The LPGA Tour will return to Dallas-Fort Worth for the first time in more than two decades with the creation of the North Texas LPGA Shootout, to be held April 25-28 at Las Colinas Country Club in Irving.
Tour officials made the announcement today, placing a 72-hole event in D-FW for the first time since the 1991 U.S. Women’s Open was played at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth.
The tour has had an occasional presence in the area, but no official event, during the past 21 seasons. The LPGA Skins Game, an unofficial-money event, was played in Frisco from 1990-98. In addition, LPGA Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam competed against male peers on the PGA Tour at the 2003 Colonial tournament.
But the $1.3 million event in Irving, which will feature a full field of 144 players, will be the first stroke-play tournament for LPGA competitors in D-FW since 1991 and the first at any venue in Texas since the 2009 LPGA Tour Championship in Houston.
The return to Texas resonates with Saginaw resident Angela Stanford, a former TCU golfer and five-time winner on the LPGA Tour. In a statement released by tour officials, Stanford said: “I am extremely excited for the opportunity to play in my home state again. North Texas is a community with a passionate golf fan base and I know they will love having the tour in town.”
Tournament officials said there will be an opportunity for amateur players _ including high school and college golfers _ to qualify for the event, with exemptions awarded to winners of a “shootout” played in advance of the LPGA tournament. Final details of the “shootout” styled qualifier will be announced at a later date.
LPGA commissioner Michael Whan said tour officials are “truly thrilled to return to … Texas and to bring the LPGA Tour back to a region where we have a great history and passionate fans. It makes sense for the LPGA to be in North Texas.”
Las Colinas Country Club, built in 1963 by architect Joe Finger, is a 6,809-yard, par-71 facility with bent-grass greens and Tifway 419 Bermuda fairways. Ron Woolard, the club’s general manager, said members are “proud to welcome the LPGA players to North Texas and to showcase our great club” as part of Las Colinas’ 50th anniversary celebration.
Tournament proceeds will benefit The Nexus Club, which supports and raises funds for the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf in North Texas.
_ Jimmy Burch