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By Jake Courtepatte
For the first time in 17 years, the LPGA is returning to the GTA – though this time, in our own backyard.
Magna Golf Club in Aurora was officially announced as a 2019 tour stop in a press conference at the club on Monday, and will play host to the Canadian Pacific Women's Open next August.
"Magna Golf Club is truly a magnificent facility which will prove to be a world-class experience for the stars of the LPGA Tour," said Golf Canada CEO Laurence Applebaum. "The CP Women's Open is one of Canada's premier sporting events and we are thrilled to return to the Toronto area for the first time in nearly 20 years so golf fans and partners can experience the incredible Magna Golf Club as well as the global excitement of the LPGA Tour.
Ranked among the top one-hundred golf course nationwide, the championship Magna course owned by businessman Frank Stronach is nestled in the hills of the Oak Ridges Moraine, providing the backdrop for what Club General Manager and Director Stuart Brindle said is already a “top-class facility.”
“Golf Canada has done a great job of laying out the parameters for the course, and I feel like we'll be able to easily meet those standards.”
Applebaum mirrored Brindle's affections, adding that the standards as they sit today are “already pretty excellent.”
CP Women's Open Tournament Director Ryan Paul worked to finalize the deal with Brindle and his team to bring the tournament to Magna just a few short weeks ago, when a tour of the course affirmed its position at the top of the tournament's wishlist.
“It's just a fantastic course,” said Paul. “It's wide open, but the bunkers are big and it's going to be a great challenge for the players. The clubhouse is top-notch.”
For fans of the game, expect to see some high-profile faces at next year's event, to be held from August 19-25, including up-and-coming Canadian Brooke Henderson, who said via video she was “so excited” for the Open to return to Ontario.
This year's contest, to be held in late August in Regina, Saskatchewan, is expected to host 95 of the world's top 100 female golfers.
With so much talent descending on the region, Applebaum said to expect a mini “economic boom” from an event of such a grandiose scale.
“An event like this brings approximately $15-18-million in economic impact to an area,” Applebaum told the room, which included the likes of Aurora Mayor Geoff Dawe and Newmarket-Aurora MP Kyle Peterson.
“It's an incredible community,” said Applebaum, adding that both he and Canadian Pacific President Keith Creel, who was also on hand, formerly were residents of Aurora. “I know how wonderful this area can be. Mayor Geoff Dawe and I, and our teams, we're going to continue to have great dialogue about what we can do to bring the entire community of Aurora and Newmarket into the fold, and making this an incredible championship.”
The purse for next year's event is expected to top the $2-million mark, one of the highest on the LPGA Tour.
Angus Glen Golf Club in Markham was the last in the GTA to play host, doing so in 2001 when the legendary Annika Sorenstam took home the trophy.
Canadian Pacific also announced a five-year extension on their title sponsorship of the tournament, a title it has maintained since November 2013.
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