LPGA Legend Brings Walgreens Charity Championship Back

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By David DiPino  The Pineapple Staff Writer Pro golfer Jane Blalock lived in Delray Beach during her most prolific and successful years, so when she had a chance to bring LPGA Legends Tour golf back to the city she lived in and loved, she hit it right down the middle of the fairway with the Walgreens Charity Championship presented by The Seagate Country Club, Nov. 5-7 at Seagate Country Club, 3600 Hamlet Dr., in Delray Beach. Last year, the world-class golf and country club, formerly known as Hamlet Country Club, also hosted the tournament. The Seagate Country Club completed a $4 million golf course renovation among other upgrades when it took over Hamlet Country Club and soon landed this prestigious event, featuring 50 Legends Tour players competing for a purse of $250,000. According to The Legends Tour, World Golf Hall of Fame members Pat Bradley, Donna Caponi, JoAnne Carner, Beth Daniel, Laura Davies, Sandra Haynie, Juli Inkster, Patty Sheehan, Hollis Stacy, along with Legends Tour Hall of Famers Jane Blalock, Rosie Jones and Jan Stephenson will compete in the championship. Blalock, the Legends Tour CEO, said three local charities will benefit from the event. All ticket proceeds will benefit the Bethesda Foundation, Achievement Centers for Children & Families and The Dan Marino Foundation. The Walgreens Charity Championship presented by The Seagate Country Club features defending champion Meg Mallon, fittingly a Seagate Country Club resident, and the best in LPGA Legends Tour golf. On Saturday, Nov. 7, after the final round, anyone with paid admission will be admitted into a performance at 5 p.m. by popular 1970s group, the Little River Band. Concessions will be available during the concert. Florida Walgreens stores are selling tickets for $10 for each round ($5 savings off the price at the gate). Tee times will start at 8 a.m. each day, with gates opening at 7:30 a.m. In addition, kids 13 and under, as well as active military with I.D., get into the tournament free. Single tickets are good for either the Friday or Saturday rounds. According to The Legends Tour, two senior women amateurs have been invited to compete alongside the professionals in this year’s championship. Sue Cohn of Palm Beach Gardens reached the semifinals of last week’s 2015 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur Championship. Joan Higgins of Glendora, Calif., was the 2014 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur champion. “We have a great field including Juli Inkster, the winning captain of the Solheim Cup, Laurie Davies, who was recently ‘Damed’ in the Queen Elizabeth’s Birthday Honours List and over 200 executives coming in from all over the world,” said Blalock. Blalock founded the tour with her company JBC Golf Inc. in 2000. She lived at Hamlet Country Club during the most prolific streak of her LPGA career during the ‘70s. During last year’s tournament, Blalock was impressed by attendance during the Friday round of the championship, when 3,000 spectators showed up. “We are committed to this event for next year but we need the support of the community because other communities are courting us beyond 2016. We’d like to make this tournament a destination event like the tennis tournament is every year,” said Blalock, referring to the Delray Beach Open. “We want to make this where everyone plans their whole week around the Walgreens LPGA Legends event, and then I think we can get Walgreens and Seagate to extend this event (past 2016). We want this to be a community happening on the calendar; not just a golf tournament.” “What I like about Seagate is that they’re not just hosting the event they’re investing in it. They work with the greens keeper and they want everything to be perfect for this event. They ask me questions like ‘How is this or that green?’ limiting play just before the event, so the course is in good shape. The course is in impeccable shape,” said Blalock. “It’s like the Champions Tour (Men’s PGA Senior Golf Tour). We’re at our peak with great names but we also have players with personalities. Comparing it to the young LPGA, the camaraderie is evident, the friendships, the bantering, the interaction among players – if you stood on the practice tee, you’d roll over in stiches (laughing). The gallery picks that up. The players talk to the spectators and thank the volunteers for coming. Our group of players are very appreciative; friendly but as competitive as it gets.” For more information, visit www.thelegendstour.com.