LPGA loses US event after 36 years

09 Dec 2011 18:16

Lack of sponsorship funding has forced the LPGA tournament in Springfield, Illinois, to be ended after 36 years, tournament executive director Kate Peters said on Friday.

Organizers had been working with the LPGA to find a new sponsor to replace State Farm Insurance, which withdrew earlier this year, but the board of directors voted Thursday to cancel the event.

The LPGA has lost several US tournaments in recent years to sponsor pullouts in a tough economic climate, but has expanded its lineup of events in Asia.

World number one Yani Tseng of Taiwan won the final edition of the event last June at Panther Creek Country Club, her second of seven victories this past season, when she claimed her second LPGA Player of the Year award.

Past winners of the former LPGA Rail Classic included Swedish star Annika Sorenstam and Americans Pat Bradley and Betsy King.

South Korea's Hee-Won Han fired the low round in tournament history, an 11-under par 61, in the third round in 2008.