Golf News

LPGA players love conditions, Ford vehicle perk at Seville in Arizona

2024 Ford Championship

GILBERT, Ariz. — The LPGA is no stranger to the state of Arizona. Over the last 75 or so years, the tour has visited the state close to 70 times.

This year, the tour is in the Phoenix suburb of Gilbert for the inaugural Ford Championship presented by KCC. Nine of the top 10 players in the Rolex Rankings are here as are all five tournament champs so far in 2024.

The Thunderbirds, the civic organization that runs the PGA Tour’s WM Phoenix Open, joined as a founding partner about a month ago and kicked in some extra funds, raising the total purse to $2.25 million, with the winner getting an oversized check for $337,500.

Just a few weeks before that, Ford came on as title sponsor, and that provided an unusual perk for the LPGA players.

“Shoutout to Ford for supplying every single player with a Ford vehicle this week,” said 2024 tournament director Emily Podzielinski. “We had pretty much every player take us up on that offer, which is great.

“That doesn’t happen, ever on the tour, for the players that every single person gets the opportunity to receive that.”

After two rounds, players said they were enjoying the set up of the golf course, too.

2024 Ford Championship

Ayaka Furue of Japan putts on the sixth green during the first round of the 2024 Ford Championship at Seville Golf and Country Club in Gilbert, Arizona. (Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Azahara Munoz, who played her college golf at nearby Arizona State, opened her week 64-68. Is there anything in particular she likes about Seville Golf and Country Club, a Gary Panks-design that opened in 2002?

“Everything, I guess,” she said. “It’s good. It sets up good. Gives you really good lines off the tee. The greens are firm, which is nice but it’s kind of forgiving, too, so you can be aggressive and make lots of birdies.”

Wide fairways, firm and fast greens and plenty of sunshine have generated low scores. The 36-hole cut came in at 5 under, tying the LPGA mark, which was last achieved in 2019.

There’s already been a 61 (Hannah Green), three 63s (Pajaree Anannarukarn, Sarah Schmelzel and Yuka Saso) and a slew of 64s by Munoz, Carlota Ciganda, Isi Gabsa, My Hyang Lee, Gabi Ruffels, Lydia Ko, Lilia Vu and Frida Kinhult.

Celine Boutier of France won the LPGA’s Drive On Championship at Superstition Mountain in nearby Gold Canyon a year ago in what turned out to be a one-year stint.

“I love coming to Arizona. I think the golf courses here are so nice, and especially this time of the year…


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