 12 on the priority list.

• Represented Israel in the 2016 Rio Olympics, finishing T31.

• Qualified for the LPGA Tour on her first attempt, finishing T18 at the 2014 LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to earn exempt status for the 2015 season and become the first Israeli to compete on the LPGA Tour.

• Graduated from Duke University in 2014 with a degree in Psychology

Beck on earning her 2018 LPGA card:

“It’s my fourth time that I had to do it. Obviously, that was the goal this week to get my card back and improve my status. I wasn’t looking forward to having an in-between status, so I’m pretty happy that I got a full card now. Now I know for sure what my schedule is going to look like, and I’m excited to work towards improving my game for next year.”

Cindy Lacrosse, -4 (356), Tampa, Florida, 30 years old

Notables:

• A 2010 LPGA Tour rookie, has 96 career starts on Tour with a career-best T11 finish at the 2011 ShopRite Classic.

• LaCrosse enjoyed a successful collegiate career at the University of Louisville, where she was a three-time All-Big East Conference selection (2006-08) and the 2007 Big East Player of the Year.

LaCrosse on earning 2018 LPGA card:

“It feels great. It’s been a really tough couple of years, so to be full-time next year it’s just great to have all the hard work I’ve done pay off. I started crying as soon as my mom did as I hugged her. I think now that it’s final I feel like I can breathe and just relax and now that I’m really doing the right things and I’m seeing results from it.”

Gemma Dryburgh, -4 (356), Aberdeen, Scotland, 24 years old

Notables:

• Has two career top-10 finishes on the Ladies European Tour where she was a rookie in 2016.

• In 2014, Dryburgh was a member of the Great Britain and Ireland Curtis Cup team, she played for Scotland in the World Amateur Team Championship and Ladies’ European Team Championship and was runner-up in the 2014 South American Amateur

• She graduated from Tulane University with a degree in Marketing in May 2015.

• Joins Catriona Matthew as the only players from Scotland on the LPGA Tour in 2018.

Dryburgh on earning her 2018 LPGA card:

“It means a lot. I’ve been working really hard for this for a few years with my coach and my parents and everyone around me. It means a lot, and I’m just really ecstatic to finally finish the five rounds this week and finish with a good round of 68.”

16. Jessy Tang, -3 (357), Orlando, Fla., 28 years old

Notables:

• Made eight starts as a rookie on the LPGA in 2017.

• Finished T35 at the 2016 LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to earn Priority List Category 17 status for the 2017 season.

• Has competed primarily on the Symetra Tour since 2009.

Tang on earning her 2018 LPGA card:

“I’m totally satisfied. After playing on the LPGA this past season with conditional status I knew my goal was to be out there full-time and I am so happy that I was able to do that this week.”

Brianna Do, -3 (357), Lakewood, Calif., 27 years old

Notables:

• A 2013 LPGA Tour rookie, made five cuts in 10 starts in 2017 with a career-best T26 finish at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

• In 2015, posted seven top-10 finishes on the Symetra Tour to finish third on the Volvik Race for the Card money list.

Do on earning her 2018 LPGA card:

“Honestly I’m pretty speechless right now after finishing in the top 20. My game has been trending in the right direction towards the end of season and these last two months preparing for finals. To see all my hard work pay off is amazing. I can’t wait for 2018!”

Dani Holmqvist, -3 (357), Jupiter, Fla., 29 years old

Notables:

• In 2017 on the LPGA Tour, made 10 cuts in 20 starts with a career-best T15 finish at the Cambia Portland Classic.

• In 2015, finished fifth on the Symetra Tour’s Volvik Race for the Card money list to earn LPGA membership for 2016.

• Finished tie for 44th at the 2013 LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to earn Priority List Category 17 for the 2014 LPGA Tour season.

Holmqvist on earning her 2018 LPGA card:

“I didn’t know how many starts I would get next year based on where I finished on the money list, so I figured that going back to Q School I would have nothing to lose. It’s a stressful week regardless, but it was pretty great to be able to finish off the week with a birdie and get into the top 20.”

Celine Herbin, -3 (357), Lacoste Porosus Ville, France 35 years old

Notables:

• Has 37 career starts on the LPGA Tour with a career-best T11 finish at the 2016 Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning and O-I.

• In 2017, Posted a season-best T35 finish at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G.

• Turned professional in 2012 and played on the Ladies European Tour from 2012-14.

20. Maria Torres, -2 (358), San Juan, Puerto Rico, 22 years old

Notables:

• Torres becomes the first native-born Puerto Rican in LPGA Tour history.

