This week the Garden City Charity Classic hosts its seventh annual tournament at Buffalo Dunes. Three past champions are in the field this week in including defending champion Alejandra Llaneza (Mexico City, Mexico), Vicky Hurst (Melbourne, Florida), and Allyssa Ferrell (Edgerton, Wisconsin).
In 2019, it took 56 holes but a par on the second extra frame of a sudden-death playoff lifted Llaneza to victory. The win was the second for Llaneza on the Epson Tour. Her first title came in Greenwood, S.C. at the 2015 Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic.
“In 2019, I remember I was coming off a not so good stretch of the season. When I got here, I really liked the golf course and I told myself let’s really take this shot-by-shot this week,” said Llaneza. “I remember it coming down to the last few holes, it was a very exciting finish, but then we went on to the playoff. My caddy, Garret, who goes to school here, Garrett, told me trust your game and you’ll be fine.”
A final round 7-under par 65 helped Ferrell step into the winner’s circle for the first time in her career in 2018. The Michigan State University alumna used a bogey-free final round to finish at 16-under par and claim the title by two strokes. During her victory speech, Ferrell dedicated the win to sister Brooke, who can no longer play competitive golf and was on the bag that week in the Sunflower State. This week Ferrell returns to Epson Tour for the first time since 2019.
“I absolutely love this tournament and it holds such a special place in my heart,” said Ferrell. “My parents are going to be in town this week and I will have my dad on the bag so it will be another special week in Garden City for sure.”
Hurst posted an even-par 72 to win the Garden City Charity Classic in 2015 and secure full LPGA Tour membership for the 2016 season. Hurst finished at 8-under 208, two shots clear of Olivia Jordan-Higgins, who carded a 4-under 68 to give Hurst all she could handle.
“My mom was caddying for me that week and we had a lot of fun together. I remember it was a good win because it was still when I was coming back from my wrist injury. The win here and at the W.B. Mason Championship really gave me a confidence boost coming back from that,” said Hurst. “I love this course. I really like that it’s a tough course out here and you never know what the weather is going to be like. It’s pretty unpredictable and I like that added challenge.”