New LPGA golf tournament coming to Midland - WNEM TV 5

New LPGA golf tournament coming to Midland

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More golf is set to tee off in Mid-Michigan with the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational.

The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) along with Dow announced the 72-hole team event during a press conference on Thursday morning.

It will happen July 17-20, 2019, and feature 72, two-player teams competing in both foursomes and four-ball with a $2 million purse.

This will be the first official team event for the LPGA tour, and also the first elite professional event at the Midland Country Club.

"It's a great honor," said Todd Beals, general manager for the country club. "Having a sponsor as Dow to be behind it or Octagon, the group that's going to help run it. We're all elated."

The agreement between Dow and the LPGA is for at least five years.

“We are so thrilled to bring this event to the region to further showcase all that the Great Lakes Bay area has to offer,” said Jim Fitterling, chief executive officer-elect of Dow. “The impact of this event will extend far beyond the golf course, as this unique partnership offers a great platform to build our community and explore the intersections between golf, our business, and life, especially in the areas of careers and inclusion.” 

While it’s still more than a year out, we’re told children 17-years-old and under will be free, while tickets for adults will be modestly priced.

This tournament will be the eighth LPGA Tour in Michigan history.

Jon Podany, spokesperson for the LPGA, said he is thrilled to have an event in the Great Lakes Bay Region.

"You want to go where people embrace you. And we really feel like this region has already embraced the LPGA," Podany said.

He said the tournament will be the first official team competition in LPGA tour history.

"You have that team dynamic. You have the high fives. You have the celebrations together. They're playing for more than just themselves," Podany said.

The specific details of how the competition will work has not been finalized.

Jenny Shin, golfer, said she is pumped about it.

"I've never played a team play event on the LPGA tour and this is my eighth year. So, I'm really excited for this event," Shin said.

Beals said this is a must see in 2019 for golf fans.

"The players already love what they've seen and I think that with this team format they're going to eat up the course. They're going to shoot some low scores, but it's going to be very exciting to see," Beals said.

Matthew Felan, president and CEO of the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance, said the tour will happen during the Tall Ship Celebration in Bay City. So, he expects business to be booming.

"Our restaurants, our hotels, our shopping from Mt. Pleasant to Bay City to Saginaw, Midland should be absolutely full," Felan said.

Felan said he plans to build on the momentum from the announcement. He wants to make the Great Lakes Bay Region a bigger travel destination than it already is.

"They go to downtown Bay City and they go, 'wow, what an amazing place.' And tall ships and the waterfront. And then they go to Saginaw and see the cultural gems there and make their way to Mt. Pleasant and maybe go to the casino. And realize, you know what, even if there isn't a golf tournament this is a place I want to come and visit," Felan said.

Click here to read the press release from the LPGA

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