The LPGA heads south this week to Mobile Bay for some fun by the water in the form of the Airbus LPGA Classic Presented by JTBC.
Jennifer Johnson is back to defend her title at the place where she became a Rolex First-Time Winner a year ago, and the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail’s Crossings Course will be a hotbed of activity. Last year, Johnson’s final-round 65 helped her break the tournament record with a 21-under-par total, and she edged Pornanong Phlatlum by a stroke to earn her first Tour win.
Both players are back this year and will be joined by past Mobile champions Stacy Lewis (2012), Se Ri Pak (2010) and Angela Stanford (2008). Other LPGA stars in the field include Suzann Pettersen, Lexi Thompson, Paula Creamer, Michelle Wie and Karrie Webb.
Throw in 2014 winners Anna Nordqvist and Jessica Korda and world No. 1 Inbee Park, and the field is loaded. Players have torched the par-72, 6,521-yard course in years past, so this week should not be short on birdies.
One of the unique events taking place this week is the Airbus LPGA Longest Drive Contest on Runway 18 at Brookley Aeroplex adjacent to the Airbus plant under construction near downtown Mobile on Tuesday. Players will see how far they can pound the ball, and it should be a fun time for everyone.
This week’s tournament is the second in a quartet of events played on successive weeks, a stretch that will give players ample opportunities to pad their bank accounts and make moves up the standings. Whoever adds their name to the list of 2014 champions will need to go very low to do so, and it will be anybody’s event to claim.
Airbus is making a big investment in the Mobile area, so it is fitting the company is title sponsor of the $1.3 million event. Airbus’ first U.S.-based aircraft assembly plant is under construction at Mobile Aeroplex at Brookley.
Airbus will be assembling A320 Family aircraft in its first U.S.-based production line in Mobile after a long campaign that put local leaders, elected officials and businesses together to put Mobile on the international stage within the aviation community. The Airbus plant opens in 2015.
For now though, tee shots will be the main thing taking flight in the port city, and fans will be out in droves to watch the birdies fall.