news 6 days ago

LPGA Tour returns to Pinellas County after a 30-year absence

Tampa Bay Times — Rodney Page Tampa Bay Times

July 08--

BELLEAIRThe LPGA Tour will return to the Tampa Bay area for the first time since 1989. Tour officials announced Monday that the Pelican Women’s Championship presented by DEX Imaging will be held the week of May 11-17, 2020, at the Pelican Golf Club.

The inaugural tournament will feature a full field of 144 golfers with a total purse of $1.75 million. The current agreement is for three years, with an option to extend the contract after that.

“I hope it turns into 30 years," said LPGA commissioner Michael Whan, who attended the Monday morning news conference.

The last time a full-fledged LPGA event was held in the area was the USX Golf Classic in 1989 at Pasadena Country Club. Betsy King was the winner. There was a mixed team event held at Bardmoor Country Club and Innisbrook Resort until 1999, but that included PGA players.

“For us, it’s just great to bring something like this to the bay area," said Dan Doyle Jr., president and CEO of DEX Imaging and a co-owner of Pelican Golf Club. “I grew up here so to be able to have an event like this is special."

Pelican Golf Club was formerly known as Belleview Biltmore Golf Club. The course was originally built in 1925 and designed by Donald Ross, who also designed Dunedin Country Club. Renovations to the course were completed in 2017.

Construction is currently underway on a new clubhouse. The driving range is also being lengthened and a new practice putting green and villas are being built on the north side of the course.

“A lot of the girls already live in the area,” said LPGA professional Nelly Korda, who is from Sarasota. “It should be a really cool, family event. I know everyone is excited about it and the Tour is making strides in the right direction.”

___

(c)2019 the Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.)

Visit the Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.) at www.tampabay.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.