FRENCH LICK, Indiana, July 5, 2017 - The Senior LPGA Championship, the first major championship for senior women, is right around the corner. First-round play begins on Monday, July 10 at the Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort and the final-round is scheduled for Wednesday, July 12. All three rounds will be televised on Golf Channel from 4:00-6:00 p.m. each day.
This groundbreaking tournament will feature 81 of the top former LPGA greats competing for a purse of $600,000. The winner will earn $90,000. There is no cut so the entire 81-player field will compete all three rounds.
The Senior LPGA Championship will begin with a special opening tee shot ceremony. LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan and Alice Dye, the wife of legendary designer Pete Dye, will hit the ceremonial tee shots just before the first round begins on Monday, July 10 at 8:00 a.m.
Play will begin at 8:00 a.m. all three rounds of the tournament.
There are still two spots up for grabs in the field. An 11-player qualifier, which will be contested on the Pete Dye Course on Thursday, July 6 starting at 8:00 a.m., will determine the final two spots in the Senior LPGA Championship.
The field for the Senior LPGA Championship is loaded with five World Golf Hall-of-Famers (more below) and a combined 339 career LPGA wins, 3,894 career top 10’s and 43 major championships. There are 19 players in the field that have won an LPGA major and 53 of the 81 have won at least one LPGA tournament.
There is a former Indiana University star in the field, Michele Redman. She was a four-time All-Big Ten honoree and helped the Hoosiers win two Big Ten Conference titles. She is a member of the Indiana University Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame and the National Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame.
While there are no Indiana natives in the field, there are players from bordering states represented. There are three players from the state of Illinois: Nicole Jeray (Berwyn), Allison Finney (Winnetka) and Audra Burks (Springfield). There is also one player in the field from Kentucky: Myra Blackwelder (Versailles) and two from Michigan: Tracy Hanson (Holland) and Elaine Crosby (Jackson). Sue Ertl played college golf at Michigan State and won two Big Ten titles while Cindy Figg-Currier was inducted into the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame in 2003. Figg-Currier is originally from Mount Pleasant, Michigan.
Five Hall Of Famers Headline Field
Of the 81 players competing for the inaugural Senior LPGA Championship title, five have received one of golf’s highest honors – induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Amy Alcott (class of 1999) began her LPGA Tour career with a bang, capturing her first win in just her third career start. She went on to enjoy a career that saw her take five major titles among her 29 LPGA wins. Alcott also initiated one of the LPGA’s greatest traditions when she took a joyous leap into Poppie’s Pond after winning the 1988 Kraft Nabisco Championship. Following her competitive career, Alcott transitioned into golf course design and partnered with Gil Hanse to design the golf course that hosted the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Pat Bradley (class of 1991) was a stalwart of the LPGA Tour in the 1980s. During that decade, she earned 19 of her 25 career wins, including six majors. Her best year came in 1986, when she won the du Maurier Classic, Nabisco Dinah Shore and LPGA Championship and finished fifth at the U.S. Women’s Open to just miss that year’s Grand Slam. That year, she became the first female golfer to garner $2 million in career earnings, and she went on to set those marks for $3 million and $4 million over the remainder of her career.
Dame Laura Davies (class of 2015) won four major titles – the 1987 U.S. Women’s Open, the 1994 and 1996 McDonald’s LPGA Championship and the 1996 du Maurier Classic. She notched 84 professional wins around the world, including 20 on the LPGA Tour and 45 on the Ladies European Tour (LET). Davies is considered the most successful British female player of all time, winning the LET’s Order of Merit seven times and representing Europe a record 12 times at the Solheim Cup.
Betsy King (class of 1995) did not win her first LPGA event until her seventh season on Tour. But that breakthrough opened the flood gates, as King went on to notch 34 victories, highlighted by three Nabisco Dinah Shore titles, two U.S. Women’s Opens and one LPGA Championship. King, who played on five USA Solheim Cup teams and captained the team to victory in 2007, is just as well known for her charitable endeavors. Her Golf Fore Africa charity brings clean water to impoverished areas of Africa, and numerous LPGA professionals are involved in the organization’s work.
Hollis Stacy (class of 2012) gained golf stardom at an early age when she captured the 1970, 1971 and 1972 U.S. Girls’ Junior titles, a consecutive-wins streak that still stands. Her professional career was just as potent, as she counts the 1977, 1978 and 1984 U.S. Women’s Opens and the 1983 du Maurier Classic among her 18 career LPGA wins.
Bradley, King and Alcott have also been enshrined in the LPGA Hall of Fame, with those honors coming in 1991, 1995 and 1999, respectively.
19 Major Champions In The Field
There are 19 LPGA Major Champions in the field this week and they are as follows in order of number of majors won: Betsy King (6), Pat Bradley (6), Amy Alcott (5), Laura Davies (4), Hollis Stacy (4), Jan Stephenson (3), Sally Little (2), Liselotte Neumann (1), Pat Hurst (1), Martha Nause (1), Jenny Lidback (1), Nancy Scranton (1), Brandie Burton (2), Donna Andrews (1), Cathy Johnston-Forbes (1), Janet Anderson (1), Betty Burfeindt (1), Helen Alfredsson (1) and Christa Johnson (1).
