HURRICANE, Utah — The fourth stop on the 2021 “Road to the LPGA” takes the Epson Tour to Copper Rock Golf Course in the Beehive State for the inaugural Copper Rock Championship from April 22-24.
Greeting the 120-player field in Hurricane is a total purse of $200,000. Individuals are set to compete in a 54-hole stroke-play format with a cut to the low 60 players and ties after 36 holes. The winner’s share for the event is $30,000.
Action gets underway at 7:30 a.m. MT all three days with play starting off No. 1 each round. A trophy presentation on No. 18 green is set to follow final-round play.
COLLEGIATE CONNECTIONS IN THE BEEHIVE STATE
One individual with a tie to a Utah institution for higher education is featured among competition in the Beehive State and is a player to keep an eye on once the event starts Thursday.
Brigham Young University (BYU) has one lone representative in Kendra Dalton (Poughquag, New York). During her time at BYU, Dalton was a two-time West Coast Conference Player of the Year.
“I had an awesome college golf experience at BYU and St. George will always be a special place to me. We spent the winters down there and hosted our home event there so a lot of great memories,” said Dalton. “We don’t often get to play ‘at home’ and so to be in Utah which is definitely a second home to me is special and a week I will really enjoy.”
COUNTRIES (AND STATES) OF THE COPPER ROCK CHAMPIONSHIP
A total of 30 countries are represented this week at the Copper Rock Championship, led by the United States with 57 players then followed by the Republic of Korea with the next highest of seven competitors. Several competitors this week are the lone representative from their country, including Prima Thammaraks (Bangkok, Thailand) and Malene Krolboll Hansen (Taastrup, Denmark).
“As an athlete being able to represent your country in your sport is always a huge honor. Seeing the Thai flag in front of my name reminds me that I am here for reason bigger than just myself,” said Thammaraks. “I’m lucky that I was able to travel during this pandemic where most flights are restricted out of Asia. So, I’m extra grateful to play the sport that I love for my home country at the Copper Rock Championship.”
“There are not many players from Denmark out here so seeing the Danish flag next to my name is a huge honor and a good motivator to keep doing my absolute best every week,” said Krolboll Hansen.
Individuals from 26 different states are also set to tee it up at Copper Rock Golf Course. One player hails from the host state, title sponsor exemption Hayley Sturgeon (Layton, Utah)—while Florida boasts the most with 11.
ROOKIES IN UTAH
Numerous professionals in their rookie season on the Epson Tour have made the trek to Washington County, as 15 rookies are in the field and ready for the fourth event of the Epson Tour season. Among them is Alice Hewson (Orlando, Florida) entering only her sixth start on the Epson Tour.
“I’m really excited to play here in Utah this week. The area is so pretty and it’s great to have another new venue on the schedule for this year,” said Hewson. “After a tough week last week I’m hopeful to build upon the work I did over the weekend and have a good week.”
RACE FOR THE CARD UPDATE
The Epson Tour annually awards LPGA Tour membership to the top players on the season-ending money list. Nine members from the current top-10 group are in Hurricane this week including Ruixin Liu (Guangdong, People’s Republic of China) aiming to protect her spot at the top the of the list for a third- consecutive week.
“For this season I am going to try and play as good as I am playing right now and see where it is going to take me,” said Liu. “I am really excited with how I have been playing and looking forward to continue that with the challenge that Copper Rock Golf Course will give us this week.”
From 1999-2002, the official qualifying tour of the LPGA handed out three cards. Then from 2003-2007, that number increased to five before 10 were distributed starting in 2008. Since the inaugural year, a total of 162 players have graduated to the big stage.