• While playing college golf at the University of Florida, Torres was named a 2016-17 WGCA First-Team All American, 2015-16 Honorable Mention All American, was the 2016 SEC Golfer of the Year and was the 2016 Individual SEC Champion.

• Graduated from UF with her degree in Family, Youth and Community Science in May 2017.

Torres on earning her 2018 LPGA card:

“I can not believe it. I think tomorrow I’m going to realize it, but I’m just overwhelmed I feel like I don’t even have English. I’m just happy and excited too on what the future has to hold.”

Here is a list of the 29 players to earn conditional LPGA status for 2018:

Daniela Iacobelli (Melbourne, Florida)

Kendall Dye (Edmond, Oklahoma)

Madeleine Sheils (Boise, North Dakota)

Dori Carter (Valdosta, Georgia)

Nannette Hill (Pelham Manor, New York)

Leticia Ras-Anderica (Konstanz, Germany)

Alison Walshe (Westford, Massachusetts)

Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong (Buengkan, Thailand)

Maddie McCrary (Wylie, Texas)

Samantha Troyanovich (Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan)

Vicky Hurst (Melbourne, Florida)

Brittany Marchand (Orangeville, Ontario)

Sophia Popov (Heidelberg, Germany)

Jennifer Hahn (Henderson, Nevada)

Wichanee Meechai (Bangkok, Thailand)

Martina Edberg (Glumslov, Sweden)

Alexandra Newell (Tampa, Florida)

Lori Beth Adams (Burlington, North Carolina)

Pannarat Thanapoolboonyaras (Roi-Et, Thailand)

Dottie Ardina (Laguna, Philippines)

Camilla Lennarth (Stockholm, Sweden)

Maude-Aimee Leblanc (Sherbrooke, Quebec)

Harang Lee (Bilbao, Spain)

Allison Emrey (Charlotte, North Carolina)

Sakura Yokomine (Tokyo, Japan)

Lauren Kim (Los Altos, California)

Katelyn Sepmoree (Tyler, Texas)

 

This report furnished by the LPGA Tour

 

Complete 90 hole scores are available HERE

LPGA Q-School Finals Underway

The third and final stage of the LPGA’s qualifying series, otherwise known as Q-School Finals, is one of the most significant events on the world golfing calendar. It is also an event that much of the sporting public, aside from diehard LPGA Fans, tends to overlook, a circumstance which does lessen its significance in any what whatsoever.

The 50-day, 90-hole event begins Wednesday at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Florida. A total of 166 players from 31 nations will be on hand. The goal of every one of them is the same, to achieve on enhance their status on the LPGA Tour for 2018.

The hard truth is that the majority of them will be unsuccessful in their quest.

A total 20 players will earn full status on the tour next year; platers finishing in positions 21-45 plus ties will earn partial status. There will be a cut after 72 holes (to 70 players and ties),

The competition will be rugged to say the least. A total of 73 of the 166 players had LPGA status of some sort. The list of competitors includes European Solheim Cup sensation Georgia Hall from Wimborne, England, along with Canadian veteran and four-time LPGA Tour winner Lorie Kane, who at 52 is the oldest player in the field.

Live scoring is available HERE

 

First

Delaware Valley’s Success Something to Be Savored

By Rick Woelfel

This has been a special football season at Delaware Valley University. And it isn’t over yet. On Saturday, the Aggies will host The College at Brockport in an NCAA Division III quarterfinal Kickoff time at James Work Memorial Stadium is set for noon. I’ll be on hand as the public-address announcer, a job I’ve had for six seasons now.

Delaware Valley has played some very good football in that span of time, a far cry from the early and mid-1990s when I was doing their games on radio and the Aggies were finding it difficult to win games.

But they’ll come into Saturday’s game have won all 12 contests they’ve engaged in this season, and a school record 16 straight dating back to last year. This is the school’s seventh trip to the playoffs and its third trip to the quarterfinals.

The team has a number of legitimate stars; true All-American candidates. Junior quarterback Dashawn Darden has thrown for 2,146 yards and 24 touchdowns. He’s completed 55.1 percent of his passes and has been intercepted just five times in 265 attempts. Feature back Devauntay Ellis, a senior. has rushed for 1,289 yards and scored 16 touchdowns.

On defense, senior linebacker Nicholas DiGati leads the team with 98 tackles while sophomore defensive end Vincent DeLeo has recorded 8 ½ sacks whiles senior cornerback Sammy Mohr has intercepted five passes.

