March 19, 2013
The Safeway Classic will bring the LPGA back to Columbia-Edgewater Country Club this year, Tournament Golf Foundation (TGF) announced today. The tournament has been held the past four…]]>
March 19, 2013
The Safeway Classic will bring the LPGA back to Columbia-Edgewater Country Club this year, Tournament Golf Foundation (TGF) announced today. The tournament has been held the past four years at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in North Plains.
Prior to 2009, Columbia-Edgewater played host to the LPGA tournament 26 times and was consistently rated as the player’s favorite course on tour. Columbia Edgewater first hosted the tournament in 1974 and has produced great champions including World Golf Hall of Fame members JoAnne Carner, Judy Rankin, Donna Caponi, Kathy Whitworth, Sandra Haynie, Ayako Okamoto, Nancy Lopez, Patty Sheehan, Juli Inkster and Annika Sorenstam. 2013 marks the 42nd year that TGF has brought the LPGA to Portland.
“We are very excited to return to the venue that has been so popular with the LPGA players and fans,” says Tom Maletis, President of Tournament Golf Foundation. “Pumpkin Ridge provided a great four-year experience that included the tournament’s largest crowds. It is fortunate that we have two of the LPGA’s best venues in Portland.”
“Columbia Edgewater is thrilled to welcome back the LPGA in 2013,” said club President Tom Pierce. “We have enjoyed our relationship with TGF and the LPGA and look forward to a great experience for players, fans and club members this August.”
Safeway will remain title sponsor for the 18th year. The purse for the 2013 tournament will be $1.3 million. Dates are Aug. 29-Sept. 1. This year the tournament will be a four-day, 72-hole event. The event has previously been a 54-hole event, one of very few on tour. Mika Miyazato won the 2012 title. All four days of the event will be broadcast on the Golf Channel.
Proceeds from the event benefit children’s charities in Oregon. Through 2012, the event has raised over $17 million for charity. The 2012 event donated $1 million to area non-profits.
Tournament Golf Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) charitable non-profit organization, is a local Portland area group of volunteers who donate their time and provide the primary operation for the annual event. TGF is the longest running organization owning an LPGA tournament and the Portland event is the oldest non-major on the LPGA tour.]]>
Safeway Classic generates $1 Million for Local Children’s Charities for Seventh Consecutive Year
Tournament Golf Foundation (TGF) and the Safeway Foundation, today announced that local children’s charities would benefit from $1 million in proceeds from the 2012 Safeway Classic. This was the seventh consecutive year and eighth in total that the tournament has generated at least $1 million for charity.
The 2012 Safeway Classic presented by Coca-Cola was the 41st year of the LPGA tour event in Portland. Originally called the Portland Classic, the tournament has now donated more than $17 million to local children’s charities since 1972, with $14 million coming in the past seventeen years with Safeway as title sponsor.
The Safeway Foundation and Tournament Golf Foundation will disburse the funds to local organizations in Oregon. The main charities from the 2012 event include Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland, Trillium Family Services, Police Activities League, Easter Seals of Oregon, the Evans Scholars Foundation, the Children’s Course and Oregon Junior Golf. In addition, other local children’s charities will be impacted with supplemental distributions from the 2012 tournament.
“Thanks to the incredible support of Safeway, our other sponsors, our volunteers and LPGA fans, we are pleased that we were able to meet our goals for giving from the 2012 tournament,” said Tom Maletis, President of Tournament Golf Foundation. “Helping local children’s charities is what the Safeway Classic has been about for over 40 years and we know that the giving from this event makes a major impact on our charitable partners each year.”
“Safeway is proud of its affiliation with this event, the LPGA and Tournament Golf Foundation. What we’re most excited about is the fact that the event is again able to raise such significant money each year for important children’s charities in the greater Portland area,” said Steve Frisby, President of the Northwest Division of Safeway.
Mika Miyazato won the 2012 event by two shots over Brittany Lincicome and Inbee Park, the 2012 Vare Trophy winner. This was Miyazato’s first win on the LPGA tour.
