Golf Bucks County

By Bob Oliver

Middletown Country Club

Middletown is a compact 80 acres of challenging golf, with rolling hills and large specimen trees that have watched many golfers travel its fairways over time. It has retained its old time feel with tees and greens in close proximity, allowing golfers to walk the course if they choose.

The Traveling Golfer

With host Tony Leodora will travel both near and far to bring viewers a look at some of the most spectacular golf destinations in the world!

LPGA Tour

ShopRite Classic delayed until fall

Written by Bob Oliver on .

Just when you thought it was safe to pencil new dates for the ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer into your calendar, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced a second change. 

The LPGA Tour has announced the event, played annually at the Stockton Seaview Golf Resort, will be moving to the fall.   First the event was postponed from June to July dates, and now it will be held October 2-4.

"We appreciate the flexibility of the management of the event," said LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan. "The LPGA is looking forward to returning to the shore in October."

It has been a wild ride for professional golf.  All tours went on hiatus with the pandemic, and changes are still being made.  There is a possibility the October dates may allow the tournament to be played with fans in attendance.  Time will tell.

"Given the challenges of today's environment (with the disease) we are excited to move to the fall," explained Tim Ehrensen. "Autumn golf in South Jersey provides great conditions and we know Seaview's staff will continue to do an outstanding job on the course."

There's another great thing with the move in timing, in that instead of heading overseas after the original new dates, the October dates will be the week before the KPMG Women's PGA Championship. "That's being held at Aronimink (in Newtown Square) so we are excited to be a part of a couple of weeks of great golf in the Delaware Valley," added Ehrensen. 

Given the uncertainty of the COVID response, the rescheduling of the event to October is great news for the tournament, fans and players.  

CHIP SHOTS: THe event generates more than $1 million annually for charity, having generated more than $35 million since its inception...While it's too early to think about player commitments, it's expected the ShopRite will have its usual outstanding field 

LPGA revises Shoprite dates

Written by Bob Oliver on .

In a COVID world everything is upended, changed, revised.

The states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey have reopened ability to play the game - under social distancing guidelines - but the professional game in on hold. At least for now.

As "the curve" has turned better, there is hope. The LPGA has revised its schedule, eliminating many tournaments previously scheduled for this year and has issued a preliminary new schedule of events for the remainder of the year.

For area fans there is some great news.  The ShopRite LPGA Championship, presented by Acer, remains on the schedule with new dates.  The tournament iwill be played at Seaview Golf Resort's Bay Course as planned, but with the dates moved to July 27-August 2.  

Much is not finalized.   The tournament hopes to have fans allowed, but tournament officials indicate "fans are still an option that has not been finalized." Much will depend on where the South Jersey area is in the way of COVID-19 response next month. 

THe important thing is planning is there for a full reopening of the event at the latter date. 

That's good news to area charities, as the ShopRite annually contributes more than $1M to charitable causes. In its history the event has generated more than $35M to charity.

Players love coming to the area. Many have stayed with the same families for years. And the players will be incented by a purse boost to $2M for this year's event.

So far, so good.

 

 

Tix on sale for LPGA ShopRite

Written by Bob Oliver on .

 

The weather is cold and damp, and surely snow is in the forecast soon, but before too long golfers will be back on the course and playing the game we love. 

 

Our friends from the LPGA Tour will be back at Seaview for the LPGA ShopRite Classic. THe event will be contested May 25 through 31 on the Donald Ross designed Bay Course at Seaview, where Lexi Thompson is expected to defend her championship.

 

A great holiday gift are tickets to the event, where you can see and interact with the best in women's golf.  For details check out the event web site www.ShopRiteLPGAClassic.com Numerous options are available to fit every budget. 

Thompson claims LPGA ShopRite

Written by Bob Oliver on .

It wasn't as if Lexi Thompson had never faced the shot before. Had never felt the pressure of needing a birdie to tie the lead on the final hole of an LPGA event. Had never felt the eyes of thousands of fans looking on.

Playing the par-5, 500-yard 18th hole of the Bay Course at the Dolce Seaview Resort, Thompson belted a wind aided drive that traveled in the 300-yard range but skipped through the fairway and first cut of rough into the second higher cut. She faced a 190-yard shot out of that rough, but knew she had the club to get to the green if struck to perfection. 

"The ball had been running up (to the green) well all week, so I figured I could hit my pitching wedge, get a little flier and bounces, and with the wind get to the green," said the LPGA star, who made her pro debut at Seaview at age 15. "Everything had to work, but I had the confidence to hit the shot."

Thompson took a mighty swing, and the ball flew high into the air, as as planned, hit well short of the green but bounced several times before settling about 20 feet from the hole. 

Striding to the green she knew her 10-under-par would not win anything. She knew a two-putt birdie would be good, but an eagle would be much better as the US Women's Open winner, Jeongeun Lee6, was two holes back and at 10-under. 

After surveying the putt from several angles, she carefully struck the ball and watched as it meandered across the green before dropping into the cup for an eagle. That boosted her to 12-under-par and gave her the outright lead as Lee6 was putting out on the 16h hole. 

Thompson signed her scorecard and strode to the practice putting green, expecting a playoff. 

Lee6 parred 16 and 17 and needed an eagle of her own to tie Thompson, but it wasn't to be. She birdied the 18th and finished runner-up.

Thompson won, and has claimed an LPGA tournament win for the seventh straight season. Her closing 67 and 54-hole total of 201 was superb given the elements. 

"This is a relatively short course, but it's oh so difficult," explained Thompson. "Tantalizing greens, and with the wind (gusting to 25 miles-per-hour) there are more than enough difficulties. I knew the course would play difficult, and you saw me stumble a couple times."

Lee6 stumbled as well at times, finishing at 11-under-par 202.

CHIP SHOTS: It was Thompson's 11th LPGA Tour victory...Two-time champion Anna Nordquvist finshed at 7-under-par...Thompson had missed four cuts in six prior visits to Seaview. 

Benvenuto fighting the fight

Written by Bob Oliver on .

 

Brittany Benvenuto is fighting the fight on ladies professional golf, playing on the Symetra Tour after a short season on the LPGA Tour.

 

The Symetra Tour - the top developmental circuit for the LPGA - offers outstanding competition and a place to hone one's game. Last year, playing on a medical exemption, made a couple cuts while getting into a few LPGA events. This season she's working hard on her game on the Symetra Tour, which visits Montgomery County May 31-June 2 at the Raven's Claw Golf Club in Pottstown.

 

Benvenuto, a native of Langhorne where she attended Neshaminy High School, has been consistent this year in three Symetra Tour events, making the cut in each. 

 

She was 31st in the Skyigolf Championship (77-69-67--286), 37th at the IOA Championship (71-76-77--224) and 48th at the Florida Natural Charity Classic (71-72-73--216).  She stands 40th on the money list.

 

A year ago at Seaview playing in the Shop-Rite LPGA Championship, Benvenuto spoke about the highs and lows of her career. "I've built my game so that I'm giving myself a shot, but there is a whole lot of work to be done," said Benvenuto, who was 38th in the season ending Symetra Tour Championship. "The injuries have set me back, but I'm optimistic."

 

She played in nine LPGA events and loved the taste of play at the highest level of women's golf. And she's hoping her game continues to improve in 2019 to get back to the LPGA next season.