One month after the PGA TOUR’s annual party rolled through Arizona at TPC Scottsdale, the LPGA Tour makes a much-anticipated return to the desert with the LPGA Drive On Championship at Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club. Fans will have plenty of ways to celebrate the LPGA’s first full-field event of the season.
Not unlike the raucous atmosphere that has made the PGA TOUR’s WM Phoenix Open a must-see on the PGA TOUR, the LPGA Drive On Championship’s move to Arizona is being amplified with fans in mind. A unique concession stand at the 17th hole has been themed “You Glow Girl,” with souvenir cups for fans to take home. Another watering hole appropriately nicknamed the “19th hole” has been set up near the driving range. There, DJs will be playing tunes while flat screen TVs broadcast the tournament’s four-round coverage on Golf Channel in addition to the ongoing madness that is the NCAA Basketball Tournament.
The desert party kicks off the first of four events in a five week stretch for the LPGA Tour and a five-month stint in the U.S. which makes up the bulk of the Tour’s schedule. The 72-hole LPGA Drive On Championship features 144 players, in addition to two Monday qualifiers, who will compete for a $1.75 million purse.
The field is made up of not just the game’s biggest stars but many first timers who will be taking their first steps onto the big stage.
Nelly Korda at No. 2 in the Rolex Rankings headlines the field in Arizona. She’s joined by Jin Young Ko, the most recent winner on the LPGA Tour, having successfully defended her title at the HSBC Women’s World Championship. Reigning Rookie of the Year Atthaya Thitikul is also making the trip to Arizona in addition to Lexi Thompson, who will play for just the second time this season. Brittany Lincicome, who played a limited schedule in 2022 due to the birth of her second child, makes a return to the LPGA Tour on Thursday. And Leona Maguire will seek to defend her title, having captured the 54-hole edition of the LPGA Drive On Championship last season in Fort Myers for her first career win on the LPGA Tour.
The fourth event on the LPGA Tour’s schedule will include several Epson Tour graduates like Lucy Li, as well as new members, like Alexa Pano, who earned status through the LPGA’s Q-Series last fall.
Last week’s Epson Tour stop was held just 20 miles from this week’s LPGA Tour event, which makes for an easy commute for 16 players, including Bailey Tardy, who are competing at Superstition Mountain.
Those rookies may be new to the LPGA Tour, but the Tour is no stranger to Arizona which has hosted the tour off and on dating back to the 1950s. And while Superstition Mountain may be hosting the LPGA Drive On Championship for the first time, the course previously hosted the tour between 2004 and 2008 with the Safeway International. That course produced a who’s who of champions including World Golf Hall of Famers Annika Soresntam, who won back-to-back in 2004 and 2005, Juli Inkster who won in 2006, and Lorena Ochoa who also won in consecutive years in 2007 and 2008.
Five weeks after the PGA Tour packed up the party, it's the LPGA’s turn to showcase the most talented players in the women’s game. That’s something to celebrate. And fans in Arizona definitely know exactly how to get the job done.