OLD HICKORY, Tenn. – The ISPS Handa Cup is one of the premier events on the LPGA’s Legends Tour and its eighth staging at Hermitage Golf Club on the outskirts of Nashville figures to be something special.
Both captains – JoAnne Carner for the U.S. and Sweden’s Pia Nilsson for the World – return from last year but with different approaches for organizing their teams.
Carner paired the same players for both the morning best ball matches on Hermitage’s front nine and the afternoon alternate shot matches on the back side. Nilsson will change up her teams after the morning session.
Most interesting of the matches, though, could involve best friends Cindy Rarick of the U.S. and Jan Stephenson of the World team. They’ll meet in both best ball and alternate shot, though Australian Stephenson will have different partners. She’s paired with Sweden’s Helen Alfredsson in the best ball and with Peru’s Jenny Lidback in alternate shot. Rarick will play both with Nancy Scranton.
The competition concludes with 12 singles matches on Sunday, so Rarick and Stephenson could be matched up a third time.
For all the Legends’ competitors the return to the General’s Retreat course at Hermitage, a 36-hole facility, is a sentimental homecoming. It was one of the most popular stops for the LPGA players during Sara Lee’s run as sponsor, and Thursday’s kickoff party and Friday’s pro-am reflected their affection for the layout designed by Gary Rogers Baird.
ISPS was created by Dr. Haruhisa Handa, an international businessman and philanthropist. His humanitarian efforts include founding the Japanese Blind Golf Assn., and the Handa Cup is named in his honor.
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MORNING BEST BALL MATCHES
9 a.m.: Pat Bradley-Betsy King, U.S., vs. Laura Davies-Trish Johnson, England.
9:12 a.m.: Nancy Lopez-Barb Mucha, U.S., vs. Lorie Kane, Canada, and Alicia Dibos, Peru.
9:24 a.m.: Sherri Turner-Laurie Rinker, U.S., vs. Liselotte Neumann, Sweden, and Jane Crafter, Australia.
9:36 a.m.: Cindy Figg-Currier-Chris Johnson, U.S., vs. Gail Graham, Canada, and Jenny Lidback, Peru.
9:48 a.m.: Nancy Scranton-Cindy Rarick, U.S., vs. Helen Alfredsson, Sweden, and Jan Stephenson, Australia.
10 a.m.: Beth Daniel-Rosie Jones, U.S., vs. Mieko Nomura, Japan, and Alison Nicholas, England.
AFTERNOON ALTERNATE SHOT MATCHES
1 p.m.: Turner-Rinker, U.S., vs. Davies-Trish Johnson.
1:12 p.m.: Bradley-King, U.S., vs. Neumann-Dibos
1:24 p.m.: Figg-Currier-Johnson, U.S., vs. Kane-Graham.
1:36 p.m.: Lopez-Mucha, U.S., vs. Nicholas-Alfredsson.
1:48 p.m.: Daniel-Jones, U.S., vs. Crafter-Nomura.
2 p.m.: Scranton-Rarick, U.S., vs. Lidback-Stephenson.