SANDWICH, Mass – Annika Sorenstam, who won the U.S. Senior Women’s Open three weeks ago in Fairfield, headlines seven World Golf Hall of Fame members who will compete in the Legends Tour’s BJ’s Charity Championship on Friday September 10 at The Ridge Club in Sandwich, Mass.
Sorenstam, winner of 72 LPGA Tour events, including 10 major championships, played in the PGA Tour’s Colonial in 2003 on a sponsors’ exemption two months before another historic figure and her partner in the tournament, Suzy Whaley, a longtime Connecticut resident and the first PGA of America female official, played in the Greater Hartford Open. Sorenstam, who turned 50 in October, ended a 13-year retirement in February when she played in the LPGA Gainbridge Championship at her home course, Lake Nona Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. She made the cut and then won the U.S. Senior Women’s Open by eight strokes over country women Liselotte Neumann with her husband, Mike McGee, as her caddie and her daughter Ava and son William in her gallery.
Sorenstam has said Whaley qualifying for the 2003 GHO inspired her to accept the exemption to the Colonial. On Dec. 2, Sorenstam was appointed president of the International Golf Federation, and on Jan. 7, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Donald Trump. She began the transition from professional golfer to entrepreneur during the later years of her career, attempting to combine golf, fitness and charitable works into various businesses under the ANNIKA brand with the statement “Share my Passion.”
Whaley, inducted into the Connecticut Golf Hall Fame after the first round the U.S. Senior Women’s Open at Brooklawn Country Club, became the first female in 57 years to qualify for a PGA Tour event when she won the 2002 Connecticut Section PGA Championship, earning her a spot in the GHO. Whaley, who played on the LPGA Tour in 1990 and 1993, is now the Director of Instruction at the Country Club at Mirasol in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and is recognized by Golf for Women as a Top 50 female instructor.
Whaley is now the PGA of America’s honorary president, represents Casa De Campo in the Dominican Republic and PXG and is a Nike ambassador. Recognized as one of the country’s top business leaders in the game, Whaley earned her Master Professional status in May, 2018, and has resumed as a golf analyst and on-course commentator for ESPN.
Sorenstam and Whaley will tee off at 9:48 a.m. with Englishwomen Trish Johnson and Hall of Famer Laura Davies. Other Hall of Famers in the 24-player field are Nancy Lopez, Juli Inkster, Hollis Stacy, Jan Stephenson and Pat Bradley, a native of Westford, Mass.
Jane Blalock of Portsmouth, N.H., a 27-time LPGA Tour winner and Ridge Club member, kicks off the tournament at 9 a.m. with partner Patricia Meunier Lebouc of Dijon, France, and the team of Stephenson of Sydney, Australia, and Laura Diaz of Winston-Salem, N.C.
“We are excited to be back at the Ridge for this unique and very competitive team event,” Blalock, who still holds the record for consecutive cuts made in professional golf at 299, said in a release. “The Ridge is the perfect venue for this 18-hole event – the course is in fantastic shape. We love seeing all the members and area fans come out to watch great golf and show their support.”
The event wasn’t held in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, so the defending champions are eight-time Legends champion Rosie Jones of Hilton Head, S.C., who won 13 times on the LPGA Tour, and Michele Redman of Plymouth, Minn., a four-time Legends winner with two victories on the LPGA Tour. They won by two strokes in 2019, and Redman also won the inaugural BJ’s Charity Championship in 2017 with Patti Rizzo.
Redman and Jones will play in the final pairing at 10 a.m. with the team of 31-time LPGA Tour winner Julie Inkster, of Los Altos, Calif., and 2021 Solheim Cup captain Pat Hurst of Danville, Calif.
“I love the golf course and the support we receive from the members,” Redman said, “and I’m really looking forward to returning to Cape Cod.”
The tournament benefits the BJ’s Charitable Foundation, helping families meet their essential needs, including fresh food, education and wellness. Admission is free, and gates open at 8 a.m.
There is no parking on site, but free parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis at Holly Ridge Golf Course located next to the Ridge Club and includes free complimentary shuttle service to and from the tournament admissions gate from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Masks are required on the shuttle ride for all patrons, regardless of vaccination status.
There will be an awards ceremony for the champions on the 18th green following play. Clubhouse parking and access is for VIPs and Legends only; public concessions and restrooms will be available near the tournament entrance.
9 a.m.: Jane Blalock, Portsmouth, N.H., and Patricia Meunier-Lebouc, Dijon, France; Jan Stephenson, Sydney, Australia and Laura Diaz, Winston-Salem, N.C.
9:12: Hollis Stacy, Holmes Beach, Fla., and Jane Geddes, Tampa, Fla.; Elaine Crosby, Jackson, Mich., and Cathy Johnston-Forbes, Kitty Hawk, N.C.
9:24: Pat Bradley, West Hyannisport, Mass., and Wendy Ward, Spokane, Wash.; Michelle McGann, West Palm Beach, Fla., and Laurie Rinker, Stuart, Fla.
9:36: Liselotte Neumann, Rancho Mirage, Calif., and Alicia Dibos, Greenwich, Conn.; Nancy Lopez, Palm City, Fla., and Val Skinner, Bay Head, N.J.
9:48: Laura Davies, Surrey, England, and Trish Johnson, London, England; Annika Sorenstam, Orlando, Fla., and Suzy Whaley, Ponte Vedra, Fla.
10 a.m.: Juli Inkster, Los Altos, Calif., and Pat Hurst, Danville, Calif.; Rosie Jones, Hilton Head, S.C., and Michele Redman, Plymouth, Minn.