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dennyjones

LPGA brings first official team event in tour history to Midland

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The Midland Country Club will help the LPGA make history in 2019, providing the backdrop for the first official team event in the tour's history.

The Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, a 72-hole team event, will become part of the LPGA tour July 17-20, 2019, at the Midland Country Club, LPGA officials announced Thursday at the Midland Country Club.

Dow Chemical Company agreed to sponsor the event for its first five years.

"Dow is a company about innovation, and they wanted to do something new and innovative," LPGA Chief Commercial Officer Jon Podany said. "There has been interest from the players to participate in a team event. They see the men on the PGA Tour playing in a team event and having fun doing it.

"When Dow approached us about doing something unique, it was a natural fit."

The stroke-play tournament will feature 72 two-player teams competing in both foursomes and four-ball for a $2 million purse. The format is similar to the one used in the Solheim Cup.

LPGA golfers Juli Inkster, Katherine Kirk, Brittany Lincicome, Jenny Shin and Angel Yin helped make the announcement Thursday in Midland, holding a brief golf clinic before the press conference.

"It's super exciting," Lincicome said. "We're thrilled this event is coming to the LPGA. Best ball is the easiest of the formats. Alternate shots are a little more difficult. My (Solheim Cup) captain Juli Inkster would tell me to stop saying sorry."

The 2019 event is the first official team event in LPGA history, but the tour has included unofficial team events dating back to the Hot Springs 4-Ball Invitational (1955-58) and Women's World Cup of Golf (2000, 2005-08). The tour has partnered with PGA and PGA Tour Champions for the Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge (1992-2013) and Hyundai Team Matches (1994-97, 1999-2002).

The tournament is the first Tour event at Midland Country Club, which was originally designed in 1928 by Gilbert Currie. It was redesigned in 1970 by Larry Packard, in 1990 by Jerry Matthews and in 2009 by Craig Schreiner.

The LPGA has two other stops in the state with the Volvik Championship at the Travis Pointe Country Club in Ann Arbor (May 24-27 this year) and the Meijer Classic for Simply Give at Blythefield Country Club in Belmont (June 14-17).

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