Of the 19, there are eight U.S. Women’s Open champions. The 2017 U.S. Women’s Open starts on Thursday, July 13, the day after the Senior LPGA Championship concludes. Hollis Stacy won the U.S. Women’s Open three times (1977, 1978, 1984) while King won the U.S. Women’s Open back-to-back years in 1989 and 1990.
Solheim Cup History Abound
The first staging of the Solheim Cup was in 1990 at the Tom Fazio-designed Lake Nona Golf Club in Orlando. The United States scored a resounding victory of 11.5 to 4.5.
There are six players in the field this week that made history by being part of the inaugural Solheim Cup. Laura Davies, Liselotte Neumann, Helen Alfredsson and Trish Johnson represented Team Europe while Rosie Jones and Betsy King represented Team USA.
The Senior LPGA Championship is riddled with players that have competed in the event over the years.
- Danielle Ammaccapane (1992)
- Donna Andrews (1994, 1998)
- Pat Bradley (1990, 1992, 1996)
- Brandie Burton (1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000)
- Pat Hurst (1998, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007)
- Becky Iverson (2000)
- Rosie Jones (1990, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005)
- Betsy King (1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998)
- Michelle McGann (1996)
- Michele Redman (2000, 2002, 2003, 2005)
- Nancy Scranton (2000)
- Val Skinner (1996)
- Helen Alfredsson (1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2002, 2009)
- Laura Davies (1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011)
- Trish Johnson (1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2005, 2007)
- Liselotte Neumann (1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000)
The 2017 Solheim Cup will take place in Des Moines, Iowa from August 18-20.
Legends Tour Notes
WHO TO WATCH: The most recent champion on the Legends Tour is Liselotte Neumann, who won in May at the Walgreens Charity Championship in Lake Geneva. It was her third career Legends Tour win.
The winningest Legends Tour player in the field is Rosie Jones (7). She is followed by Nancy Scranton (5), Laurie Rinker (4), Christa Johnson (4) and Lorie Kane (4).
There are three players in the field that have won The Legends Championship on the Pete Dye Course - Lorie Kane, Laurie Rinker and Trish Johnson.
Rinker and Dina Ammaccapane own the low rounds on the Pete Dye Course in past Legends Tour events. They both have posted rounds of 66. Sherri Steinhauer, who is not in the field, has the course record of 63 set during the 2014 Legends Tour event in French Lick.
LPGA AWARD WINNERS IN FIELD
There are two LPGA Rolex Players of the Year in the field - Betsy King (1984, 1989) and Pat Bradley (1986, 1991). There are also several Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year recipients in the field. Myra Blackwelder (then Myra Van Hoose) won the award in 1980, Helen Alfredsson won in 1992, Suzanne Strudwick was the top rookie in 1993 and Pat Hurst won the award in 1995. The year Hurst won, Tracy Hanson was the runner up.
There are also three players in the field that are former Vare Trophy recipients. The Vare Trophy has been awarded annually to the player with the lowest scoring average during the season. Amy Alcott (71.51) won in 1980, Pat Bradley won in 1986 and 1991 and Betsy King won in 1987.
Future PGA Of America President Suzy Whaley One Of Two Exemptions
Suzy Whaley, who will become the first female president of the PGA of America in 2018, is one of two sponsor exemptions into the field. Lisa DePaulo is the second exemption.
“It is an honor and privilege to receive an exemption into the inaugural Senior LPGA Championship,” said Whaley. “This Championship celebrates many legends of the game and the contributions that they have made to the future of women’s golf worldwide. It is with great pride that I represent PGA Members in what is anticipated to be a Championship that will build in the coming years.”
Whaley served as a member of the PGA Board of Directors from 2011-2013 before serving two years as PGA Secretary. She then became the Association’s Vice President in 2016.
Lisa DePaulo won the 2007 Teaching and Club Professional Championship. Following 12 trips through Q- School before playing on the LPGA Tour, DePaulo found her calling in sales by starting her own company, Tournament Treasures, which has served the golf industry as well as former President George W. Bush, with specialty golf items and event gifts.
“Receiving a sponsor invite into the Senior LPGA Championship is such a great feeling,” said DePaulo. “I love the Pete Dye Course at French Lick and five years ago I never dreamed I would be playing golf again let alone in a major championship. My life changed dramatically taking care of my mother with Cancer for two full years and to be able to play at such a high level again on this stage is really something I never dreamed would happen.”
Davies, Kane, Jeray, Still Active on LPGA/Symetra
There are three players in the field that are still active on the LPGA and Symetra Tour - Laura Davies, Lorie Kane and Nicole Jeray.
Davies has made nine starts on the LPGA Tour this year and has made three cuts. She made 15 starts on the LPGA in 2016. Her last top 10 on the LPGA came in 2014 at the Mizuno Classic when she finished T4. She has also played in three Ladies European Tour events this year and ranks 46th on the Order of Merit.
Kane is a four-time LPGA Tour winner and has made one start on the LPGA this year. She made five starts on the LPGA in 2016.
Jeray also has made one start on the LPGA this year. Jeray has also made ten starts on the Symetra Tour this year.
- Jane Blalock is the oldest player in the field at 71 while there are four players who are the minimum age of 45 - Moira Dunn-Bohls, Tracy Hanson, Jill McGill and Brandie Burton.
- 68 of the 81 players in the field represent the United States.
- Nancy Scranton will be inducted into the Legends Hall of Fame at French Lick Resort on Saturday, July 8 from 6:30 to 9:30 in the West Baden Hotel Atrium.