The Epson Tour, the official qualifying tour of the LPGA Tour, serves as a feeder program to the best and biggest stage in women’s golf. Strong competition week after week has prepared many Epson Tour alumnae, like Nelly Korda, to move on and succeed on the LPGA Tour.
The Carlisle Arizona Women’s Golf Classic is no exception to the level of competition and is arguably the strongest field the qualifying tour will see throughout the year. Sponsored by the Scottsdale-based Carlisle Companies, the event enters its third year on the Epson Tour schedule. It is one of two tournaments that boasts the highest purse of the season at $335,000 – putting more at stake for the talented women teeing it up in Mesa, Arizona.
Of the 132 athletes competing at Longbow Golf Club, 16 will “warm up” and prepare to compete at the LPGA Drive On Championship, held at Superstition Mountain Golf and Country Club in Gold Canyon the following week. Epson Tour alumna and ambassador Bailey Tardy is one of those 16 athletes and is preparing to debut as a 2023 LPGA Tour rookie.
“I’m honestly so thankful to be out here. I wasn’t in the field for a while, I just got in last week,” said Tardy. “To be able to come out here and warm up, not really per se, but to get a feel of the Arizona weather and the dry climate out here is definitely good. I think it’ll help me for next week.”
Jaravee Boonchant, who currently holds status on both the LPGA and Epson Tours, is also entered to compete in Mesa in preparation for her second start on the LPGA Tour in 2023. Boonchant played in the Honda LPGA Thailand in February, finding herself among the leaders throughout the week and ultimately finishing T17. However, the 23-year-old left her home country with confidence and is looking forward to competing in Arizona for two weeks.
“It’s been a while since the last time I competed in the United States, especially the west coast; I haven’t been here for probably a year,” said Boonchant. “It’s nice to come back here and see all of my friends and play at beautiful golf courses. I’m excited for this week and next week as well.”
Other competitors currently entered to endure the two-week stretch in the Grand Canyon State are Alexa Pano, Dani Holmqvist, Sofia Garcia, Lauren Stephenson, Maude-Aimee Leblanc, Lauren Coughlin, Pernilla Lindberg, Grace Kim, Celine Borge, Amanda Doherty, Caroline Inglis, Valery Plata, Samantha Wagner, and Karen Chung.