Tournament Golf Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) charitable non-profit organization, is a local Portland area group of volunteers who donate their time and provide the primary operations for the annual event. TGF is the longest running organization owning an LPGA tournament and the Safeway Classic is the oldest non-major on the LPGA tour.
Safeway Inc. is a Fortune 100 company and one of the largest food and drug retailers in North America based on sales. The company operates 1,644 stores in the United States and western Canada, and had sales of $43.6 billion in 2011. The company’s common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol SWY.
For more information on the Safeway Classic and Tournament Golf Foundation, visit www. safewayclassic.com. For more information on Safeway Stores or the Safeway Foundation, visit www.safeway.com.]]>
LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament
LPGA International- Champions & Legends Courses
Daytona Beach, Florida
Final-round Notes and Interviews
December 2, 2012
Final Round Results
Rebecca Lee-Bentham sank a 60-foot birdie putt on the final hole of LPGA Final Qualifying to earn co-medalist honors with Thailand’s Moriya Jutanugarn. The Toronto native started the day six strokes off the lead but carded five birdies in her bogey-free round for a share of the top spot with Jutanugarn at 13-under par.
“I wasn’t really thinking about coming in first or anything,” said Lee-Bentham. “I just wanted to play well and focus on striking it well and making putts. I’ve been waiting for this for a while. It’s been a long grind for everybody out here.”
Jutanugarn finished 2-over for the day and had her worst score of the week by four strokes. It was her first round without a birdie and broke a 47-hole bogey-free streak on the par 4 10th. She would also bogey No. 12. The teenager kept things in perspective after a tough round and realized she accomplished her original goal.
“I’m so happy to get my card,” said Jutanugarn. “I got it and that was my goal.”
Ayako Uehara of Japan finished third at 12-under after she carded a final-round 3-under 69.
2012 LPGA Tour rookie Kathleen Ekey saved her best round for last and shot the low round of the week on Sunday with a 7-under 65. She jumped from T14 to sole position in fourth place.
“I knew I needed to play well,” said Ekey. “It’s so easy today to press, press, press so I really tried to stay patient.”
She would card three birdies on the front nine and four on the back in her bogey-free round. The Ohio native said finishing in the top-20 relieves some of the frustration she had through her first year on Tour.
“After I had such a good year in 2011, and then this year, I had really high expectations for myself,” said Ekey. “It was so hard for me. I really struggled and it was really, really hard. I’m just so happy I kept pushing and kept working and am so blessed it worked out this way.”
Rolex Rankings No. 19 Chie Arimura (70) and former University of Southern California standout Lisa McClosky (71) tied for fifth. Arimura said she wasn’t only playing for herself to get her card this week but for all of her fellow JLPGA players back in Japan.
“I wanted to do well for them,” said Arimura. “I didn’t want to come up short and have them think that this will be a tough road for all of us. So that was where the pressure was this week.”
Current LPGA members Laura Diaz (72) and Karlin Beck (70) will improve their status for the 2013 season after finishing the week T8 at 6-under.
Stephanie Sherlock joins Lee-Bentham as the second Canadian to fill a spot in the top-20 this year and finished 10th after a 2-over 74 in the final round.
A group of six players finished T11 including Kayla Mortellaro (67), Kim Welch (68), Brooke Pancake (70), Austin Ernst (70), Caroline Masson (71) and Marina Stuetz (71).
Mortellaro, a University of Idaho grad, said that she kept her nerves in check before and throughout her round. She was T39 to start the final round and put together her best round of the week with a bogey-free 5-under 67.
“I actually wasn’t nervous at all,” said Mortellaro. “I was just concentrated on that cliché of one shot at a time. I had no idea of the scores throughout the day. I just needed to ask where I stood. It’s kind of shocking at the moment.”
Welch also made one of the big jumps of the day when she matched her first-round 68 for her low round of the week. She moved from T30 to a tie for 11th.
