Ann Arbor, Michigan – As the final round concluded at the Volvik Championship, it proved to exceed the expectations of everyone as a first year tournament on the LPGA Tour.
The LPGA and Travis Pointe Country Club seem to be the perfect fit and after the first inaugural event, it seems to be a course that adds some challenges where the players have to think about their shots. Thursday thru Sunday, the patrons filled the ropes to watch the stars of the LPGA Tour battle varying conditions throughout each of the four rounds of the tournament. Top LPGA names were at the top of the leaderboard throughout the week including Christina Kim, Ariya Juntanugarn, Jessica Korda and Brooke Henderson.
This year that tournament fell on Memorial Day Weekend, which could’ve aided in the increased crowds but possibly didn’t help with potential patrons who could’ve been heading out of state for the long holiday weekend or could’ve been headed to the Senior PGA Championship in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Either way, the crowds proved that the LPGA has a following here in Michigan.
Michigan is a golf state from the beginning of May until October or November (we take advantage of any extra golf we can get). Michigan golf courses showcase the beauty they offer to Michiganders and visitors. Travis Pointe Country Club is the perfect mix of a northern Michigan course and Mitten courses down here. Travis Pointe is a course that not only has a challenging course for the players but also can hold all of the facilities needed for the professional golfers. It is also located in Ann Arbor which in my opinion is the perfect location for the LPGA Tour in the years to come. Ann Arbor is just 30 minutes away from downtown Detroit and not that far from the suburbs of the city.
After Christina Kim’s second round she was asked about being in contention for the weekend. “Yea, I love it out here. I’m a big fan of the 313. There are very few places well, I guess it’s the 734, but 313 is right there. I think that Ann Arbor is one of my favorite towns in the country and it is hard to find anywhere that beats the weather here than here in the middle of May, end of May in any part of the world. It’s absolutely perfect right now. A little bit of humidity, lots of heat, cool breeze, grass is green. You can’t find anything to complain about this week.”
There were also plenty of Michigan natives in the field, Saline native Sarah Hoffman earned the sponsor exemption, Grosse Pointe Shores native Samantha Troyanovich Monday qualified at Eagle Crest Golf Club in Ypsilanti, Michigan as well as Ann Arbor native Jennifer Song.
Sam Troyanovich spoke with the media after her first round on Thursday “Who doesn’t love the Mitten in May when the suns out?”
One of the biggest compliments I overheard throughout the weekend is that this tournament seems like it has been run for years before. A huge credit should go to tournament director Keith Karbo and the rest of his staff during the tournament. They were everywhere from Tuesday thru Sunday and you never had to wonder where any of them were. The volunteers throughout the weekend were phenomenal, polite and gracious to the players, media and fans. I never met a volunteer who wasn’t personable and everyone that I spoke with said that they wanted to be back next year.
Where do we go for next year? That’s a good question but maybe for a different time because I’d rather think of all of the good things this tournament had to offer. Ariya Juntanugarn may have won her 3rd straight tournament but it seems like Travis Pointe and the LPGA were the real winners from that weekend.