March 21, 2023
13 players who made the cut at the Epson Tour event in Arizona are also at the LPGA Drive On course next week just 21 miles away.

13 players who made the cut at the Epson Tour event in Arizona are also at the LPGA Drive On course next week just 21 miles away.

TABLE, Ariz. — It’s a busy two weeks in Arizona for the LPGA and its developmental tour.

The Epson Tour’s Carlisle Arizona Women’s Golf Classic, which runs through Sunday, will be held for the third time at Longbow Golf Club in Mesa.

Next week, the LPGA returns to the Grand Canyon State for the first time since 2019 when the Bank of Hope Founders Cup was played in Phoenix. Superstition Mountain Golf & Country Club is hosting the LPGA Drive On Championship from March 23-26. The club also hosted the LPGA from 2004 to 2008 for Safeway International.

It’s a pretty good situation for up-and-coming golfers to take advantage of back-to-back playing opportunities.

Despite an up-and-down week at Carlisle, LPGA member Bailey Tardy is trying to make the most of back-to-back weeks at golf courses just 21 miles away. She said her first round 79 on Thursday was due in part to a key piece of equipment she forgot to pack.

“I didn’t have golf shoes the first day, so I think that was my problem,” he said before showing off his new shoes. “Fifty bucks. PGA Superstore. Not the same, but I like them better.”

Tardy followed up his 79 with a 64 to make the cut on Friday.

Like Tardy, Canadian Maude-Aimee LeBlanc will make her first 2023 LPGA start at the Drive On. And like Tardy, LeBlanc lives in the East, so the Epson event is a great opportunity to prepare.

“We haven’t played in Arizona in a while and I practice in Florida, so it’s very different, the grass, the air. The ball goes a lot further here,” he said, noting that he’s also introducing a new caddy this week in Mesa.

There were 16 players who entered the Epson event also at the next LPGA field, with Tardy among the 13 who advanced to the weekend. Two of those who advanced, Grace Kim and Celine Borge, are LPGA members who graduated from the 2022 Epson Tour. Two others, Jaravee Boonchant and Karen Chung, are dual members and finished between 21st and 45th on the Q Series of the last year.

long bow golf club

long bow golf club

The leaderboard at Longbow Golf Club for the 2023 Carlisle Arizona Women’s Golf Classic. (Photo: Todd Kelly/Golfweek)

The other nine golfers who made the cut at Longbow are members of the LPGA: Lauren Stephenson, Lauren Coughlin, Pernilla Lindberg, Grace Kim, Amanda Doherty, Caroline Inglis, Valery Plata, Samantha Wagner along with Tardy and Leblanc.

For Epson Tour’s new director of business and operations, Jody Brothers, his focus is on the first of two events in Arizona, but he knows that having the LPGA here next week helps with preparation and logistics for many players.

“They’re pros at traveling, but anytime you can settle in and get comfortable, whether it’s adjusting time zone or green speeds or turf types, I think that serves them very, very well,” he said.

Tardy lost his LPGA card for the 2021 season for just $343. Now that he has status, he doesn’t take anything for granted.

“Staying on the LPGA is as hard as getting the card.”

He also learned that a 79 in the first round doesn’t have to ruin your week.

“Honestly, after the first round and then [bouncing back in] the second round is just never giving up,” he said. “Just don’t dwell on the bad stuff and focus on what you’ve done and trust that to get you ready for the next day.”

The story originally appeared on GolfWeek

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