A seven-player tie for the final four spots in the top-20 forced a playoff that was pushed to a five-hole sudden death finale. Lauren Doughtie, Taylore Karle, Nicole Jeray, Irene Cho, Kelly Jacques, Breanna Elliot and Jiayun Li battled out in a three-hole aggregate on Nos. 9, 10 and 18. Karle and Doughtie would both birdie the last two holes to finish 2-under to secure their spots.
Jeray, Cho, Jacques and Elliot were faced with sudden death for the two remaining spots, and it took the foursome two holes to close out the tournament. After they each pared the par 4 10th, the group played out the 18th hole where Jeray and Cho both birdied to earn exempt status for 2013. Jeray sank a 20-foot putt on 18 to cap off her 19th appearance at LPGA Q School. Cho overcame a case of shaky hands through a two-foot putt to sink the final putt of the week.
“By far the most nerve racking putt of my life,” said Cho. “I learned a lot about my game this week. About my endurance and patience. But just a lot of emotions right now. I couldn’t be happier.”
Twenty-eight additional players also earned 2013 LPGA membership. Those finishing 21st through 45thgained Category 17 status for next season. For full results, click here.
To say that Lizette Salas stumbled upon the game of golf as an accident wouldn’t be farfetched. Salas’s father, Ramon Salas, has been working at Azusa Greens golf course for over 30 years and when her brother disliked the game, Lizette picked up right where he left off.
“My dad has been working at Azusa Greens golf course for 30‑plus years and he’s the head mechanic there,” said Salas. ‘It was my brother supposed to play but he didn’t like it, so I’m the youngest of three, so I went out there and just kind of took it as a hobby.”
Salas’s newfound hobby proved to be just what she needed to help her achieve her longtime goal of attending college but the Azusa, Calif. native got more out of the experience than what she originally bargained for.
“Yeah, that was my first and foremost goal when I was a child is that I knew golf can get me into school,” said Salas. “I was the first person in my family to graduate from college and I think that’s another reason why I stayed. I wanted to win four national championships and that’s why I stayed.”
Salas, a rookie on this year’s LPGA Tour, not only played collegiate golf but was the University of Southern California’s (USC) first four-time All-American. Immediately after college, Salas turned her attention to professional golf and after spending one year on the Symetra Tour, she moved onto the LPGA in dramatic fashion.
“I think I was in 21st or just outside the Top 20 and I made a birdie on the final hole to get into a nine‑way playoff,” said Salas. “I just went straight to the putting green and I knew it was going to come down to putting. I didn’t know the whole playoff situation, so they came up to us and they’re like okay, there’s nine of you. Then we asked how many spots are there and they just said three. We’re like oh, shoot.”
Faced with a difficult task ahead of her, Salas rose to the occasion birding the three playoff holes to solidify her spot on this year’s LPGA Tour and earning her the nickname, “Miss Clutch”.
Then, she did something really impressive.
At the extremely young age of 28 and seemingly at the peak of her game, Ochoa retired from golf and began altering lives instead of record books. Now, as the LPGA prepares for this week’s Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Guadalajara, Mexico, it has never been more clear: The only golfer ever to upstage Lorena Ochoa is Lorena Ochoa.
“I wanted to be remembered for the things I did outside the golf course,” Ochoa said. “Not for winning tournaments.”
When Ochoa’s surprising decision was made public April 20, 2010, she indicated it was powered by the desire to start and raise a family. And she told the truth. The previous December Ochoa had married Andres Conesa, CEO of Aeromexico, and was soon expecting the couple’s first child. Son Pedro was born last December.
“It’s been amazing, for sure my life changed after having Pedro,” Ochoa said. “And you know what, I say one more time, I think I made the right decision stepping away from the competition”
But 2 ½ years after her retirement, it is clear Ochoa’s calling was far greater and not nearly as private as first assumed.
“I knew she was retiring earlier than most of the players but when she started to consider the possibility seriously I was surprised,” said brother Alejandro, who serves as her manager. “Until I know the reasons and projects she had in mind.”
The reasons were complete unselfishness, benevolence, grace and virtue.
Quite, unassuming and humble throughout her career, Ochoa was just as modest with her post-golf plans, but now the reasons for her decision stand like a career grand slam of goodness.
