Women’s Golf returns to Wilshire after years away

| March 29, 2018 | 0 Comments

WILSHIRE COUNTRY CLUB last hosted the LPGA in 2001.

The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) returns to Los Angeles this month for the first time in more than a decade when the best players in women’s golf descend on the Wilshire Country Club.

The inaugural “HUGEL-JTBC LA Open” takes place April 16 to 22, featuring 144 women golfers competing over 72 holes for a share of the $1.5 million purse.

“Members are ecstatic about bringing the LPGA back to the Wilshire Country Club,” the club’s president David Damus told the Chronicle. “It’s a great chance to support women’s golf, and members are eager to welcome the tournament back to Los Angeles.”

The Wilshire Country Club last hosted the LPGA in 2001.

Who’s going to be playing? 

The field of players won’t be finalized until the week before the event, which is standard for such tournaments. But organizers have already said that the “field is stacked” for the LPGA to return to Los Angeles.

WILSHIRE WELCOMES women’s golf back to Hancock Park at a March 19 press event with, from left, JS Kang of Eiger Marketing, Wilshire Country Club president David Damus, and players Robynn Ree and Natalie Gulbis.

At a March 19 press event, tournament organizers said that among the early commitments from players are nine of the last 10 major winners, including Danielle Kang, So-yeon Ryu, Brooke Henderson, Lydia Ko and Anna Nordqvist. 

Accepting sponsor exemptions to compete at the tournament is Sacramento-native Natalie Gulbis, who was at the March event at Wilshire to answer questions from the press, and Korean newcomer Hae-ran Ryu. In her 16-year career on the LPGA, Gulbis has won nearly $5 million in prize money and posted 37 top-ten finishes. Ryu, on the other hand, is a highly-accomplished junior golfer and a rising teenage star in South Korea, who won the Evian Championship Junior Cup last year.

When asked if she thought the tournament would be well attended, Gulbis said that the players are “really excited” to be back in Los Angeles.

“There’s no player that’s not going to come here,” Gulbis said with a laugh. “To come to Los Angeles and play at a historic golf course like Wilshire, it just adds an extra layer of excitement.”

Gulbis said that the tournament will be a great event for spectators too: “This is one of those golf courses where you can be in one spot and see a lot of great golf.”

TALKING GOLF, Wilshire C.C. president David Damus stands with fan-favorite Natalie Gulbis.

Echoing that sentiment, Damus says the country club has been “working on the course non-stop” to get ready for the tournament.

“I think you’re going to see some of the best greens we’ve ever had,” said Damus, noting that recent rain has been great for all the work being done. Founded in 1919, Wilshire is a links-style course designed by Norman Macbeth.

Local fan-favorite, USC graduate Robynn Ree also was on hand at the press event and said she is “really looking forward” to the tournament. As a Southern California native, Ree has played the Wilshire golf course 20 to 30 times.

When asked if Wilshire members have a favorite going into the tournament, general manager Todd Keefer said that everyone at the club is rooting for “all of the Trojan players” as well as Natalie Gulbis, who started her professional career often playing at Wilshire.

“We’re proud that Natalie is going to be the face of the tournament. We are fond of her energy and think she represents the sport well,” he said.

Want to witness all the action in person? Tickets are still available. A one-day pass costs $20; a weekly pass costs $50. Children 17 and under are admitted free. Spectator parking will be at a remote location with free shuttles running before and after tee times.

The tournament, sponsored by Hugel, a South Korean-based maker of Botox, and Korean broadcasting company JTBC, will be televised live on the Golf Channel.

Visit hugeljtbcopen.com.


By Billy Taylor

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Category: Entertainment

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