LPGA to have Match Play event at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas
By DOUG FERGUSON
LOS ANGELES (AP) Shadow Creek opened its course to the PGA Tour in the fall, and now it's the LPGA Tour's turn.
The LPGA announced Thursday its new match play event is headed to the exclusive course north of Las Vegas in May, one week before the U.S. Women' Open. Along with going to Shadow Creek, the LPGA says Los Angeles-based Bank of Hope will be the title sponsor.
Bank of Hope, one of the leading Asian-American banks in he U.S., previously was title sponsor of the Founders Cup.
"We look forward to working closely with the LPGA and Shadow Creek to create one of the tour's most exciting and successful events of 2021 and beyond," said Kevin Kim, chairman and CEO at Bank of Hope.
Shadow Creek is owned by MGM Resorts International and available only to resort guests.
The Tom Fazio design hosted a made-for-TV match on Thanksgiving weekend in 2018 between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Then, it proved to be the perfect fit for the CJ Cup at Shadow Creek last fall when the South Korea event was forced to move for one year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jason Kokrak outlasted Xander Schauffele to win his first PGA Tour event against a 78-man field.
The LPGA Tour previously had the HSBC Women's World Match Play from 2005 through 2007, and then the Sybase Match Play Championship from 2010 through 2012. All but one were played at Hamilton Farms in New Jersey. It most recently had the Lorena Ochoa Match Play in 2017 in Mexico. The Women's Western Open was match play from 1950 to 1954.
The Bank of Hope LPGA Match Play will be May 26-30. The following week is the U.S. Women's Open at Olympic Club in San Francisco.
The tour said it would feature a 64-player field divided into 16 groups of four and will feature three days of round-robin matches. The winner of each group advances to single-elimination matches.
That's similar to the PGA Tour's format in Texas. Still to be determined for the LPGA Tour is how the 64 players will qualify and tie-breaker formats for pool play.
MGM Resorts has a golf ambassador program - Kokrak is one of them - that has included Danielle Kang, Cristie Kerr, Natalie Gulbis and Michelle Wie West.
"Bank of Hope and MGM Resorts are two organizations that have proven to be great supporters of women's sports and we are honored to have them as LPGA partners," said Ricki Lasky, the tour's chief tournament business officer.
The tournament was already on the LPGA Tour schedule, minus the sponsor and location. Still to be determined is one other event (stroke play) that involves the Ladies European Tour and the European Tour in July during the LPGA's swing through Europe.
Updated February 18, 2021