There’s zero history for the LPGA in Grand Rapids, Mich., and Blythefield Country Club. But there is a lot of history at the site of this week’s new LPGA event, the Meijer LPGA Classic.
When nine of the top 10 players in the world tee it up this week in Michigan, it will mark the end of a long drought for women’s professional golf. The last time an LPGA event was played in Michigan was 2000 when Karrie Webb won the Oldsmobile Classic in East Lansing.
Here are some historical tidbits to get the week rolling:
- The first LPGA event played in Michigan was the May 1955 Wolverine Open at Forest Lake Country Club in Detroit, won by Fay Crocker. There have been 24 LPGA tournaments held in Michigan, including four major championships:
|1956||LPGA Championship||Forest Lake CC, Detroit||Marlene Bauer|
|1958||U.S. Women’s Open||Forest Lake CC, Detroit||Mickey Wright|
|1989||U.S. Women’s Open||Indian Wood, Lake Orion||Betsy King|
|1994||U.S. Women’s Open||Indian Wood, Lake Orion||Patty Sheehan|
- Blythefield Country Club was designed by Theodore Moreau and William Langford in 1929. The duo, both Ivy League educated, was based in Chicago and designed most of their courses around the Midwest in the 1920s and 1930s. Walter Hagen and Horton Smith were among the golf celebrities who attended the opening on June 14, 1929.
- The course has hosted each level of the Western Golf Association’s men’s tournaments. Dale Morey from North Carolina won the 1952 Western Amateur. Arnold Palmer captured his 26th career PGA Tour title when he opened with a 65 and edged Sam Snead by two strokes to capture the 1961 Western Open. Rickie Fowler, then age 16, won the 2005 Western Junior by one stroke thanks to final-round 64. Both Palmer and Fowler finished at 13-under-par 271 on the par-71 course.
Looking at Blythefield
Blythefield Country Club will play to par 71 this week, the same as it totaled for the three Western events. However, the nines have been switched, except for the real No. 18 continuing to be the No. 18 for the tournament, and No. 9 the No. 9 in the tournament. The 10th through 17th holes will be the first eight holes this week, and the back nine of the tournament will start at the actual No. 1. One of the most memorable holes will be the fourth hole this week (normally the 13th), a par 3 that plays across the rapids on the Rogue River.
The only top 10 players in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings who is not playing this week is South Korea’s So Yeon Ryu. … This week’s Meijer LPGA Classic is the second of three new events on the 2014 schedule. Lydia Ko won the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic in April at Lake Merced Golf Club in San Francisco. The inaugural Blue Bay LPGA is scheduled for Oct. 23-26 in Hainan Island, China at Jian Lake Blue Bay Golf Course. … The remainder of the LPGA schedule includes five tournaments in the United States, two in China and one apiece in Canada, France, Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Mexico. … The current top 10 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings includes four players from the United States (No. 1 Stacy Lewis, No. 5 Lexi Thompson, No. 6 Michelle Wie and No. 10 Cristie Kerr), two from South Korea (No. 3 Inbee Park and No. 9 So Yeon Ryu), one from New Zealand (No. 2 Lydia Ko), one from Norway (Suzann Pettersen), one from China (No. 7 Shanshan Feng) and one from Australia (No. 8 Karrie Webb).