LPGA gains foothold in New York area with Founders Cup

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Lexi Thompson putts on the 18th green during the final round of the Palos Verdes Championship LPGA golf tournament on Sunday, May 1, 2022, in Palos Verdes Estates, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

PA

The LPGA Tour’s Cognizant Founders Cup is moving to a new home this year a little closer to New York.

Just seven months after Jin Young Ko defended his 2019 title at Mountain Ridge County Club in West Caldwell, New Jersey, the event honoring the 13 founders of the LPGA Tour will be played next week at Upper Montclair Country Club in Clifton.

Even in New Jersey, it’s less than 15 minutes by car. And on a clear day, the Big Apple skyline will be visible.

Tournament director Scott Wood said there was talk of returning to Mountain Ridge, but playing the event in May posed a problem for the club.

“We wanted to stay close. We wanted to be able to have our footprint here in the north, you know, in the northern New Jersey area,” he said. “Cognizant is from Teaneck, New Jersey. So it all really started to snowball and really became a comfort factor for us to come back to a familiar place for LPGA fans, a nice facility.

The course is no stranger to tournaments hosting the PGA Tour, LPGA and a senior event featuring NFL players. Winners include Arnold Palmer, Nancy Lopez, Pat Bradley, Lorena Ochoa, Lee Trevino and Raymond Floyd.

The Founders Cup, which began in 2011 and had its first 10 events in Arizona, will have a $3 million prize pool. That’s the most money for a non-major, non-season-ending event on the LPGA Tour.

Cognizant, a technology solutions company, has committed to be the sponsor for the next three years, Wood said.

“They want to put the right measures in place so that they can have an impact on the players, for our tour and for women’s sports and can be a driving force for other companies to kind of ride on that board,” Wood said. . . “There is a big gap between men’s and women’s sports, and Cognizant is at the forefront of these changes.”

AW Tillinghast designed the original 18 holes and Robert Trent Jones Sr. did the renovation in the 1950s which extended it to 27 holes. This will be the first LPGA event at Upper Montclair since Ji Young Oh won the LPGA Sybase Classic in 2009.

Stacy Lewis, who will captain the US Solheim Cup team next year, was a touring rookie in 2009. She said he didn’t remember the course well, but she hopes things will start to pick up. engage when it resumes the journey.

When asked to captain the Solheim team, she joked that she hopes 12 Americans will play better than her next year.

Ko, who has already won twice on the circuit this year, will headline the field of 144 players in the 72-hole event.

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