Rivermead eyes LPGA

CHRIS STEVENSON -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:34 AM ET

The BMO Financial Group Canadian Women's Tour is coming back to the Rivermead Golf Club this summer and if the club gets its way, the event could be a stepping stone to something bigger.

Rivermead, the fine track in Aylmer, celebrates its centennial in 2010 and would like to mark the occasion by hosting the BMO Financial Group Canadian Women's Open, the LPGA's only stop north of the border.

NO PGA PLAY

Rivermead has ruled out getting the Bell Canadian Open, the PGA Tour's stop in Canada.

"Our first intention is to get a major event for our centennial," Rivermead general manager Michel Podeszfinski said yesterday. "We know for a fact our course is not long enough for the men, but the ladies are a possibility."

Hosting the Canadian Women's Tour is a step toward showing the Royal Canadian Golf Association Rivermead has what it takes to host the Women's Open.

The LPGA has twice been to the national capital region -- at the Ottawa Hunt in 1994 and at Royal Ottawa in 2000 -- with tremendous results.

Rivermead has hosted a Canadian Women's Tour event in the past. This year, the Rivermead event, June 19-21, and one in Victoria May 8-10, will serve as qualifying events for the Women's Open (there's also a one-day qualifier the Monday of tournament week).

BOUND FOR EAST

The Women's Open moves to Halifax's highly regarded Glen Arbour Golf Course this year (July 11-17), the first time a big pro event has been on the East Coast in 66 years.

The Canadian Women's Tour will offer six exemptions into the Women's Open. The RCGA has also created the Jocelyne Bourassa player of the year award for the top finisher on the Women's Tour Order of Merit.

The Women's Tour will consist of a total of five events this year with a total purse of $170,000 (the women will play for $25,000 at Rivermead).

In addition to the qualifiers, the Tour will also feature the CPGA Women's Championship and the season-ending Tour Championship.

The RCGA will conduct 22 championships this year, including three additional women's national amateur championships as a result of the RCGA's merger with the former Canadian Ladies' Golf Association.

The merger became official Jan. 15.


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