Senior LPGA tourney at French Lick will conclude this year’s majors

The year’s major golf championships aren’t finished just yet. There’s still one to go.

Indiana’s French Lick Resort will host the third annual Senior LPGA Championship on its Pete Dye Course from Oct. 14-16. The 54-hole final event of The Legends Tour season has an unusual Monday through Wednesday schedule because that enabled the circuit for women 45 and over to gain live TV coverage on The Golf Channel.

England’s Trish Johnson became the first champion of a senior women’s major when she won the inaugural Senior LPGA Championship on the Pete Dye Course in 2017. The U.S. Golf Association staged its first major tournament for senior women last year – the U.S. Senior Women’s Open at Chicago Golf Club in Wheaton. England’s Laura Davies won that one by a whopping 10-stroke margin.

Davies also won last year’s second Senior LPGA at French Lick last October and Sweden’s Helen Alfredsson took the second U.S. Senior Women’s Open at Pine Needles, in North Carolina, in May. Those players, along with American Juli Inkster, loom as the favorites for the year’s final major at French Lick. A $650,000 prize fund will be on the line with the champion getting $100,000.

Beth Daniel, (left) was one of the LPGA’s top stars in her heyday and a former Solheim Cup captain. She won’t be competing at French Lick, but she recently received the coveted Woman of Distinction Award from Cece Durbin of the Women’s Western Golf Association. (Rory Spears Photo)

Since last year The Legends have undergone a change in leadership. Jane Blalock, who founded the circuit in 2000, stepped aside and Jane Geddes assumed the role of chief executive officer three months ago. Geddes, who still competes on the circuit, won the last of her 11 LPGA titles at the 1991 Chicago Challenge, which was played at White Eagle, in Naperville.

Illinois Open changes

White Eagle, which has just undergone a major renovation by architect Todd Quitno, will be the primary site of next year’s Illinois Open. According to published reports White Eagle will replace The Glen Club as the primary site of the tournament finals with nearby Stonebridge the secondary site.

Dates have not been announced but officials from both White Eagle and Stonebridge confirmed the site change, according to the reports.

Here and there

The Illinois PGA will have a representative in next year’s Senior PGA Championship at Michigan’s Harbor Shores course. Roy Biancalana, of Fresh Meadows in West Chicago, tied for 22nd at the Senior PGA Professionals Championship last week at Barton Creek, in Texas, to earn his spot at Harbor Shores.

The Women’s Western Golf Association presented its Woman of Distinction Award to Beth Daniel and Hollis Stacy will be this year’s lone inductee into The Legends Hall of Fame at French Lick when the ceremonies are held prior to the Senior LPGA Championship.

Vince India and Brad Hopfinger, winners of both the Illinois State Amateur and Illinois Open and competitors on the Korn Ferry Tour last season, switched to the PGA Latinoamerica circuit last week in Ecuador. India tied for 10th and Hopfinger tied for 46th. Patrick Flavin, also a winner of both of Illinois’ top tournaments, tied for 32nd and is fifth on the Latinoamerica season money list.

Chris French and Jim Sobb scored big wins as the Illinois PGA’s tournament season wound down. French, playing out of Aldeen in Rockford, won the IPGA Players Championship at Crystal Tree, in Orland Park, and Sobb took the Super Senior Open at Makray Memorial, in Barrington.

The all-star team from Cog Hill, in Lemont, is in the national finals of the PGA Junior League for the fourth straight year. The finals run through Monday (OCT 14) at Grayhawk, in Arizona.