Planet Golf — 25 February 2017 by Candace Oehler
LPGA Legends head to the Valley

By GW staff and news services

BOSTON – Some of the best known veterans of the LPGA Tour are coming to the Phoenix area to kick off the 2017 Legends Tour season.  Defending champion Juli Inkster will lead a strong field at next week’s 6th annual Walgreens Charity Classic, set for March 2-5 at Sun City West’s Grandview Golf Course. The LPGA Hall of Fame member, who has won seven Majors,  will be among a field of 50 veteran LPGA players, ages 45 and above,  competing in the inaugural event of the Legends Tour season.

“Juli won both of our Walgreens-sponsored tournaments last year and will undoubtedly be a force in this season’s opener,” said Jane Blalock, CEO of The Legends Tour. “Her presence definitely raises the bar and gets those competitive juices flowing in all of the Legends players.”

The 36-hole Legends Tour event offers a $250,000 purse. The Legends Honors Division (for players age 63 and over) will play for a separate purse. Australian Jan Stephenson is the tournament’s defending Legends Honors champion.

  Honors Division Judy Dickinson & Jan Stephenson

This year’s field includes LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame members Amy Alcott, Pat Bradley, Sandra Haynie, Juli Inkster, Betsy King, Patty Sheehan and Hollis Stacy.

 Pat Bradley

In addition, past Walgreens Charity Championship winners Rosie Jones, Michele Redman and Kris Tschetter will return to Grandview Golf Course hoping for a repeat victory.

Fourteen players with Arizona ties are competing in this year’s event, including Betsy King of Scottsdale and LPGA veteran and TV golf announcer Jane Crafter of Phoenix.

Gates open at 8:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, with tee times starting at 9 a.m.  Daily tickets are $15 at the gate. Advance tickets are on sale at area Walgreens stores, offering a $5 discount of $10 per ticket. Kids age 13-under, as well as military with I.D., will be admitted free.

Fans may also register in the Walgreens tent for an on-course walk each day of the tournament. Those who walk at least 3,000 steps while following tournament action will earn a commemorative Legends Tour item. Steps may be tracked on mobile devices, which must be in silent mode during the event.

For more information about The Legends Tour, the official senior tour of the LPGA, visit

Photos by Rick Sharp.

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About Author

Candace Oehler’s deep dive into sports media began several decades ago when she won a trip from Seattle to Mariners spring training in Arizona. Noting that non-English-speaking Latino ball players received little, if any, media coverage, she fluently/en español became a pioneer in Spanish sports media, and eventually became known affectionately throughout the Latino MLB community as “La Veterana.” Candace has written for team publications and; hosted her own radio show on several Spanish-language stations; served as producer/reporter/engineer for the Mariners’ inaugural season of Spanish radio broadcasts; and has been a reporter for MLB Network Radio the past 10 years. She was invited to Venezuela by future Hall-of-Fame shortstop Omar Vizquel to cover rebuilding efforts and accomplishments of his charitable foundation following the devastating 1999 mudslides; worked in Puerto Rico for former Major Leaguers Joey Cora and Carlos Baerga managing fundraising events; and was the only female in the raucous locker room when the hometown favorite Licey Tigers won the 2004 Caribbean World Series in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Candace was introduced to the game of golf in 1992 by members of Seattle’s historic Fir State Golf Club, who had approached her to manage their (then) little fundraising tournament hosted by a shy, gangly 15-year old Tiger Woods. Candace co-managed the annual event for nearly 20 years, working with hosts that included Ken Griffey, Sr., Birdie Griffey, Mike Cameron, Nate McMillan, Warren Moon, and Dale Ellis. She became secretary of the club and the Fir State Junior Golf Foundation, and got totally, completely hooked on golf, learning to play on a set of Redbirds given to her by the club (apparently they considered her mother’s Patty Bergs a bit antiquated). She has since traded up to another set of Redbirds and a much more user-friendly golf environment in Arizona. And, once a prolonged stint on the DL is over, she can’t wait to get back on the course and continue lowering her current 21-handicap to ….?

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