Here are 40 fun facts about the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola to celebrate their 40th Anniversary.
1. Kathy Whitworth won the inaugural Portland Classic back in 1972 at Portland Golf Club, taking home a $3,750 first-place prize.
2.The tournament has been played on four different courses around Portland. Portland Golf Club, Columbia Edgewater Country Club, Riverside Golf & Country Club, and Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club.
3. Since 1972, TGF has donated over $15 million to local charities in Oregon.
4. Donna Caponi captured four titles in Portland.
5. Five players have become Rolex First-Time Winners in Portland. They are Michelle Estill (1991), Donna Andrews (1993), Missie McGeorge (1994), Soo-Yun Kang (2005) and most recently, M.J. Hur (2009).
6. There has been only one year that the event has not been played since that first tournament and that was in 2001 when it was cancelled due to the tragic events of September 11.
7. The tournament has had 7 different names.
8. The purse has increased $1,475,000 since it started 40 years ago.
9. Tournament Golf Inc. is now Tournament Golf Foundation (TGF), a non-profit organization. The group is the managing organizer and is responsible for the Safeway Classic in Portland.
10. Annika Sorenstam and Beth Daniel hold the record for the lowest round in tournament history, shooting a pair of 10-under 62s at Columbia Edgewater Country Club.
11. The event has come down to a sudden-death playoff 11 times.
12. Kathy Whitworth, Donna Caponi, and Annika Sorenstam all won in back to back years.
13. In 2006, Juli Inkster earned her 31st career win here and crossed the $10 million mark in career earnings.
14. Out of Se Ri Pak’s seven starts in the event she’s finished in the top-10 four times.
15. From 1977 to 1982 the tournament was an unofficial-money, team event.
16. This year’s Safeway Classic sports one of the strongest fields of the 2011 LPGA Tour season, featuring 48 of the current top-50 LPGA money winners and the top-7 players on the Rolex Rankings.
17. Sixteen-year old professional Lexi Thompson will be competing this week at the Safeway Classic on a sponsor’s invitation.
18. LPGA Tour veteran and 46-year old Kris Tschetter will also play this week on a sponsor’s invitation. The one-time LPGA Tour winner will make her first start of the 2011 LPGA Tour season and her 18th appearance in Portland.
19. Allison Hanna, the only LPGA Tour member from Oregon in this year’s Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola, is set to play in front of her hometown crowd.
20. In the field this week is incoming senior at West Salem High School, amateur Ashlee Pickerell. Pickerell shot 71 to win the Safeway Classic Amateur Open and earn a spot in this week’s tournament. Pickerell has already made an oral commitment to play collegiate golf at the University of Tennessee.
21. Safeway, who has served as title sponsor of the Safeway Classic since 1996, is a neighborhood grocery store for millions of North Americans.
22. Last year the tournament raised $1 million for programs in need and has raised over $12 million during the 15 years with Safeway as title sponsor, and over $15 million in the 39-year history of the event.
23. In addition to the Safeway Foundation, the 2011 Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola also recognizes several organizations as designated major beneficiaries including; Trillium Family Services; Evans Scholarship Foundation; Oregon Junior Golf Foundation; Boys & Girls Clubs; Easter Seals Oregon; and Police Activities League.
24. Ai Miyazato’s win in 2010 boosted her into the top spot on the Rolex Rankings.
25. Juli Inkster will make her 25th appearance in Portland this week.
26. The event is staged this year on the Robert Cupp-designed Ghost Creek Course at Pumpkin Ridge.
27. It’s possible to have a 120-foot putt on hole 5 at Pumpkin Ridge.
28. The par-5 8th hole will be moved back a tee, stretching the hole from 507 to 566 yards.
29. The par-4 9th hole, which ranked the 15th easiest in 2010 and the easiest in 2009, will change from a 474-yard par-5 into a 375-yard par-4.
30. Eleven can be disastrous with the creek. It seems to break up the perception of length because it is slightly uphill. Beware. Club selection is everything, especially if the hole is back right.
31. Thirteen can give up some shots, but don’t get it off line on the tee shot or you’ll find yourself hitting some trick shots to get on.
32. Sixteen is intended to be a devilish par-3 which entices you to play directly at the flagstick.
33. Some players choose to be more aggressive on 17, just to make up for what they might do on 18.
34. The par-4 18th proved the most difficult hole at both the 2009 and 2010 Safeway Classics, yielding a 4.359 and 4.407 hole-score average respectively.
35. Closely trailing 18 in degree-of-difficulty was the par-3 11th which ranked second hardest in both years.
36. Kim Welch qualified for the event with a 67 in the Monday Qualifier.
37. Erynn Lee also Monday Qualified by beating fellow amateur Tiffany Schoning in a playoff.
38. You can follow the tournament action on twitter. http://www.twitter.com/safewayclassic.
39. Learn more about the golf course by following Pumpkin Ridge on twitter.http://www.twitter.com/pumpkinridgegc
40. All three days of tournament play will be broadcast on Golf Channel.
Topics: Safeway Classic