The Year of Women’s Golf in NJ begins this week with an LPGA tournament in Clifton
The Ladies Professional Golf Association and the PGA of America are calling 2023 the “Year of Women’s Golf in New Jersey.”
In an unprecedented span of time, the Garden State will host four LPGA events in a span of six weeks, beginning with this week’s Cognizant Founders Cup at Upper Montclair Country Club in Clifton.
“New Jersey will be the epicenter of women’s golf, allowing the LPGA and PGA of America and all associated sponsors to leverage their shared platforms to inspire young girls and women throughout New Jersey and the surrounding tri-state region,” said senior tournament director Scott Wood.
Two New Jersey natives will be on duty in Upper Montclair this week. Plainsboro native Katie Lu, the reigning NJ State Golf Association Player of the Year and amateur champion, will serve bar one sponsor and will be joined in the field by Livingston native Karen Chung.
Lu was named NJ.com’s 2021 High School Girls Golfer of the Year in her senior year at West Windsor-Plainsboro North. Now a sophomore at Michigan State, Lu is navigating a busy schedule.
“The NCAA Regionals are just around the corner from this tournament. So I’m going to play that and then fly straight here to play the first day of the Founders Cup. So definitely busy, but I’m very excited,” said Lu.
Lu and Michigan State make the most of their performance at the Palm Beach Regional. After Monday’s opening round, the Spartans lead the team competition by 11 shots and Lu (-1) is two shots behind and currently fourth in the individual standings with two rounds remaining. The top five teams from each region will advance to the National Championship to be held May 19-24 at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona.
“When my coach called me and said I got the sponsor’s release, I was so excited and couldn’t stop smiling,” said Lu. “It will definitely be an experience teeing off with some of the best golfers in the world and, more importantly, paying tribute to the 13-year-old founder of LPGA. So yes, I am very excited.”
June will be particularly busy as the women’s tour zigzags up and down the state’s major highways with events in Jersey City, Galloway and Springfield.
Liberty National Golf Club is hosting a new event, the Mizuho Americas Open, June 1-4, which will feature a unique amateur angle. It will also host an AJGA invitational tournament, offering 24 juniors the opportunity of a lifetime – the chance to play the same course at the same time as the LPGA field while also competing for a title of their own.
ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer returns to the Bay Course at Seaview for the 25th time June 9-11.
The final event is one of the LPGA’s five majors – the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, which will be held June 22-25 at the historic Baltusrol Golf Club’s Lower Course.
“Hosting a major championship and three major tour events across the state within six weeks has a significant economic impact,” Wood said, estimating that $20 million will flow into the community.
“The combination of these world-class, significant events at some of the best golf courses in the world in a big market next to you or is very, very significant and will not only elevate women’s golf, but stimulate the conversation about women’s leadership empowerment.”