by Jeff Skinner
Patience all you LPGA fans, the season continues in two weeks, but a bunch of the American ladies spent the past week playing down under in The ANZ Ladies Masters on the Gold Coast in Australia. Ten American LPGA players played and played well, with all but two making the cut.
They had the chance to witness a great tournament as Karrie Webb shot a blazing 61 to win by six strokes. Webb said she briefly thought about the magic number 59 but she had to settle for a course record. Webb will try and keep it going in a few weeks as she takes on all comers when the LPGA Tour starts up again.
As for the Americans, they fared well as rookie Amanda Blumenherst and sophomore Stacy Lewis tied for eighth place and long hitting Brittany Lincicome and second year player Vicky Hurst shared fourteenth place with three other players. The American players need to take advantage of each and every playing opportunity. Most of the players will be staying in Australia to play in the Australia Women’s Open. They’ll be joined by American amateur sensation Alexis Thompson.
While these tournaments are sponsored by the Ladies European Tour and the prize money the LPGA players win will not be counted with their LPGA winnings it still pays the bills. With the LPGA tour season going dark for weeks at a time it is a prudent move to get as many starts in as possible. This could very well be the face of the New International LPGA Tour. We could be seeing more international partnerships between the LPGA and other international tours. It’s a natural fit; they both could use each other. The LPGA needs more tournaments and the LET can always use more high profile players in their fields. The LPGA already has five tournaments in Asia and three in Mexico. The opportunities for expansion into Asia and tournaments co-sponsored with other tours can give the LPGA a needed injection of cash and the players more playing venues.
It seems to be working for this group of adventurous, globetrotting Americans as they play well overseas and keep racking up the frequent flier miles.