Throwing her energies into the Lorena Ochoa Foundation, the golfer, who will turn 31 later this month, has been busy impacting lives in ways that simply cannot be adequately appreciated.
Born and raised in Guadalajara, Ochoa is the third of four children of a real estate developer and an artist. Growing up, she attended private Roman Catholic schools. On weekends her classes would visit poorer sections of the community to give out food and teach others to pray. She became a regular in a group of girls who took mission trips to the mountains each year to paint churches and play soccer.
Ochoa’s was always a giving spirit and almost immediately after finding success on the LPGA she struggled to decide how best to give back. She has talked about praying and seeking advice from priests, nuns and close friends in an effort to find the right avenue.
“It is in your heart that you want to help others and want to change somebody else’s life,” Ochoa said.
And finally the calling became obvious.
“Everything happened at the right time,“ she said.
The school named La Barranca is located near Guadalajara. It was founded in 1998 to support underprivileged children, but for all its good work, things had gotten tough.
Immediately after turning professional in 2002, Ochoa helped with financial donations, but the school was still struggling to continue its work. Now, aided by funds raised in part by this week’s tournament, the Lorena Ochoa Foundation provides 100 percent of the operating costs.
The impact on some 250 children and their families is priceless.
According to the education center’s Website only 9.3 percent of Mexico’s population can read or write; only 31.6 percent of the Mexican population finishes primary school; and the average schooling of the country is just the fourth grade.
To take on these issues, the school supports underprivileged children with education based on the development of thought, expression, dialogue, art, teamwork, and social improvement within the community. Involvement by parents is required.
“I think it’s nothing better than being able to help,” Ochoa said. “I think in a way it’s a responsibility, you know, being a professional athlete and having the opportunity to reach out. I’ve always done this from the bottom of my heart. It’s a very unique opportunity, and I’m trying to be responsible, you know, and to do it the right way.
“You can’t compare winning tournaments. I think both are great, but right now, what I’m able to do is to work as hard as I can and help as many kids and as many families as I can, and that’s my priority. I’m enjoying that role a lot and I’m going to continue that.”
Adds brother Alejandro: “I think at the end, Lorena will be remembered as the great player she was, but more for what she did caring for needy people of her country.”
Two years ago, after winning I.K. Kim of South Korea, was so impressed she donated half of her prize money to the Lorena Ochoa Foundation. Also, she asked for a return visit several months later to visit La Barranca and meet many of the students.
“It’s nothing to compare to what Lorena does with her foundation,” Kim said of her donation. “I was really humble going there and seeing all the kids so happy. I mean, they do have a lot of good different activities for the kids and I think, you know, what she does is really — means a lot to the kids but also to their families.”
Last year, winner Catriona Matthew called her victory an honor.
“That makes it so much more special,” she said. “Lorena is doing such good work with her foundation. You come and you think I’m not doing enough when you see all the things she does, so to have won her tournament is a special moment for me.”
But Ochoa, who now lives in Mexico City, hasn’t stopped there. Earlier this year, during the Kraft Nabisco in Palm Springs, Calif., she announced the formation of the Lorena Ochoa Golf Foundation, with an expressed purpose of providing minorities in the United States opportunities for family through health, education and inclusion programs delivered through golf activities.
The pilot program is underway in Southern California with plans to move into Texas and Florida as early as next year.
All that leaves Ochoa with little time free time these days, but she does manage to remain occasionally active in the game she loves. One of those opportunities is this week when she will tee it up competitively in the event that carries her name.
“I am very excited and a little bit nervous because it will be difficult for me to play my best golf,” she said. “But the good news is I get to come back and say ‘hi’ to all my friends and welcome all the players. I’m really excited. We’ll see how it goes.”
One thing for certain.
Ochoa will give her best.
Nov. 7, 2012
Pernilla Lindberg goes from snow buddy to golf pro.
As a kid, Pernilla Lindberg only knew two seasons: Golf season and ski season.
“When I was a little kid and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I always said ‘a professional skier or a professional golfer,’” says Lindberg. “I could never decide, so I always said both. I didn’t feel like I had to choose because it was two different seasons.”
