PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The top female golfers in the world are making their way back to the Grand Rapids area for the second Meijer LPGA Classic.
Quite a few players were at Blythefield Country Club in unincorporated Belmont, north of Grand Rapids, to practice on Monday, honing their game on the range or familiarizing themselves with the course.
Player Natalie Gulbis arrived early, hoping to build off a 32nd place finish in Toledo last week after missing three straight cuts.
“What’s nice is we were playing in Toledo, so a lot of us drove over,” she said. “I didn’t play in the event last year, so if you didn’t play in the event or you are a rookie, you’re coming out here on Monday, getting to know the golf course.”
Also Monday were qualifying rounds as eight golfers competed to fill the last two open spots in the tournament. Former Michigan State University golfer Christine Meier made the cut, finishing second with a score of 73. She was beaten by Kelli Pry, who finished even par with a score of 71. They round out the field of 144 golfers.
Also Tuesday is the Celebrity Pro-Am at Egypt Valley Country Club in Ada Township. Sports Director Jack Doles will be participating. The LPGA players join in for the regular Pro-Am on Wednesday at Blythefield County Club.
The first round of tournament play begins Thursday at Blythefield Country Club, and the competition finishes up on Sunday.
Fans will notice a number of improvements to the Meijer LPGA Classic this year, both on the golf course and off.
“Year two planning has been a lot about everything but golf,” Meijer LPGA Classic Executive Director Andy Bush said. “All of our programs on the golf course, lots of public viewing decks, really invested heavily in the spectator experience for the non-corporate patron. … Our special events grew in stature, with Chef Mario Batali on our chef night, our 5K has grown, and with OneRepublic being our concert down at Van Andel Arena. All of our focus off the course has grown in awareness. And we can’t wait for the golf. ”
The tournament will again benefit Meijer’s Simply Give program, which funds local food banks. The 2014 Classic raised $600,000 for Simply Give.