Altvater: Competitors face tough test at Highland MeadowsWritten by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
The first Jamie Farr LPGA golf tournament was held at Glengarry Golf Club, now Stone Oak Country Club in Holland. The Jamie Farr moved to Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania in 1988 and has remained there ever since.
The tournament, to be held Aug. 6-12, will draw a top-quality field of LPGA stars to the Toledo area. The total purse will be $1.3 million with $195,000 going to the winner. Highland Meadows will play to 6,428 yards and to a par of 71 for the ladies.
Highland Meadows first opened in 1925 and its narrow tree-lined fairways, rolling terrain and lightning-quick greens create a sufficient challenge to identify a worthy champion come Sunday afternoon.
A creek meanders throughout the course and affects shots on seven of the 18 holes. The large, undulating greens are well-bunkered and require a deft touch to be successful.
Paula Creamer, known as the “Pink Panther” on tour, holds the record for the low round at the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic. She fired a sizzling 11-under-par 60 during the first round in 2008 and went on to win the tournament that year.
Creamer’s win in Toledo was just one of four in 2008. She also won the Fields Open in Hawaii, the SemGroup Championship and the Samsung World Championship. She would also add the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open to her resume with a win at Oakmont Country Club near Pittsburgh.
Runner-up to Paula in the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open was Na Yeon Choi. But Ms. Choi would bounce back nicely from her defeat, winning the 2010 Jamie Farr Toledo Classic.
Na Yeon Choi will be the defending champion this year at the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic since the tournament was not held in 2011 due to the U.S. Senior Open held at Inverness Country Club.
Na Yeon Choi also comes to Toledo as the reigning 2012 U.S. Women’s Open Champion. She just picked up her first major title at Black Wolf Run in Kohler, Wis., in June.
The classic style of Highland Meadows demands that the winner have all facets of her game in top working order. Players find that Highland Meadows is a very good indicator of future success on the LPGA Tour.
Past winners of the Jamie Farr read like a who’s who of the LPGA. Patty Sheehan, Meg Mallon, Annika Sorenstam and Paula Creamer have all won major titles and also won the Jamie Farr Classic.
Five-time major winner Se Ri Pak also won the Jamie Farr Classic a record five times from 1998-2007 and will be in the field again this year.
Se Ri Pak is a living legend in her home country of South Korea and has spawned the current infusion of talented young women golfers from that country. More than 40 players on the LPGA Tour are South Korean.
Four of the last five winners of the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic were born in South Korea: Na Yeon Choi, Eunjung Yi, Mi Hyun Kim and Se Ri Pak.
Since its beginning the event has generated millions of dollars for Toledo area children’s charities. Feed Lucas County Children, the Victory Center, YMCA/JCC of Greater Toledo, Aurora House, Kids Unlimited, Boys and Girls Clubs of Toledo and Mom’s House are just a few of the area charities that have benefitted from the Jamie Farr Classic.
More than 1,200 volunteers are required to put on a show as big as the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic. Many of the volunteers enjoy the experience and return year after year to help the event run smoothly.
Tournament director Judd Silverman and his crew have done a tremendous job of growing the tournament, presented by Kroger, Owens Corning, and O-I, over the years.
It provides an excellent opportunity to showcase Toledo for at least one week every year and continues to benefit area charities.
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