Blue Bay returns, Epson season kickoff and Arizona State wins in Hilton Head

The IX: Golf Thursday with Addie Parker, March 7, 2024

Happy Golf Thursday! It’s safe to say that the 2024 golf season is kicking into gear, with the LPGA in China for its fifth event, the Epson Tour making its season debut in Florida, and college golf inching closer to playoffs. There’s quite a bit of news circulating around the game—so here’s what you need to know as we head into the weekend.

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Pre-order “Rare Gems” and save 30%

Howard Megdal, founder and editor of The Next and The IX, will release his next book on May 7, 2024. This deeply reported story follows four connected generations of women’s basketball pioneers, from Elvera “Peps” Neuman to Cheryl Reeve and from Lindsay Whalen to Sylvia Fowles and Paige Bueckers.

If you enjoy his coverage of women’s basketball every Wednesday, you will love “Rare Gems: How Four Generations of Women Paved the Way for the WNBA.” Click the link below and enter MEGDAL30 at checkout.


Blue Bay LPGA returns for the first time since 2018

The event was halted in large part due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but now Blue Bay LPGA has returned after a six-year hiatus. Blue Bay was a star-studded tournament from 2014-2018, seeing champions like Sei Young Kim (2015), Minjee Lee (2016), and Shanshan Feng (2017) — but was taken off the official schedule in 2019.

A lot has changed over the course of six years. Jin Young Ko was a rookie, Shanshan Feng and Michelle Wie West were regularly competing and Ariya Jutanugarn was No. 1 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Ranking — nevertheless — this event still holds its star power. Headlined by World No.1 Lilia Vu, defending champion Gaby Lopez, Lydia Ko, and Chinese native Ruoning Yin — we’re in for a treat at Blue Bay…and things are off to a hot start. Minjee Lee fired a record-tying, bogey-free 65 and is the current leader.

Catch the full leaderboard here and where to watch coverage here.

The Epson Tour returns

The Epson Tour is making its season debut this week for the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic. This will be the 15th iteration of this event, making it the second longest-standing tournament on the Epson Tour schedule.

As the first event of the season, it’s important to note that it marks the beginning of the new Epson Tour point-based system, moving away from a money-based system, which will allow for more players to have better odds at gaining their playing cards. Additionally, at the end of the season, the top 15 players in the Race for the Card will now earn LPGA Tour membership for the 2025 season, which previously only was awarded to the top 10 players.

This will also be Sophie Hausmann‘s first glimpse at competitive action since a season-ending foot injury during her 2023 season. She had a shot at earning her tour card, before a stress fracture proved to be too much to play through, sidelining her for the remainder of the season.

The LET gears up in Tampa

The Sunshine State is seeing quite a bit of action this week, including stops for the PGA Tour for the Arnold Palmer Invitational, the Epson Tour, and the ladies of the European Tour.

This week’s Aramco event in Tampa features a stacked field this week that is made up of 11 invites, three holding spots, and 70 LET players—headlined by Solheim Cup hero Carlota Ciganda, Charley Hull, and Lexi Thompson.

Here’s how you can follow the action.

Sun Devils nailbiting win at the Darius Rucker Intercollegiate

It came down to the wire for the Arizona State Sun Devils, but a win is a win.

Junior Grace Summerhays sank her bogey putt on the final hole to help clinch the win for the Sun Devils. Summerhays was leading heading into the last day but finished 4 over for the round, 2-under for the tournament for a T-7 finish.

It was a stacked field, featuring three top-5 teams and six top-10 teams for an all-out battle in Hilton Head.

Full Swing Season 2

The wait is over. The sophomore season of the hit docuseries Full Swing is here and the golf world can’t stop talking about it. From mental health struggles to the drama that was the Ryder Cup, the season covers some ground and fans are loving it.

Cancel all your weekend plans, because you have plenty of golf to unapologetically consume.


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This week in women’s golf

If you have links you wish to share for Golf Thursday, sources for golf news, or want to talk about anything at all, you can email me at addieparker25@theixsports.com ! Discussion of any kind is always welcome…I mean it…MESSAGE ME!

LPGA News

Blue Bay LPGA links:

LPGA might soon see Caitlin Clark in a pro-am after Gainbridge signed the Iowa superstar

5 things to know from Hannah Green’s dramatic LPGA victory at the HSBC in Singapore

LET News

LET Podcast with Sarah Kouskova

Epson Tour News

Five things to know about the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic

Storylines to watch at the Epson Tour opener, including a mother of two and some new faces

Sophie Hausmann returns from injury after her 2023 Season was cut short

NCAA/Amateur News

ANNIKA Award: First spring watch list for women’s college golf player of the year

Other News

My latest story on LPGA.com


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Five at The IX: Quotes from Blue Bay round one

Minjee Lee on early round weather conditions

“Because we played in the morning it wasn’t as bouncier, so I was able to just like stop it a little bit more, but come the back nine they were kind of rolling around through the hills — like through the — a lot of undulations I was on the other side where the pin was, so I hit a lot of good lag putts and just tried to be on the right parts of the green. They’re so small and the hills are so severe that I think sometimes you just can’t help it. You just have to accept it and then just accept the putt that you have.”

Xiyu (Janet) Lin on the differences she has seen in the course since playing it in 2018

“First of all, it’s a different time of the year we play here, spring instead of fall, so wind direction change a lot. And the last three holes they did some changes. I think they’re challenging little holes, even though they actually play shorter. But it’s couple good ones. So I think here it’s almost like a major setup. I think every shot you really have to concentrate because once you lost it, it’s never no way your ball going to be — one little miss can cause it really, really far away.”

Caroline Inglish on her five-under 67 round

“It was kind of interesting. I started out just not hitting the ball very well on the front nine, and then made a birdie on 8 I think, and then the back nine just kind of pulled it together and started making more putts. I think I made like five birdies in a row, which is nice to end the day.”

Lauren Hartlage on some of the first things she noticed about the course

“I think some of the pins can be really tough depending where they put them on the greens because there are a lot of different slopes and kind of pockets in the green. I think hitting the fairway is really important because some of the pins can be tucked and you got to be in the fairway if you want it to stop in that area. Definitely the second shot is really important on this course.”

Savannah Grewal on her caddie this week at Blue Bay LPGA

“My caddie is my brother this week. His first-time ever caddieing. He played in the word championships for table tennis two weeks ago, flew home for five days, and then flew straight here to caddie for me, and then he is going to fly home and go to the Olympic qualifiers for table tennis. He’s going to be all over the place, but we’ve had a lot of fun so far and happy to have him on the bag this week.”


Pre-order “Rare Gems” and save 30%

Howard Megdal, founder and editor of The Next and The IX, will release his next book on May 7, 2024. This deeply reported story follows four connected generations of women’s basketball pioneers, from Elvera “Peps” Neuman to Cheryl Reeve and from Lindsay Whalen to Sylvia Fowles and Paige Bueckers.

If you enjoy his coverage of women’s basketball every Wednesday, you will love “Rare Gems: How Four Generations of Women Paved the Way for the WNBA.” Click the link below and enter MEGDAL30 at checkout.


Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal, The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By: Addie Parker, @addie_parker, The IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: @TheIceGarden, The Ice Garden
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Lela Moore, @runlelarun, Freelance Writer

Written by Addie Parker