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LPGA adds latest new tournament in Florida

The Ladies Professional Golf Association is set to return to the Tampa Bay area for the first time in more than three decades after announcing a new tournament will be added to the LPGA Tour for the 2020 season.

The Pelican Women’s Championship Presented by DEX Imaging will be held from May 11-17 at Pelican Golf Club located in the waterfront town of Belleair, 45 minutes outside downtown Tampa. The tournament will feature a full field of 144 players, competing for a $1.75m (€1.56m) purse.

Document imaging company DEX Imaging will serve as the tournament’s presenting sponsor. DEX president and chief executive Dan Doyle Jr. is also co-owner of Pelican Golf Club. The Club, formerly known as Belleview Biltmore Golf Club, underwent major renovations to upgrade its facilities after its purchase by Dan Doyle Sr. and Dan Doyle Jr. was completed in 2017.

“When we embarked on the complete renovation of Pelican Golf Club, we did so with the goal of bringing the best of professional golf to the Tampa area,” Dan Doyle Jr. said. “Hosting the LPGA at Pelican is a perfect opportunity to support the LPGA and women’s professional golf and shine a spotlight on our community and all it has to offer.”

The Pelican Women’s Golf Championship will be operated by Eiger Marketing Group, a global marketing and event management agency. Eiger owns and operates LPGA tournaments including the LA Open in Los Angeles and the LPGA Classic in Atlantic City.

Terms of the deal with the LPGA were not disclosed, but the Tampa Bay Times newspaper said it will run for three years, with an option to extend. The LPGA last staged a tournament in the Tampa Bay area in the form of the USX Golf Classic in 1989 at Pasadena Country Club.

The 2019 LPGA Tour season opens and closes in Florida, at Orlando and Naples, respectively. The addition of the Pelican Women’s Championship and another new event in Boca Raton will double this total for the 2020 season, which currently has 33 tournaments on the calendar.