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LPGA tournament in Midland canceled; Toledo now set to host opener

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

Two days after the PGA Tour announced its plan for returning to action next month, the LPGA on Friday delayed the restart of its season another week by announcing the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational has been canceled.

The second-year tournament set to be played at Midland Country Club July 15-18 will return to the LPGA schedule in 2021 with the original five-year contract extended through 2024.

This would have been the second year of the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational in Midland.

“The decision by Dow and the LPGA to cancel was certainly not easy,” Dow Chairman and CEO Jim Fitterling said in a statement. “We explored all available options, and the LPGA has been working with us every step of the way. We are convinced that moving toward planning an incredible tournament in 2021 is the right decision to ensure the safety of everyone involved. Our goal is to grow and improve each year, and we look forward to accomplishing that next year.”

The LGPA has not played since the Women’s Australian Open concluded on Feb. 16. Its next three events in Asia were canceled as the coronavirus had already begun to spread in that part of the world.

More: It's official: No fans at Rocket Mortgage Classic as PGA Tour sets out plans for restart

The Great Lakes Bay Invitational is one of two LGPA events in the state. The Meijer Classic played near Grand Rapids was pushed from its usual June date to Oct. 1-4 when the Tour announced a revamped schedule last month. With no other changes, the LPGA is now expected to return July 23-26 at the Marathon Classic in Sylvania, Ohio near Toledo.

A two-person team event, the Great Lakes Bay Invitational was a success in its first year and the LPGA said on Friday it is committed to ensuring a long run.

“While we are disappointed that the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational will not be held this year, I am excited that our friends at Dow have extended our relationship and will be hosting us in Midland for many years,” LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan said. “As I’ve said since this pandemic started, while we will do all we can to play safely in 2020, the most important thing is to ensure the long-term health of our Tour. We are very thankful to the team at Dow for their ongoing and extended support. The 2019 Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational was an incredible addition to our schedule, and I’m excited to see what they bring to the table in 2021.” 

The tournament is the second major event in the state to be canceled after the Senior PGA Championship, set to be played May 21-24 at the Golf Club at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, was called off last month. That leaves the PGA Tour’s Rocket Mortgage Classic July 2-5 at Detroit Golf Club, the Ally Challenge on the PGA Champions Tour July 31-Aug. 2 at Warwick Hills in Grand Blanc, and the Meijer Classic Oct. 1-4 at Blythefield Country Club.

On Wednesday, the PGA Tour laid out its plan to resume play June 8-14 at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas. Two more tournaments follow – the RBC Heritage June 15-21 in Hilton Head, S.C., and the Travelers Championship June 22-28 in Cromwell, Conn. – before the Rocket Mortgage Classic. All four events will be played without fans.

mcharboneau@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @mattcharboneau

Michigan tournaments

PGA Champions: May 21-24, Senior PGA Championship, Golf Club at Harbor Shores, Benton Harbor (CANCELED)

PGA Tour: July 2-5, Rocket Mortgage Classic, Detroit Golf Club (originally May 28-31)

LPGA: July 15-18, Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational, Midland Country Club (CANCELED)

LPGA: Oct. 1-4, Meijer LPGA Classic, Blythefield Country Club, Belmont (originally June 11-14)

PGA Champions: July 31-Aug. 2, Ally Challenge, Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club, Grand Blanc