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Friday September 24th, 2021 2:40AM

LPGA opens major season in the desert, amateurs to Augusta

By The Associated Press

LPGA TOUR

ANA INSPIRATION

Site: Rancho Mirage, California.

Course: Mission Hills CC. Yardage: 6,763. Par: 72.

Prize money: $3.1 million. Winner's share: $465,000.

Television: Thursday-Friday, noon-4 p.m., 7-9 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday-Sunday, 5-9 p.m. (Golf Channel).

Defending champion: Mirim Lee.

Race to CME Globe leader: Nelly Korda.

Last week: Inbee Park won the Kia Classic.

Notes: The first LPGA major of the year will be held for the second time in roughly six months. Mirim Lee won in a playoff in September when the ANA Inspiration was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. ... This is the 50th edition of the tournament, although it was not designated as an LPGA major until 1983. ... For the second straight time at Mission Hills, the major will be played without spectators. But there will not be a blue advertising wall behind the 18th green, allowing it to play like an island. ... Inbee Park picked up her 21st career LPGA Tour victory last week. ... South Koreans have won three of the last four times at the ANA Inspiration. ... Park went over the $17 million mark in career earnings on the LPGA Tour. ... Brittany Lincicome and Annika Sorenstam are the only two-time winners of the ANA Inspiration in the last 20 years. ... Lexi Thompson has finished among the top 5 in four of the last five years. ... Park's victory ended the American streak of winning three straight tournaments to start the new season. ... Dottie Pepper set the tournament record in 1999 at 19-under 269 when she won by six shots.

Next tournament: Lotte Championship on April 14-17.

Online: https://www.lpga.com/

___

PGA TOUR

VALERO TEXAS OPEN

Site: San Antonio.

Course: TPC San Antonio (AT&T Oaks). Yardage: 7,494. Par: 72.

Prize money: $7.7 million. Winner's share: $1.386 million.

Television: Thursday-Friday, 4-7 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday, 1-3:30 p.m. (Golf Channel), 3:30-6 p.m. (CBS); Sunday, 1-2:30 p.m. Golf Channel), 2:30-6 p.m. (CBS).

Defending champion (2019): Corey Conners.

FedEx Cup leader: Bryson DeChambeau.

Last week: Billy Horschel won the Dell Technologies Match Play and Joel Dahmen won the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship.

Notes: Dustin Johnson was a late entry and then an early withdrawal. That leaves Tony Finau at No. 13 as the top-ranked player in the field. Two others from the top 25 in the world are Scottie Scheffler and Hideki Matsuyama. ... The winner of the Texas Open gets into the Masters if he is not already eligible. Among those still not eligible for Augusta National are Rickie Fowler, Brandt Snedeker and Nick Taylor. ... Corey Conners won two years ago. The Texas Open was the fourth event canceled last year when the tour shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic. ... Jordan Spieth and Phil Mickelson are among 21 players in the field who are playing next week at Augusta National. ... Gary Woodland returns after having to miss the Dell Match Play because of a positive test for the coronavirus. ... Austin Eckroat from Oklahoma State is playing on a sponsor exemption. He tied for 12th in the Mayakoba Classic last fall. ... Conners in 2019 went from being a Monday qualifier to winning the tournament and getting into the Masters. ... Joel Dahmen won in the Dominican Republic but is not in the Masters because it was opposite a World Golf Championship. Dahmen is in the field at the Texas Open.

Next week: Masters.

Online: https://www.pgatour.com/

___

AUGUSTA NATIONAL GOLF CLUB

AUGUSTA NATIONAL WOMEN'S AMATEUR

Site: Augusta, Georgia.

Course: Champions Retreat (Yardage: 6,445. Par: 72) and Augusta National GC (Yardage: 6,365. Par: 72).

Television: Saturday, noon to 3 p.m. (NBC).

2019 winner: Jennifer Kupcho.

Notes: The tournament made an auspicious start in 2019 when Jennifer Kupcho went 5 under over the final six holes for a 67 to defeat close friend Maria Fassi. ... The international field of amateurs plays the opening two rounds at Champions Retreat on Wednesday and Thursday, a practice round at Augusta National on Friday and the final round at Augusta National on Saturday. ... The 36-hole cut is for 30 players, with a playoff if necessary to decide the final spots. ... The winner is exempt into the U.S. Women's Open and Women's British Open if she stays an amateur. ... The field features U.S. Amateur champion Rose Zhang and most of the best from around the world. Because the ANA Inspiration on the LPGA Tour does not have amateurs this year due to COVID-19 protocols, there is no conflict for top amateurs on which event to play.

Online: https://www.anwagolf.com/index.html

___

KORN FERRY TOUR

EMERALD COAST CLASSIC AT SANDESTIN

Site: Destin, Florida.

Course: Sandestine Golf and Beach Resort (Raven GC). Yardage: 6.891. Par: 70.

Prize money: $600,000. Winner's share: $108,000.

Television: None.

Defending champion: New tournament.

Points leader: Will Zalatoris.

Last week: Adam Svensson won the Club Car Championship.

Next tournament: MGM Resorts Championship at Paiute on April 15-18.

Online: https://www.pgatour.com/korn-ferry-tour.html

___

EUROPEAN TOUR

Last week: and Daniel Van Tonder won the Kenya Savannah Classic and Billy Horschel won the Dell Technologies Match Play.

Next week: Masters.

Race to Dubai leader: Tyrrell Hatton.

Online: https://www.europeantour.com/european-tour/

___

PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS

Last tournament: Kevin Sutherland won the Cologuard Classic.

Next tournament: Chubb Classic on April 16-18.

Charles Schwab Cup leader: Kevin Sutherland.

Online: https://www.pgatour.com/champions.html

___

More AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Golf, AP Online - Georgia News, AP Sports - PGA, AP Sports - Women's Golf
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