Kapalua to Host LPGA Event in 2008


Ladies Professional Golf AssociationThe LPGA Tour will add a third tournament in Hawaii next year, this one serving as a bridge to Asia.
Kapalua Resort on the west end of Maui, site of the PGA TOUR's season-opening tournament since 1999, will host a full-field LPGA Tour event starting in October 2008. The Kapalua LPGA Classic will be held on the Bay Course.
The date has not been determined, but commissioner Carolyn Bivens said it likely would be held the week before the LPGA Tour takes a three-week swing through South Korea, Thailand and Japan.
Bivens had talked recently about improving the flow of the LPGA schedule, and Kapalua was a start.
'We're getting closer,' Bivens said from the HSBC Women's World Match Play in New York. 'In September and October, we're on the West Coast, and it would be nice to have Hawaii on our way to and from Asia.'
It also will be a full field of players, which will include Kraft Nabisco champion Morgan Pressel.
Along with hosting an LPGA Tour event for the first time, Kapalua signed Pressel to an endorsement deal in which the 19-year-old will be the resort's official LPGA Tour professional. Pressel and her grandparents went to Kapalua for vacation in January and immediately hit it off with Gary Planos, the senior vice president of resort operations at Kapalua.
'She is an outstanding young professional with a great future ahead of her, and a perfect match for the resort,' Planos said.
The Bay Course was a popular spot in the 1990s when it held a silly season event on the PGA TOUR. That tournament shifted to the Plantation Course, which is now the course used for winners-only Mercedes-Benz Championship that starts the PGA TOUR season.
Having a full field on the Bay Course was an important step for the LPGA Tour. This year, the LPGA Tour's last full event is in early October at the Longs Drug Challenge in early October.
Some of the rank-and-file members have been complaining about not having enough opportunities late in the season, especially as the tour moves to Asia and with only 32 players eligible for the season-ending ADT Championship, which awards $1 million to the winner.
'It's a great combination for us,' Bivens said. 'It's a full field, a gorgeous resort, a great course, and it comes at a time when it fits into the flow. These are all the things we want to be able to do going forward.'
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