But this team’s success is about more than numbers and it’s about more than having talented players on the roster, though talent certainly helps.

It’s about getting contributions from all hands. It’s about players stepping up; when Ellis was forced out of the regular-season finale against archrival Widener, a game Delaware Valley had to win to assure itself of an NCAA bid, his teammates stepped up, including sophomore Khalil Roane, who filled Elli’s role as the feature back with distinction and did so again the following week in a first-round win over Western New England.

Some contributors have labored in anonymity. Just 58 players are permitted to dress for a Division III playoff game but their teammates helped out on the scout teams to help ensure the starters got a good look at what they would see come game day.

This team has accomplished something that is extraordinarily difficult

There are 249 schools that play Division III football. That’s the largest of the NCAA’s four football divisions; nearly twice as large as the Bowl Subdivision that includes the Penn States and Notre Dames of the world.  There are no scholarships, financial aid packages are based on need as is the case for other students.

Just 32 of those 249 teams qualified for the national championship tournament and only eight of those 32 are left.

If Delaware Valley prevails on Saturday it will make history; the Aggies have never won 13 games in a season and have never advanced beyond the quarterfinals. But win or lose, this season has been a truly remarkable one.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consider So You want to Play Golf as a Holiday Gift

If you’re looking for the right holiday gift for the golf enthusiast on your shopping list, consider gifting them with So You Want to Play Golf.

PGA Professional Kim Verrecchio and veteran golf writer Rick Woelfel combined their talents to produce this volume, which provides a welcoming introduction to the game for new golfers and a reintroduction to the game for those who may be getting back  to the game after a layoff.

Verrecchio, the Director of Instruction at The Loxahatchee Club in Jupiter Florida, draws on more than a quarter century of teaching experience and touches on every aspect of getting started in the game, from how to hold and swing a golf club, to how to find the right pair of golf shoes to what to expect when using a caddie for the first time.

Prior to turning professional, she played college golf at the University of North Carolina. “Golf can be overwhelming,” she said. “This book is a quick read to point you in the right direction.”

Woelfel, a member of the Golf Writers Association of America, has covered the sport at the amateur and professional levels for more than three decades. A freelance writer based in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, he is a recreational golfer.

“This book is one that golfers will want to keep handy,” he says. “Kim explains things in such a way that that any golfer will feel comfortable, regardless of their experience level.”

So You Want to Play Golf is available on CreateSpace.com at https://www.createspace.com/6081648. It is also available through Amazon.com and digitally on Kindle

Marina Alex at the U.S. Women’s Open

Marina Alex has been elected to the LPGA Board of Directors as one of six player directors. What follows is a feature we did with her at the 2017 U.S. Women’s Open. The piece was done for the New Jersey State Golf Association and its magazine, NJSAGA Golf, which holds the copyright.

 

 

Marina Alex attracted a lot of attention at the recent U.S. Women’s Open Championship. There were several reasons why.

She grew up and learned her golf in Wayne, New Jersey, less than 40 miles from Trump National Golf Club. She finished the 72 holes tied for 11th place at 4-under par 284, the best finish of any of the 55 Americans in the field.

But her performance on the golf course, as remarkable as it was, was no less impressive than the poise and maturity she displayed outside the gallery ropes. On the biggest stage in her sport, in an atmosphere tingling with emotional energy. Marina Alex came up big.

If, as has been suggested, that she symbolizes what golf in New Jersey, particularly women’s golf, is all about, then the game is in good hands.

Alex started playing golf at age 5 at North Jersey Country Club at the encouragement of her father Steve. Her mentor was Chris Dachisen, who was in the midst of a long and distinguished tenure as the club’s head golf professional when Alex was growing up there.

“He was very encouraging,” Alex recalled. “He was a tremendous player and would take me out to play with my dad at nights and just was always giving me pointers and tips here and there and helping me along the way. He was great.”

Another influential figure in Alex’s golfing life has been her godfather Charlie Cowell who had a long career as the golf professional at Forest Hill Field Club. Cowell, who now teaches at Crestmont, walked nine holes at Trump National with Alex the Monday before the Women’s Open began.

“He’s been helping me with my putting for quite a while,” Alex says.  He’s known me my whole life. He’s a great guy and helped me a ton.

“It’s great to talk with people that played it doesn’t really matter what level. They’ve won tournaments and they know what it’s like when you’re out there and it helps just to pick their brains a little bit.”

