The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

June 23, 2012

20 LPGA players to play in pro-am at Twin Hills

Twenty members of the LPGA will be in Joplin on Monday, July 2, for a benefit tournament at Twin Hills Golf and Country Club.

Teams will include local amateurs with an LPGA player assigned to each squad. Action will begin at 8 a.m. and spectators are welcome, according to Bennie Crossland, who came up with the idea for LPGA Pro-Am Classic benefiting a charity selected by Joplin’s Mercy Hospital.

I haven’t seen the list of contestants, but I would wager that all of the participating ladies will surprise and delight spectators with the distance and accuracy produced by their super-sweet swings.

That assessment is based, in part, on having seen the world’s top women players in the past, including my favorites Patty Berg and Pat Bradley, and watching a wonderful clinic put on at Twin Hills last year by the LPGA players. They were amazing.

The professionals will be coming up from the Walmart Northwest Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers , Ark., which concludes next Sunday. Daily tickets for that event, which begins Friday, are still available.

I would recommend that local golfers take your buddies to the Walmart tournament at Pinnacle if possible, and then set some time aside on Monday morning, July 2, to follow the girls at Twin Hills.

There will be no clinic by the LPGA this year, according to Crossland. That’s too bad. The girls were fabulous, performing trick shots for an enthusiastic audience and offering free advice to onlookers on how to improve their swings.

And when the ladies of the LPGA speak, you should listen. They aren’t as strong as their male counterparts, such as Bubba Watson, Keegan Bradley or John Daly, and so they require precise timing and excellent mechanics to produce quality swings and low scores. Watching them can be a learning experience.

Joplin ‘s LPGA Pro-Am Classic is the brainchild of Bennie Crossland. Last year, he was looking at the pictures of Ben Hogan, Ky Laffoon and others who played here.

“Then I thought of a tournament in Springfield that I played in a few years ago,’’ he told me last year. “They had some of the Champions Tour guys come down from Kansas City.’’

He made contact with the LPGA to see if players competing in the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship would be interested in coming to Joplin. They were and, I hope, a long-time relationship is beginning.

60 and counting

Has it really been 60 years since the Twin Hills Invitational began? It doesn’t seem possible that the popular 54-hole stroke-play tournament will start its sixth decade on July 28.

Invitations for classy classic have been sent out. The field will be limited. Entry fee information can be found on entry forms.

The tournament will have a 54-hole Senior Division for players 50 and older. If a player wants to play in that division, he must declare on the entry form. Otherwise, he will be assigned to the Championship division. Seniors will play from the forward teeing areas all three days.

Players may request pairings for Friday and Saturday, but must play in their respective flights on Sunday.

Scramble

A Red, White and Boom three-person scramble is scheduled Wednesday, July 4, at Carthage Golf Course. An 8 a.m. shotgun start is planned. The field will be limited to 34 teams.

Prizes will be awarded in three flights. Prizes and flights will be determined by the number of entries. For more information and to register call the pro shop, 417-237-7030.

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