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Stats and Stuff – Safeway Classic

Posted by on Aug 16th, 2011 and filed under Golf. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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In this week’s Stats & Stuff, Ward Clayton breaks down the Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola.

 

Pumpkin Ridge’s long tournament history
The Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club has quite a history with the LPGA. The Witch Hollow course was the site of the 1997 and 2003 U.S. Women’s Opens, with Alison Nicholas (the current Solheim Cup captain for the European Team) and Hillary Lunke winning titles.  Tiger Woods won his third of an unprecedented three straight U.S. Amateurs in 1996 at Witch Hollow.

The sister course, Ghost Creek, was the site of David Duval’s 1993 Nike Tour Championship. Ghost Creek is the regular host of the Safeway Classic after previous stints at Portland Golf Club, Columbia Edgewater Country Club and Riverside Golf and Country Club.

 

No more three 5s in a row
Pumpkin Ridge’s Ghost Creek course had an unusual distinction in the first two years of the tournament when there were three consecutive par 5s around the turn (Nos. 8-9-10). But this year, the ninth hole will change from a 474-yard par 5 into a 375-yard par 4, its normal designation for public play at the North Plains, Ore., course. A creek to the right of the fairway and a pond to the left of the green will continue to make the hole a challenging finish to the front nine.

In 2009, M.J. Hur made two birdies and an eagle in the stretch to key her victory. However, the three consecutive three-shot holes also created logjams during the course of play.

Additionally, the downhill eighth hole, which played at 507 yards the last two years, will be pushed back to 566 yards, making it a three-shot hole for most of the field. Overall, the course will play 6,512 yards and to a par of 71.

 

Safeway’s superior field
The 40th Safeway Classic features the top 20 players on the 2011 LPGA Official Money List, and 97 of the top 100.  Defending champion Ai Miyazato, Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings No. 1 and two-time 2011 major championship winner Yani Tseng highlight the field.  In addition, 2008 Safeway Classic champion Cristie Kerr, Paula Creamer, Jiyah Shin, Suzann Pettersen and Michelle Wie are also entered.  Additionally, LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame members Karrie Webb, Juli Inkster and Se Ri Pak are scheduled to play.

 

Safeway’s long history
The Safeway Classic’s 40-year stay in Portland makes it one of the longest continuous event on the LPGA Tour. The tournament has been played every year since its debut, except for 2001 when it was canceled the week of the 9/11 tragedies.

At the first event, the 1972 Portland Ladies Classic, Kathy Whitworth finished at 7-under-par 212 to beat Sandra Haynie by four strokes at Portland Golf Club. The purse for the first event was $25,000, with Whitworth taking home $3,750. This year’s 40th tournament at Pumpkin Ridge will have a $1.5 million purse, with $225,000 going to the winner.

 

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