Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

FireKeepers Championship brings pro golf back to Battle Creek for an 11th summer

By admin Jun9,2024

BATTLE CREEK – For more than a decade now, FireKeepers Casino Hotel has been bringing professional golf to Battle Creek.

The Epson Tour 2024 FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship is set for Friday-Sunday at Battle Creek Country Club, celebrating the 11th anniversary of the local event.

“Eleven years is a long time to sustain anything. It says a lot about the tribe and the management,” said Jim Wise of the FireKeepers Casino and Hotel. “It’s been a major commitment and I am proud of 11 years. We have taken a lot of young women who have performed well at this tournament, and the next time you look up, they are performing well on the LPGA circuit and that’s one of our goals.”

Golfers practice in preparation for the Epson Tour 2024 FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship at Battle Creek Country Club on Tuesday, June 4, 2024.Golfers practice in preparation for the Epson Tour 2024 FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship at Battle Creek Country Club on Tuesday, June 4, 2024.

Golfers practice in preparation for the Epson Tour 2024 FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship at Battle Creek Country Club on Tuesday, June 4, 2024.

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Hosted by FireKeepers Casino Hotel, the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship has become one of the premiere stops on the “Road to the LPGA”, boasting a $200,000 purse and a decorated list of champions, including current LPGA Tour members Ruixin Liu and Xiaowen Yin. As part of the Epson Tour’s schedule, the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship will feature a 144-player field as they battle their way up the Race for the Card standings for their chance at LPGA Tour card.

“We are thrilled to return to Battle Creek in 2024 for the 11th playing of the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship,” said Jody Brothers, the Epson Tour’s Chief Business and Operating Officer. “Our athletes and staff look forward to this tournament year after year, thanks to the outstanding support of FireKeepers Casino Hotel, as well as their event team. It’s our mission to provide top tier experiences for our athletes, and FireKeepers Casino Hotel does a great job in supporting that.”

The Epson Tour is the Official Qualifying Tour of the LPGA, where players earn LPGA Tour membership through the Epson Tour’s Race for the Card. Beginning in 2024, 15 LPGA cards will be distributed to top points earners over the 20-event season. Each regular season event offers the winner 500 points, and the Epson Tour Championship in Indian Wells, CA offers 650 points as the season finale.

Kaleigh Telfor practices before the start of the Epson Tour 2024 FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship at Battle Creek Country Club on Tuesday, June 4, 2024.Kaleigh Telfor practices before the start of the Epson Tour 2024 FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship at Battle Creek Country Club on Tuesday, June 4, 2024.

Kaleigh Telfor practices before the start of the Epson Tour 2024 FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship at Battle Creek Country Club on Tuesday, June 4, 2024.

A top finish at the Battle Creek Country Club this weekend could be the start of something big for one of the golfers.

“I like this course. It’s a good challenge. In terms of ball striking for sure, you have to keep the ball in the fairway,” said Kaleigh Telfor, who is from South Africa and has played at the FireKeepers event the last two summers and finished third last year. “The competition out here every week is unreal. There is a different winner almost every week. Everyone out here has the same goal in mind, try to get to the LPGA and that’s why we are out here.”

The tournament will have one of the deepest fields of the season, with six out of seven 2024 Epson Tour champions competing, as well as the previously mentioned, Siyun Liu, who won the event in 2023.

Additionally, 13 of the top 15 players in the Race for the Card will tee it up in hopes of earning more points and propelling them closer to their LPGA Tour Card for the 2025 season.

Golfers practice in preparation for the Epson Tour 2024 FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship at Battle Creek Country Club on Tuesday, June 4, 2024.Golfers practice in preparation for the Epson Tour 2024 FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship at Battle Creek Country Club on Tuesday, June 4, 2024.

Golfers practice in preparation for the Epson Tour 2024 FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship at Battle Creek Country Club on Tuesday, June 4, 2024.

Admission is free. Donations will be accepted, with all net proceeds from the event benefiting the South Michigan Food Bank.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for families, especially with young kids, to come out here and see these young women play,” Wise said. “You don’t have to be a golf expert to see that these women can really play great golf. And it’s free admission. We want people to come out and see what these young women are striving to do.”

Contact Bill Broderick at bbroderi@battlecreekenquirer.com. Follow him on X/Twitter @billbroderick.

This article originally appeared on Battle Creek Enquirer: FireKeepers Casino women’s professional golf tourney in Battle Creek

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