The LPGA returns to Kingsmill Resort in Williamsburg, Va., after two years away from the venue. This week’s event marks the 30th professional golf event at Kingsmill since 1981 – eight on the LPGA and 22 on the PGA Tour. This week also marks the first of three consecutive weeks on courses that the men have played recently – Royal Liverpool next week at the Ricoh Women’s British Open (2006 British Open, won by Tiger Woods) and the RTJ Golf Trail Capitol Hill Senator course in two weeks at the Navistar LPGA Classic (2001-5 Nationwide Tour Championship).
All of the previous professional events were sponsored by Anheuser-Busch, the former owner of Kingsmill Resort. Cristie Kerr (2005 and 2009) is the only two-time winner of the Kingsmill LPGA event.
Scott Hoch and Annika Sorenstam share the tournament record of 19-under-par 265 on the par-71 River Course.
This year’s late summer dates are unusual for the LPGA as the tournament was previously a late spring tournament. The 2013 edition will return to an early May date.
Here’s a list of professional events played at the course:
|1982||Calvin Peete||203 (54 holes)|
|1985||Mark Wiebe||273 (playoff)|
|1989||Mike Donald||268 (playoff)|
|1993||Jim Gallagher Jr.||269|
|1997||David Duval||271 (playoff)|
|1999||Notah Begay III||274 (playoff)|
|2000||David Toms||271 (playoff)|
|2002||Charles Howell III||270|
|2004||Se Ri Pak||275|
|2007||Suzann Pettersen||274 (playoff)|
Back in Virginia
The LPGA first played a tournament in Virginia in 1954 when World Golf Hall of Famer Patty Berg won the Triangle Round Robin Invitational at the Cascades Course in Hot Springs, Va. The first time the LPGA played in the Tidewater area of Virginia was 1956 when another Hall of Famer, Marlene Hagge, won the Triangle Round Robin at Cavalier Yacht and Country Club in Virginia Beach.
There were three events in the Norfolk, Va., area in the 1950s, an annual tournament from 1979-1992 with winners that included Hall members Hagge, Mickey Wright, Amy Alcott, Donna Caponi, Kathy Whitworth, Juli Inkster and Hollis Stacy and the recent string of events at Kingsmill. The tournament sites from the 1970s-90s included Cavalier, Elizabeth Manor in Portsmouth, Sleepy Hole in Portsmouth and Greenbrier in Chesapeake.
A listing of the Tidewater-area tournaments prior to the Kingsmill events:
|June 6-10, 1956||Triangle Round Robin||Cavalier Y&CC, Virginia Beach, Va.||Marlene Hagge|
|May 29-June 2, 1957||Triangle Round Robin||Cavalier Y&CC, Virginia Beach, Va.||Fay Crocker|
|May 29-31, 1959||Cavalier Open||Cavalier Y&CC, Virginia Beach, Va.||Mickey Wright|
|October 11-14, 1979||United Virginia Bank Classic||Elizabeth Manor GC, Portsmouth, Va.||Amy Alcott|
|September 11-14, 1980||United Virginia Bank Classic||Elizabeth Manor GC, Portsmouth, Va.||Donna Caponi|
|September 11-13, 1981||United Virginia Bank Classic||Sleepy Hole GC, Suffolk, Va.||Jan Stephenson|
|May 7-9, 1982||United Virginia Bank Classic||Sleepy Hole GC, Suffolk, Va.||Sally Little|
|May 13-15, 1983||United Virginia Bank Classic||Sleepy Hole GC, Suffolk, Va.||Lenore Muraoka|
|May 11-13, 1984||United Virginia Bank Classic||Sleepy Hole GC, Suffolk, Va.||Amy Alcott|
|May 10-12, 1985||United Virginia Bank Classic||Sleepy Hole GC, Suffolk, Va.||Kathy Whitworth|
|May 9-11, 1986||United Virginia Bank Classic||Sleepy Hole GC, Suffolk, Va.||Muffin Spencer-Devlin|
|May 8-10, 1987||United Virginia Bank Golf Classic||Sleepy Hole GC, Suffolk, Va.||Jody Rosenthal|
|May 6-8, 1988||Crestar Classic||Sleepy Hole GC, Suffolk, Va.||Juli Inkster|
|May 5-7, 1989||Crestar Classic||Greenbrier CC, Chesapeake, Va.||Juli Inkster|
|May 11-13, 1990||Crestar Classic||Greenbrier CC, Chesapeake, Va.||Dottie Mochrie|
|May 9-12, 1991||Crestar-Farm Fresh Classic||Greenbrier CC, Chesapeake, Va.||Hollis Stacy|
|May 8-10, 1992||Crestar-Farm Fresh Classic||Greenbrier CC, Chesapeake, Va.||Jennifer Wyatt|
Inkster’s Virginia record
This will be Juli Inkster’s 16th start at an LPGA event played in the Tidewater area of Virginia. The 52-year-old Inkster has never missed the cut, recorded two victories, one runner-up, one third and nine total top-10 finishes.
Her two victories came in different ways at two sites. In 1988, Inkster eagled the par-5 18th hole at Sleepy Hole to beat Rosie Jones, Nancy Lopez and Betsy King in a sudden-death playoff then returned the next season in cold and wet weather at Greenbrier Country Club to win by five. In 2007, Inkster aced Kingsmill’s par-3 13th hole in the first round.
Inkster, Kerr, Natalie Gulbis, Lorena Ochoa and Angela Stanford are the only players to make all seven cuts at Kingsmill. Ochoa, who retired in 2010, is the only player not playing this week.
Kingsmill’s River Course
Kingsmill’s River Course has gained notoriety over the past 30 years because of the exposure from hosting a professional event on the memorable Pete Dye design.
The course opened in 1975 and Dye returned in 2004 to refurbish the course.
The most memorable holes are the par-3 17th and par-4 18th.
The 17th plays to approximately 160 yards and features the James River down the right side from tee to green. The hole also has a historic element with Burwell’s Landing, which became a major port of entry for Williamsburg, Va., during the 18th century, and played a significant part in the American Revolution. The landing’s water pilings are still visible from the hole as are earthworks that were constructed during the Revolution and later rebuilt by the Confederate forces during the Civil War.
The 18th is a 370-yard par 4 with a carry over water and down the left side of the hole to a thin and long green perched above the water. In 2004, Dye moved the green to the left to bring the water into play.
“All the girls love this golf course,” said Brittany Lang, a first-time winner on the LPGA this year who moved from Richmond, Va., to Texas at age 10. “It's one of the better golf courses that we play on the LPGA tour. And I'm excited to get back and see friends in Richmond.”
No player has ever won an LPGA event the week before the Ricoh Women’s British Open and then captured the major championship the following week. … In the 2008 tournament, Katherine Hull made a double eagle in the final round on the par-5 seventh hole at the Kingsmill Resort. There have been only two double eagles on the LPGA since – Angela Stanford on the fourth hole in the second round of the 2008 Samsung World Championship and Hannah Yun this year in the second round of the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup. … Karin Sjodin leads the LPGA in Greens in Regulation at 75.2 percent. The last time she played at Kingsmill, Sjodin was the game’s longest player, averaging an all-time high 284.5 yards in 2006 and then the second-highest 275.6 in 2007.