As a junior, Alex, who turned 27 on August 2, won the 2003 New Jersey Junior Girls championship. Two years later she reached the finals of the New Jersey Women’s Amateur before losing to Kelly Cramp. At Vanderbilt, she was a two-time All-American and a two-time Southeastern Conference Player of the Year. She turned professional after graduation and spent time on the Symetra Tour before earning her LPGA Tour card in the fall of 2013.

Since then, she has collected just over a million dollars in earnings, including $367,680 this season (through the Aberdeen Asset Management Ladies Scottish Open the last weekend in July). Her best career finish to date has been a tie for sixth at the LPGA Volvik Championship in Michigan last spring.

The 2017 Women’s Open was her fourth, as well as her first  and perhaps only opportunity to compete in a major championship as a professional in close proximity to where she grew up. “It’s an unbelievable experience just to be able to compete in any tournament close to home,” she said, “but the U.S. Open is truly incredible. There’s going to be nothing else like it probably in my career and there are not a lot of girls that are going to be able to get to do that ever. So it’s a very special feeling.”

This year’s Women’s Open was unique in that it was the first ever attended by a sitting U.S. President. Virtually every player who appeared in front of the media prior to or during the championship was asked about President Trump, who was on site the final three days of the event. Virtually every player did their best to avoid addressing the issue head on but Alex, who, as the local favorite, spent a considerable amount of time in front of the media during the week, was perceptive enough to see the big picture when she was asked about it Friday afternoon after completing her second round.

“Regardless of your political affiliation and whether you are a fan of Trump or you’re not a fan of Trump, having a president at a women’s golf event is pretty remarkable,” she said. “It’s going to draw attention to women’s golf that has maybe never been in our favor before.
“We have an unbelievable group of talented women playing golf right now. If it’s allowing more people to see us play our game, I don’t see anything wrong with that.”

At week’s end. Alex had the demeanor of a competitor who had the satisfaction of knowing she had more than held her own against the best competition in the world.

“I’m really happy with how I handled myself,” she said. “It was tough going into it, I knew there was going to be a ton of fans and just a ton of pressure to play well and I handled it the best that I could. I’m pleased.””

Not surprisingly, Alex’s gallery abounded with family and friends all week long. But her followers also included girls and young women, some of them no doubt golfers themselves, others perhaps now curious enough about the game to want to find out more about it after having seen Alex and her peers up close.

“I see a lot of young girls out here,” Alex said, “which is awesome. It’s great for the game. It’s great for women’s golf in New Jersey.
“(When) I grew up, there were just not a lot of girls playing. If more girls pick up the game after this week, my job is effectively done. I hope that that’s what happens.”

 

 

Council Rock Wins State Soccer Opener

Written for Bucks County Courier Times 11-7-17

BRISTOL TOWNSHIP — Despite the weather, there was a soccer game played at Harry S. Truman Tuesday night. A few dozen hardy souls turned out in the cold and rain to witness Council Rock North’s 4-1 win over Northeast High School in a PIAA Class 4A boys soccer first-round game.

The Indians (16-7-1), who placed second in the District One tournament to Conestoga, will face Hempfield, the District Three champion, in a quarterfinal game on Saturday (site and time to be determined). Hempfield beat Perkiomen Valley 1-0 in a another first-round game Tuesday night.

It didn’t take long for North to get on the scoreboard, just 59 seconds. Carter Steckbeck started the sequence when he played a ball into the box from the right flank. The Northeast defense hesitated for a moment, allowing Conor O’ Donnell to put the ball past Viking keeper Sebastian Gimeno from close range.

Sean Finneyfrock made it 2-0 in the 15th minute off a corner kick before O’ Donnell scored his second goal of the game seven minutes later from 23 yards out after a run up the middle of the pitch.

“We came out on fire,” said North coach Joe Stackhouse. “I told them we had to come out on fire because (Northeast) plays with a lot of gusto.

The Vikings (10-5-1) got on the board in the 29th minute on their first shot of the game when Sidiki Fofana found the back of the net from 30 yards out.

The second half turned as ugly as the weather. In the 61st minute, a scuffle at midfield concluded with Northeast’s Alejandro Giraldo being sent off. In the 76th minute, the Vikings’ Arthur Ferreira bowled over North keeper Ed Mancinelli who, according to Stackhouse, sustained a knee injury on the play. Ferreira received a red card. Northeast finished the game with eight field players.

In the midst of it all, Ryan Pave added the Indians’ fourth goal in the final minute.

Northeast, the District 12 runner up, finished at 10-5-1.