LPGA Legends Tour golf event returning to Maine in September

LPGA Legends Tour golfer Sherri Turner acknowledges applause at the Hannaford Community Challenge Tournament in Falmouth on Sunday June 24, 2012. Turner won, coming in six under par.
LPGA Legends Tour golfer Sherri Turner acknowledges applause at the Hannaford Community Challenge Tournament in Falmouth on Sunday June 24, 2012. Turner won, coming in six under par. Buy Photo
Posted April 22, 2013, at 7:35 p.m.
Last modified April 22, 2013, at 11:45 p.m.

FALMOUTH, Maine — The Legends Tour, consisting of more than 100 LPGA pros age 45 and above, will be holding its second golf tournament in Maine in September.

Harris Golf Co. is the lead sponsor of this year’s event, scheduled for Sept. 12-15 at Falmouth Country Club, one of 10 golf properties in Maine owned or operated by Harris Golf.

Last year’s inaugural event, the Hannaford Community Challenge, which was also held at Falmouth Country Club, was well received by both the public and the players. More than 3,000 fans attended the two-day tournament, which was held in late June, and Jane Blalock, CEO of the Legends Tour, said after last year’s tournament that she had heard from many of the players on how much they enjoyed the event and wanted to return.

That interest was displayed again this year by Blalock.

“I’ve already heard from several of our players who are excited to return to the greater Portland area and to the challenging Falmouth Country Club course,” she said in a press release.

Making that return happen still took months of discussion and negotiations, which began in early October 2012, according to Matt Barnard, spokesman for Harris Golf. The tour’s return was announced Wednesday.

“We had it pretty much wrapped up the week before, all but signing the contract,” Barnard said.

“We had to make sure all our ducks were in a row,” he added, “but there was never any doubt that it was going to happen again. It was just a matter of when.”

The September dates could work in the tournament’s favor in a couple of ways, Barnard said.

“It’s going to be beautiful,” he said. “Some of the color will have started, and it’s a more stable time of year [weather-wise].”
The 2012 event, won by Sherri Turner of Phoenix, went well, coinciding with warm weather for both tournament days, including a bright, sunny day for Sunday’s 18-hole finale, but New England weather is always questionable.

“We nailed it last year,” Barnard said, “but there’s no guarantee of that.”

The timing works well for the pros, too. The BJ’s Charity Pro-Am is scheduled for Sept. 18 at Pinehills Golf Club in Plymouth, Mass., and the following week (Sept. 23-29) if the Legends Tour Championship in French Lick, Ind.

“They’ll have a nice little run there,” said Sue Fracker, spokesperson for the Legends Tour.

There will be some differences in this year’s event with two days of pro-ams on Sept. 12 and 13 instead of the one pro-am day last year. That was based on the interest expressed last year.

“We felt that was the case,” Barnard said, who cited an example from this year.

“[The tournament] was announced about mid-day, and it wasn’t the end of the day before before we had our initial inquiry [from a company about participating in the pro-am],” Barnard said.

Since then there have been more.

Both pro-ams are expected to include the full field of pros. It won’t be split so that half play one day and the other half the next day.

“The interest is definitely there,” Barnard said. “With our connections from last year and our connections in golf, it should not be difficult to fill [them].”

Fracker thinks that the experience of playing alongside the LPGA pros is part of the draw.

“I think we’re one of the best pro-am experiences out there,” she said.

Everybody notices how smooth their swings are, she added, and how they might be able to incorporate that into their own play.

This year’s charities have not been announced, but Barnard expects they will be within two to three weeks.

Total purse for the 40-player event is $200,000 with $30,000 going to the winner.

First Tee at Barnes Brook

Barnes Brook Golf Course in Enfield will host a First Tee of Maine after-school program for students ages 12-17 starting April 30 and held every Tuesday and Friday from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. through May 31.

The cost of the 10-session program is $70 per student, and registration is required by Friday.

Sign up at thefirstteemaine.org or call Mike at Barnes Brook at 207-732-3006. Space is limited.

BHGC ladies’ meeting set

The Bar Harbor Golf Course Ladies’ Golf Association is holding an organizational meeting on April 30 at 5 p.m. at Pat’s Pizza in Ellsworth.

The meeting is open to new players as well as previous participants.

The ladies’ association hosts weekly tournaments at 4:45 p.m. Tuesdays from mid-May to mid-September.

Call Barbara Arter, 669-2118, for more information.

Sports Medicine Scramble

The 14th annual University of Maine Sports Medicine Scramble will be held June 7 at Hermon Meadow Golf Club.

The tournament helps support the UMaine Sports Medicine staff’s mission of providing care to all UMaine student-athletes.

The entry fee is $75 per person, $300 per foursome, and players are asked to register by May 31 to guarantee their spots. Registration begins at 7:15 a.m. and play starts at 8 a.m.

Sponsorships also are available. Call the Kessock Sports Medicine Center at 581-1071 for information.

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