The inaugural LPGA Epson Tour Tuscaloosa Toyota Classic has tournament partners looking ahead to future years and a possible return to the city.
The 3-day, 54-hole tournament wrapped up at Ol’ Colony golf course Sunday. The event saw Celine Borge secure the win with a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole, capping off a 9-under 63 final round. The Epson Tour felt the event was well-run.
“I thought the weekend was great,” said Tim Kramer, the tour’s senior director of tournament business affairs. “For a first-year event, at least from our perspective it didn’t feel like a first-year event; It felt like an event that has been on our schedule for a while.”
The Epson Tour and Tuscaloosa Toyota Classic organizers are planning to meet sometime later this month to discuss the future of the event.
“Certainly all indications from our standpoint,” Kramer said, “we’d like to be back in Tuscaloosa next fall and I think it certainly seemed to be well-received by the people in the event this year.”
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The event was a collaborative effort between the cities of Tuscaloosa of Northport and Tuscaloosa County. Ol’ Colony is operated under the Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority banner. The course wants the event to return and is expecting it based on previous conversations with the Epson Tour.
“When we first began talking with Epson, it was for three years if everything worked out,” Hardy McCollum, chairman of Ol’ Colony’s board of governors, said. “We’re very excited and hope they’ll return, and we’ll welcome them with open arms.”
Close to 50 sponsors, a majority of which were local businesses, enabled the tournament to be staged. They would need to continue to support the event for it to continue.
“The people involved in the agencies of Tuscaloosa … will have to decide if we are able to support it,” Loo Whitefield, tournament co-director, said. “Our local businesses, if they will continue to support and the agencies decide we can have it, then I think it can happen again.”