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LPGA introducing Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions in 2019

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PHOENIX – The LPGA will begin its 2019 schedule with a new season opener, the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions at Four Seasons Resort Orlando.

It’s an official LPGA event set to be played Jan. 17-20 at Tranquilo Golf Club.

The tournament will feature LPGA winners from the previous two seasons in a 72-hole pro-am format, with 45 celebrity players and 10 amateurs paired with LPGA pros for all four rounds.

The LPGA pros will play for a $1.2 million purse, the celebrity players for a $500,000 purse. The tour pros will play stroke play with no cut, with the celebrities playing a modified stableford format.

If the event sounds familiar, it is. It takes the place of the Diamond Resorts Invitational, which featured PGA Tour Champions pros, a handful of LPGA pros and celebrities in a PGA Tour Champions Challenge Season event.

Golf Channel will televise the event on Thursday and Friday, with NBC televising on Saturday and Sunday. Golf Channel will also do an hour lead-in to NBC’s weekend broadcasts.

So far, 24 LPGA pros have already qualified for the event as winners in 2017 and ’18: Brittany Lincicome, Jin Young Ko, Jessica Korda, Michelle Wie, Shanshan Feng, Brooke Henderson, Ha Na Jang, Eun Hee Ji, Ariya Jutanugarn, Danielle Kang, Cristie Kerr, In-Kyung Kim, Sei Young Kim, Katherine Kirk, Mi Hyang Lee, Mirim Lee, Stacy Lewis, Haru Nomura, Anna Nordqvist, Inbee Park, Sung Hyun Park, So Yeon Ryu, Lexi Thompson and Amy Yang.

Past celebrity fields have included sports stars, such as Brian Urlacher, Marcus Allen, John Smoltz, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Justin Verlander and Brian McCann, as well as entertainers such as Lee Brice, Larry the Cable Guy, Willie Robertson, Chris Harrison and Alfonso Ribeiro.