One week ahead of the US Open, the LPGA plays its second major of the season: The McDonald’s LPGA Championship (presented by Coca-Cola).
For the second year, the tournament will be played at Bulle Rock Golf Course in Havre de Grace, Maryland (hometown of baseball legend Cal Ripken, btw). With $1.8 million in prize money, the LPGA Championship has attracted most of the top players on the LPGA Tour. The defending champion is Annika Sorenstam, who last year won over Michelle Wie by three strokes.
The Golf Channel will cover all four rounds of the tournament.
The LPGA Championship began in 1955 with a 54 hole event at the Orchard Ridge Country Club in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. In a strange format, the two low scorers—Beverly Hanson and Louise Suggs—then played 36 holes to determine the winner. Hanson took the trophy in that first LPGA Championship. The format was expanded to a 72 hole tournament in the second season.
McDonald’s became the title sponsor in 1994 when longtime supporter Mazda withdrew. McDonald’s alreay was the sponsor of another LPGA event—the McDonald’s Kids Classic— but was first in line if a major sponsorship should ever become available.
Bulle Rock is a Pete Dye course, and will play at 6,488 yards to a par of 72. The course is named after the first thoroughbred hourse brought to America. (Maryland, for those of you not in the know, is as much horse country as Kentucky.)
There should be a lot of drama in this event, with defending superstar Annika Sorenstam , the resurgent Karrie Webb, and the early candidate for player of the year, Lorena Ochoa all ensconsed as favorites.