The LPGA has added another piece to the 2013 puzzle by announcing a new tournament in North Texas.
The North Texas LPGA Shootout to be held at the end of April at Las Colinas Country Club in Irving, Texas marks the Tour's return to the Lone Star State since 2009 when the LPGA Tour Championship was played outside Houston. It's also the Tour's first stop in North Texas since the 1991 U.S. Women's Open, which was won by Meg Mallon at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth.
The $1.3 million event will provide a unique opportunity for amateur players in the area to earn spots in the field through qualifying. Tournament exemptions will be awarded to the winners of a high school and collegiate "shootout" played in advance of the event. More importantly, for regular members of the LPGA Tour, the tournament will be a full-field event of 144 players playing 72 holes of stroke play over four days of competition.
The tournament will provide a homecoming of sorts for several current LPGA members including 2012 Rolex Player of the Year Stacy Lewis, five-time LPGA winner Angela Stanford, 2012 Rolex First-Time Winner Brittany Lang and Katie Futcher who were all junior golf stars in Texas. Candie Kung (Allen), Gerina Piller (Plano) and Heather Bowie Young (Fort Worth) are all current North Texas residents.
"I am extremely excited for the opportunity to play in my home state again," said Stanford a native of Saginaw, Texas. "North Texas is a community with a passionate golf fan base and I know they will love having the Tour in town."
It's the second new tournament announced by the LPGA this week for 2013. On Monday, commissioner Mike Whan confirmed the Tour would be playing its first ever event in The Bahamas during the Memorial Day long weekend. More importantly, the Texas event addresses one of the concerns of LPGA members that there be more North American events on the schedule.
Since Whan took over as commissioner, the schedule has grown from 23 in 2010 to 27 last season.