LPGA adds Hawaii stop for '12 season

Mike Whan

Mike Whan

Mike Whan proved the delay was worth the wait.

The LPGA will return to Hawaii this spring for the Lotte LPGA Championship Presented by J Golf, the tour announced Jan. 5. The LPGA signed a three-year agreement with Lotte, an industrial conglomerate in South Korea and Japan.

The tournament will be held April 18-21 on Oahu at a soon-to-be-announced venue and will feature a 144-player field and a $1.7 million purse. The Saturday finish allows for a Sunday viewing on Korean TV and gives players added time to get to their next event, in Mobile, Ala.

The complete LPGA schedule is expected to be released within days. The addition of the Hawaii event helps fill what could have been a sparse month. Last season, there was a three-week gap in April between the Kraft Nabisco and Avnet LPGA.

The event in Hawaii brings commissioner Whan’s new tournament total for 2012 to three, joining two international events: the ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open at Royal Melbourne and Manulife Financial LPGA Classic in Waterloo, Ontario. 2012 also marks the return of the Jamie Farr Toledo Classic after a one-year hiatus. Another victory for Whan, who enters his third year as the tour's chief executive: He managed to keep the Phoenix event on the schedule, with RR Donnelley now offering a legitimate purse.

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