UC Irvine’s women’s golf program has teamed up with Kia to give an exclusive sponsor exemption into the LPGA’s Kia Classic. The exemption will be awarded to the winner of the UC Irvine Invitational, to be played Feb. 25-26 at Santa Ana (Calif.) Country Club. This is the only collegiate tournament in the country that will allow the winner to participate in an LPGA event.
The UC Irvine Invitational will feature BYU, Gonzaga, Idaho, Long Beach State, Montana, North Dakota State, Northern Colorado, Portland State, Sacramento State, San Diego State, Santa Clara, host UC Irvine and UC Riverside.
“At Kia Motors we are passionate about the game of golf and proud to support events throughout the Orange County community we call home, including the UC Irvine Invitational, which offers up-and-coming collegiate golfers the unique opportunity to qualify for our namesake LPGA tournament,” said Michael Sprague, executive vice president of marketing and communications for Kia Motors America.
The Kia Classic will be held March 21-24 at Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad, Calif. The 144-player field includes Natalie Gulbis, Paula Creamer, Se Ri Pak and defending champion Yani Tseng.
“I want to thank Kia for giving the UC Irvine Invitational their exemption into the 2013 Kia Classic,” said Julie Brooks, UC Irvine’s head women’s coach. “As a coach, I am always looking to take our program to the next level, and this exemption is an opportunity to do that in a big way. A partnership with a company that shares similar values of excellence and education can help to grow the UC Irvine Invitational into one of the premier collegiate golf tournaments in the country.”
Information from UC Irvine athletics was used in this report.