In 2015, LPGA will begin season in Florida
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA, July 29, 2015 – For the first time in more than a decade, the LPGA Tour will begin its season close to home in Florida. The LPGA today announced that the inaugural Coates Golf Championship presented by R+L Carriers will serve as the Tour’s season-opening event in 2015 and will take place at Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club in Ocala, Fla., January 28-31, 2015.
It will mark the second consecutive year that the LPGA Tour season will begin in January. The 2014 season was the first time the LPGA had played an official money event in January since 2001.
Last year’s LPGA season opener, the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic, will immediately follow the Coates Golf Championship presented by R+L Carriers on the 2015 LPGA schedule. It will take place on February 5-8 as the event returns for the third time to the Ocean Club Course at Atlantis, Paradise Island, Bahamas.
“We are excited to partner with Coates Golf to have the 2015 LPGA season begin in Florida,” said LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan. “Playing back-to-back events in Florida and The Bahamas in the East Coast time zone will be a great way for our fans to watch our first two events of the year live on Golf Channel.”
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The Coates Golf Championship presented by R+L Carriers will boast a 120-player field with 72 holes of stroke play over four days of competition and a $1.5 million purse. The event will be played Wednesday through Saturday, with an early finish due to the Super Bowl taking place on Sunday, February 1. It will be the first event held in Florida that has kicked off the LPGA season since 2001 when the LPGA schedule opened with the Your Life Vitamins LPGA Classic in Orlando.
The title sponsor of the LPGA’s most recent tournament is Coates Golf, a new company in the golf industry that will be launching at the PGA Merchandise show in January 2015 and will be headquartered in Ocala, Fla.
“Coates Golf is ecstatic to bring such a premium, world-class event to our community of Ocala, Florida,” said Mollie Coates, president of Coates Golf. “We found this opportunity to partner with the LPGA the perfect platform to launch our exciting new company, Coates Golf, which will be announced in January 2015. We have always been dedicated fans and supporters of the LPGA and of women's golf and we are honored to kick off the 2015 season right here in our hometown.”
R+L Carriers is a freight shipping company that is owned by Larry Roberts. He also owns Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club, where the Coates Golf Championship presented by R+L Carriers will take place. The 18-hole course is designed by Ron Garl.
"Octagon looks forward to teaming up with Coates Golf, R+L Carriers and the LPGA to create another great event on the LPGA Tour with strong ties to its community,” said Octagon Senior Vice President Andy Bush. “With the enthusiasm that the Coates have for women’s golf and the opportunity to showcase the best women golfers in the world at another stop in Florida, this event has the makings to be the perfect kick off to an LPGA season."