All images courtesy of Alex Fisher Photo.
In 1963, the LPGA teed up a championship tournament of its own for the first time. Walking the fairways then (and winning the event) were names like Mickey Wright, Sandra Haynie, Kathy Whitworth and Betsy Rawls. As the event gained longevity into the 1970s, a new generation of champions replaced the old guard. Nancy Lopez, Patty Sheehan, Chako Higuchi and Donna Caponi watched their names be inscribed on the winner’s trophy. Through the 80s, 90s and 00s, the champions kept coming and winning: Annika Sorenstam (three consecutive years!), Se Ri Pak (three titles of her own), Juli Inkster and Laura Davies with a pair of titles each, and Beth Daniel, Betsy King, Pat Bradley and Karrie Webb with one title each.
In 1977, Rochester, NY welcomed the LPGA Tour to nearby Locust Hill country club. For the next 37 years, a women’s professional tournament was played at the Seymour Dunn course. In 1998, Wegman’s took over sponsorship and in 2010, the tournament was rebranded a major, the LPGA Championship. Last year, it was announced that the tournament would move to Monroe Golf Club, a Donald Ross course not far to the east. It was anticipated that the event, and Wegman’s sponsorship, might continue in the Rochester area for years to come. Earlier this year, the LPGA Tour announced a bold partnership with the PGA of America to hold the first Women’s PGA in 2015. The title sponsor will be KPMG and the event will move to Westchester Country Club, near New York, next year.
In one sweeping announcement, the Flower City lost its major championship and its LPGA event. Those who know the area are hopeful that another event can return in the near future, to bring women’s professional golf back to Rochester. For now, enjoy these images from Wednesday’s final practice round.