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LPGA adds Texas event near Dallas

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The LPGA is returning to the Lone Star State.

The North Texas LPGA Shootout will be played April 25-28 at Las Colinas Country Club in Irving, Texas, just outside Dallas, the tour announced Thursday.

The 72-hole stroke-play event will feature a $1.3 million purse with a full field (144 players).

The new tournament doesn’t have a title sponsor. Instead, tour officials said, financing came together through a collection of local and regional sponsors.

Though the LPGA isn’t expected to release its full schedule until next week, Thursday’s news marks the third new event to be announced for this year. Last week, the LPGA announced the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic will be played on Paradise Island May 23-26. Last fall, LPGA commissioner Mike Whan announced that a new event in China is coming together in Beijing as part of the fall Asian swing this year.

That’s seven new events, so far, that Whan has put together over the last two years.

The LPGA featured 34 official events in 2008, but through tough economic times and after a business backlash to policies of former LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens, the tour’s schedule shrunk to just 23 official events in 2011. Whan righted what felt like a foundering ship last year with the announcement of four new tournaments, five new check-cashing opportunities with the RR Donnelley Founders Cup adding a purse. The tour featured 27 official events in 2012 and is building on that this year. The Navistar Classic appears to be the only event the LPGA could lose from last season’s schedule, with Navistar announcing in November that it would not return as title sponsor of the event in Prattville, Ala. Whan, however, said late last year that he believed that event will still end up on the 2013 schedule.

The North Texas Shootout will be the first LPGA event to be played in the Lone Star State in four years, since the LPGA Tour Championship was played in Houston. It’s the first stop in North Texas since Meg Mallon won the U.S. Women’s Open at Colonial Country Club in 1991.

The North Texas Shootout will award tournament spots to amateurs, with the winners of a high school and collegiate shootout gaining spots.

Stacy Lewis, Angela Stanford and Brittany Lang are among LPGA pros from Texas.