Growing up in the foothills of the Scandinavian Mountains and spending more than half the year enveloped in snow, a career as a professional alpine skier might have been the clearer choice for Lindberg. But being the daughter of the president of her home course in Sweden, she went against the odds thinking that golf seemed to be the better fit.
“My mom usually jokes that I spent more time on the golf course than most ‘real’ golfers,” Lindberg says. “My parents brought me out to the golf course when I was a baby and from then on I spent pretty much every summer either there or some other golf course in Sweden.
“Even before I played with them I would still walk 18 holes with them and pick flowers and stuff. So, I have to thank my parents for getting me into golf.”
Being equally passionate about both sports, Lindberg practiced her golf game during the short golf season and took to the slopes once snow began to fall, repeating the same cycle in the following years.
“Growing up I was golfing in the summer, skiing in the winter,” Lindberg said. “I think the break from golf in the winter time was good because it gave me a lot of good training. Like my legs have always been pretty strong because of my skiing and a lot of swing coaches have told me that I have a lot of power in my legs because they are so strong. I love that I can combine the two sports.”
During her early teenage years, Lindberg quickly rose in the ranks in both alpine skiing and junior golf, ranking in the top-1o in her age group in both sports. At 15, Lindberg was selected to be a member of the Swedish National Junior golf team, and it wasn’t until then that she felt like she had to choose one sport over the other. But as she started to devote more of her time to golf, it was a natural decision to pursue golf over skiing.
After making the national team, Lindberg was one of 25 junior golfers in Sweden admitted into the only high school golf academy, the Perstorp/Klippan Gymnasium. While at the school, a team of five girls traveled to the U.S. each year to compete in the Mercedes-Benz Women’s Championship, put together by the University of Tennessee.
Two trips to this tournament helped put her name on the radar for many collegiate golf programs, but after being paired with Oklahoma State University during her first trip, she knew her name belonged on the Cowgirl roster.
“A lot of Swedish golfers have actually come through and played golf at Oklahoma State,” Lindberg said. “I talked to the girls who had been at Oklahoma State and they all loved it, so that made my decision pretty easy.”
By the end of her freshman year, she proved to be a star among the Big 12 female golfers, ranking third in the conference behind two Texas A&M players and earning the Big 12’s 2006 Newcomer of the Year. Over four years, Lindberg captured three titles, was chosen as the Big 12 Player of the Year in 2008 and earned First-Team All-American honors in two consecutive seasons.
“I’m really happy I got to spend four years there,” Lindberg said. “The atmosphere surrounding the golf team, both men’s and women’s, was amazing. We were very competitive, all the coaches had so much knowledge and Karsten Creek Golf Course was such a great practice facility.
“Going to that golf course every day and seeing Rickie Fowler or Peter Uihlien and all my teammates, it was great motivation every day and we always pushed each other. If I could go back to when I was choosing a college, I would go back and pick Oklahoma State again.”
Seeing the success she had as a collegiate and junior golfer, Lindberg knew her career was just beginning. After graduating with a degree in International Business in 2009, she spent the summer competing on the Symetra Tour and tallied five top-10s in 10 events. An 11th place finish on the season money list secured her a spot in the Final Qualifying Tournament where she earned her LPGA card with a 19th place finish.
Although Lindberg has struggled to continue this success into her professional career, she says she ends each season learning something new about her golf game which has helped shape her into the golfer she is now. Finishing her third year on the LPGA Tour, she saw spurts of brilliant play at the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic and the Navistar LPGA Classic, where she carded a career-best tie for 11th. Lindberg says it’s only a matter of time before all the pieces come together and she finds herself in the winner’s circle.
“I feel that everything is coming together slowly piece by piece,” Lindberg says. “Over my first three years, I feel that I have learned something new each year and that I’m finally putting more of it together. I think the second half of this year I’m starting to see the progress that I want and the game that I know I have. I really feel that I am going in the right direction.”
