What do Lorena Ochoa and Inbee Park have in common?
A whole lot.
Each earned Rolex Player of the Year honors on the LPGA Tour. Each captured major championships. Each were World Number Ones for a time.
But more than that. Each earned their professional spurs on the Symetra Tour, the number one developmental tour for the LPGA.
Ochoa was a three-time winner on the 2002 Symetra Tour, while Park posted 11 top-10 finishes on the 2006 Symetra Tour. Each used that experience to vault them into LPGA Tour stardom.
Delaware Valley golf fans will get a great view of tomorrow's LPGA stars when the inaugural Valley Forge Invitational is played at Raven Claw Golf Club May 24-26 at the Pottstown club. The event will benefit local charities.
"This is a great event for the area and an opportunity for golf fans to see tomorrow's LPGA stars," explained Edward Harris, the Chief Marketing Officer for Valley Forge Tourism. "It is estimated the event will generate about a million dollars of economic development for the Philadelphia area."
"This is a great addition to the Symetra Tour calendar, and I'm very happy it will be held in my backyard," said Emily Gimpel, a Symetra Tour player who grew up playing Whitemarsh Valley among other area layouts. "I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of friends here at Raven's Claw."
"The Symetra Tour prepares players for the LPGA Tour, and its graduates make up a who's who list," added Mike Nichols, the Chief Business Officer of the Symetra Tour.
The public layout has gained numerous accolades over the years. The Ed Shearan design promises to bedazzle competitors.
"We designed the course on a great piece of property, and we believe it will hold up well and challenge the Symetra Tour," said Shearon, who also designed New Jersey's Riverwinds and Vineyards courses and has done remodeling work on many top Philadelphia area courses. "The key will be placing the ball in the proper position on each hole, and the contours of the land may dictate which side of fairway should be favored. It's a true player's course."
The event will be preceded by practice rounds and a pro-am.
Details on sponsorships and the pro-am area available at www.montcogolf.com
Winning a club championship is a great accomplishment.
Never easy, it's the result of hard work and a little luck.
Some clubs have a stroke play competition, others match play. There are divisions, such as women's, men's and seniors. There are flights, based upon handicap. And there is intense competition.
Here's an overview of winners around the county:
Bensalem: Ryan Pfeifer (Men), Naz Gagliardi (Senior), Nancy Tomlinson (Women).
Bucks Club: Will Verrill (Men), Mike Finley (Senior), Nancy TUcker (Women).
Doylestown: Rick James (Men's), Dave Smith (Senor), Chrissy Palmeri (Women).
Five Ponds: Brian Rothaus (Men), Brian Rothaus (Senior).
Jericho National: Griffin Smith (Men), Mike Cavanaugh (Senior).
Lookaway: Mark Hutchinson (Men), Mark Hutchinson (Senior), Martha Robinson (Women).
Makefield Highlands: Daniel Charen (Men), Brian McDonnell (Senior).
Middletown: Greg Bumgardner (Men), Bill Walker, Sr. (Senior).
Northampton Valley: John Giordano (Men), Jerry Powell (Senior)
Spring Mill: Bryan Keeling (Men), Mark Smith (Women), Kathleen O'Dell (Women)
Yardley: Greg Buliga (Men), Greg Buliga (Senior), Jackie Rogowicz (Women).
Congratulations to the participants at all the clubs.
The Delaware Valley has not seen a regular PGA Tour event for years, but that doesn't mean golf's ruling bodies do not believe championships can be played in the area.
Aronimink Golf Club has been named as host of the 2020 KPMG Women's PGA Championship as well as the 2027 PGA Championship.
Already on the schedule is one of the year's PGA Tour playoff events, the BMW Championship slated for September at the Newtown Square club. In recent years the club hosted the AT&T National (2010, 2011).