LPGA event at Shadow Creek could get new date

In this May 29, 2022, file photo, Ayaka Furue drives off the 11th tee during the final day of t ...

A new date on the calendar could be in the future for the Bank of Hope LPGA Match Play.

Players have been effusive in their praise for the tournament and the layout at Shadow Creek, but the first two editions have been played the week before the U.S. Women’s Open, causing many of the top golfers to skip the event.

One of the most grueling events on the calendar for players who make it through to the weekend is not the recipe for drawing stars days before the biggest tournament on the calendar.

“It’s not at a good time in our schedule,” Stacy Lewis, Solheim Cup captain and a member of the player council, said of the Match Play event. “I wish we could get this tournament not on the front end of a major that’s on the other side of the country. That’s the biggest reason (more players) are not here.”

This 2022 version in May was missing Jin Young Ko, Nelly Korda, Lexi Thompson, Brooke Henderson and Lydia Ko, among others.

Megan Khang said the Match Play is one of her favorite events, but it was a huge decision to fly cross country to Las Vegas only to turn around and head back to the East Coast for the U.S. Women’s Open this year.

“I think if it does move, a lot more girls would come,” Khang said. “I will probably almost come every time it’s put on. That’s me personally. They’re missing out. We get to reap the rewards of coming out here.”

LPGA and MGM Resorts officials said they are open to finding the right spot on the calendar, although they pointed out next year’s U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach has been pushed back to July, so that won’t be an issue.

“There are many factors involved with planning the annual LPGA Tour schedule, particularly in fitting together 30-plus events on multiple continents,” said Christina Lance, LPGA communications director. “But we are committed to finding the best possible scenario for this event.”

Lance Evans, senior vice president for sports for MGM Resorts, said they are working with the LPGA to identify dates for the 2023 tournament.

“We are confident we will find a date that will not compete with the U.S. Open,” Evans said.

Lewis said a better date will give the Las Vegas tournament the respect it has earned.

“I think the golf course deserves it; the sponsor, MGM, deserves it; Bank of Hope deserves it,” Lewis said. “We’ve got to find a better spot in the schedule for this tournament just to make sure that the field is a little bit more top heavy.”

Lewis selfishly would like to see more of the top Americans in the field in 2023 to give them some match-play experience before the Solheim Cup later in the year.

She realizes that schedules are well above her pay grade.

“It’s not my job to make the schedule,” she said. “I can encourage them all I want, but ultimately they’re going to do what’s best for them.”

Reflection Bay Am

One week after failing to qualify for the U.S. Open, Jackson Parrish got a small consolation when he won the Reflection Bay Amateur Championship over the weekend at Lake Las Vegas.

Parrish shot rounds of 71-66 to finish at 7-under 137, two shots better than Brett Sawaia. He sealed the win with a front-nine 29 on Sunday that included five birdies and an eagle.

The other divisions were no contest. Kelly Knievel won the senior division by seven shots, while Gary Carpendale posted a 12-stroke victory in the silver division.

Other winners included Trevor Cross (championship net), Jack Kalmanson (senior net) and George Yocum (silver net).

Greg Robertson covers golf for the Review-Journal. He can be reached at grobertson@reviewjournal.com.