CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — After three successful years of hosting a stop on the Epson Tour, the “Road to the LPGA,” Hurricane’s Copper Rock Golf Course is evolving in a major way. The LPGA Senior Championship on May 20-25 will immediately follow the Copper Rock Championship on May 13-18 for thrilling back-to-back weeks of professional women’s golf.
The LPGA Senior Championship will be played in Utah for the first time. Additionally, Copper Rock Golf Course will become the first venue to host an Epson Tour event and a Legends of the LPGA major championship in the same year. Both events will be run by an all-female leadership team, providing career-changing opportunities on and off the golf course.
“These events are an incredible opportunity to recognize, support and promote talented female athletes,” said Darcy Horman, director of operations for the Copper Rock Championship, in a recent press release. “When women come together to empower, encourage and celebrate each other, beautiful things tend to happen. It’s truly an energizing feeling to be surrounded by strong, capable women who rally for their fellow females.”
The Copper Rock Championship brings over 100 players from around the world to Southern Utah as they chase their dream of earning an LPGA Tour card, and each tournament win puts them one step closer. Collegiate golfers representing Utah Tech University, Southern Utah University and Brigham Young University will also join the field by way of sponsor exemptions. Competing alongside pros is a rare opportunity for college athletes, and an extraordinary developmental experience for young golfers who have dedicated much of their lives to the sport.
The winner of the 2024 Copper Rock Championship will receive $34,500 of the $230,000 total prize purse. Copper Rock Golf Course has committed to continue hosting the event through 2028, with annual purse increases of $10,000. Additional prize money will be raised through the Clyde Challenge, an equity initiative organized by one of the tournament’s executive partners in an effort to minimize the gender pay gap in professional golf.
Showcasing the next generation of talented female golfers across 20 events totaling $5 million in prize money, the Epson Tour is the official qualifying tour of the LPGA. The 10 players leading in prize earnings at the end of each season receive LPGA Tour membership for the following year. Now in its 43rd competitive season, former Epson Tour players have won 466 LPGA titles and counting.
For Southern Utah golf fans, the double-header presents a unique opportunity to watch both rising stars of the women’s game and players who have already made their mark on the pro tour. Among those familiar names will be Angela Stanford, winner of the 2023 LPGA Senior Championship.
“I can’t wait to play Copper Rock for the LPGA Senior Championship in May next year,” Stanford said in the press release. “I truly enjoyed playing against the women in 2023 and can’t wait to compete again at this wonderful venue in Utah.”
Competitors in the 2024 LPGA Senior Championship will be playing for their share of a $400,000 purse, with $60,000 going to the winner. The field of approximately 75 players includes professionals as well as amateurs like Nuny Kham-One, who earned a spot in qualifying by winning this year’s Utah State Women’s Senior Amateur Championship.
The LPGA Senior Championship is one of two major tournaments organized annually by Legends of the LPGA, the official senior tour of the LPGA. Legends of the LPGA was established in 2000 to provide competitive opportunities for LPGA Tour professionals and eligible amateurs age 45 and over. The tour’s membership, which includes 15 LPGA Hall of Fame and World Golf Hall of Fame members, have collectively earned over 750 LPGA Tour victories, including 84 majors.
Hosting a double-header means twice the level of commitment from everyone involved, from the leadership team to the passionate volunteers who bring it all together. Copper Rock Golf Course will utilize approximately 800 volunteers between the two events, and volunteers can sign up to work either or both weeks.
Many volunteer positions, including caddies, course marshals, scorekeepers, shuttle drivers, hospitality hosts and more, are still available. Volunteer benefits include a free round of golf at Copper Rock Golf Course, complimentary meals and snacks, a shirt and hat featuring the championship logo, an invitation to the volunteer appreciation event and, of course, a front-row seat to the best women’s golf in Utah.
“What makes it exciting is watching not only the legends that we know but also the players trying to get to the next stepping stone of their careers,” said Penny James-Garcia, volunteer and event coordinator for the Copper Rock Championship. “You never know when you’re watching these young ladies who’s going to make it to the LPGA, or who’s the next No. 1 player in the world. Maybe you’ll meet her.”
Visit the Copper Rock Championship website to learn more about volunteer opportunities and register.
Written by ALEXA MORGAN for St. George News.
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