Nov. 1, 2012
South Korean clinches Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year honors
The LPGA today announced that South Korea’s So Yeon Ryu (pronounced So Yun Yoo) has mathematically clinched 2012 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year honors with three tournaments remaining in the 2012 season. Highlighting the LPGA as Golf’s Global Tour, Ryu becomes the eighth South Korean to claim Rolex Rookie of the Year honors dating back to LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame member Se Ri Pak in 1998. Ryu finished the 2012 Safeway Classic tied for fourth at -10 par.
“First of all, I want to give thanks to Se Ri Pak, Hee Won Han, Grace Park and all of the first generation Korean players because they opened up our road and we can follow in their steps,” Ryu said. “This year the rookie class was so strong with Lexi Thompson, Sydnee Michaels and a lot of really, really great players, so it’s an honor to win the award.”
Ryu outlasted Lexi Thompson for the top rookie honor on the strength of 14 top-10 finishes through 22 events, including a victory at the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic Presented by Kroger, Owens Corning and O-I in August where she carded a career-best 62 in the final round to become a Rolex First-Time Winner. The 22-year-old earned LPGA Tour membership by winning the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open as a member of the Korea LPGA (KLPGA).
“Winning the U.S. Women’s Open last year as a non-member was a really huge thing for me, but I really worried that some people might think it was just one lucky win,” she said. “That was a huge pressure on me, so I set a goal to win this award and add another trophy. I’m so proud of myself to be eighth Korean to win the Rookie of the Year.”
The 22-year-old came out of the gates hot this year, nearly winning the season-opening ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, where she tied for second after losing to Jessica Korda. Her point lead could have been much larger, but she struggled in the first three major championships this season where points are doubled. Ryu redeemed herself at the RICOH Women’s British Open where she tied for fifth.
The rookie is currently in the top-10 of seven statistical categories including top-10 finish percentage, birdies, putts per GIR, rounds in the 60’s, scoring average, rounds under par and eagles. She leads Thompson by 527 points with three tournaments remaining. Victories are worth 150 points in the Rolex Rookie of the Year race.
“Yani Tseng is No. 1 on the Rolex Rankings and she was a Rookie of the Year, so I really want to take that road and follow in Yani’s steps now,” Ryu said.
The Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award, named for LPGA Founder and LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame member Louise Suggs, was established in 1962. Since its inception, nine award winners have become members of the LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame: Joanne Carner (1970), Amy Alcott (1975), Nancy Lopez (1978), Beth Daniel (1979), Patty Sheehan (1981), Juli Inkster (1984), Annika Sorenstam (1994), Karrie Webb (1996) and Se Ri Pak (1998).
Oct. 29, 2012
Below is a statement from Commissioner Mike Whan:
“I talked to Doug’s wife Stephanie, and she told me that Doug passed very peacefully, and with his family close-by.
I’m no expert on how to grieve, but this one has hit pretty hard. There are no words that can either ease the pain of losing a member of our family, or help to fully explain or understand his passing.
What I do know for certain is that Doug loved being a part of the LPGA family, and he told me – on numerous occasions – that he felt blessed to have a job that he loved so much.
Personally, there was a distinctive peacefulness that always seemed to accompany Doug. No doubt, he is in a place of peace now and he will always be remembered for his kind heart and many gifts.”
Memorial services have not been finalized at this time. For now, the LPGA asks that you keep Doug’s family in your thoughts. We have lost a wonderful man, one of our strongest ambassadors, and a proud member of the golf industry.
Learn more about Doug, his illness, and his love for golf…
The Safeway Classic Junior Clinic was held on August 13, 2012 at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club. LPGA pro’s Dori Carter and Irene Cho taught the 110 kids in attendance a variety of shots and looked to create a fun, and inspiring atmosphere for all in attendance. Participants were able to get to know the pro’s on a personal level along with gaining hands on experience and one-on-one coaching.
Thank you to all the LPGA and First Tee of Greater Portland staff and local pro’s who helped make this event possible.]]>
The best swings in the LPGA come out to support the 2012 Safeway Classic in this promotional TV commercial.]]>