WORLEY, Idaho – Many of the world’s top professional golfers will tee it up in the Circling Raven Championship presented by KXLY News 4 Now, as they compete in the Epson “Road to the LPGA” Tour’s season-long pursuit for 2023 LPGA Tour membership.
Players from more than one dozen countries and several continents will descend upon Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel’s award-winning golf course – rated the No. 1 public course in Idaho and one of the best casino courses in America – for the second consecutive year.
They will battle for shares of the $200,000 prize purse and they include two golfers with Idaho ties – Sophie Hausmann, who attended University of Idaho and has hovered around the tour’s top 10 throughout the 2022 season, and Gabby Lemieux (Caldwell, ID), the only Native American on a professional golf tour.
Lemieux is a three-time Idaho Golf Association Women’s Amateur Champion who played collegiately at Texas Tech. Her participation is fitting as the Coeur d’Alene Tribe owns and operates the casino resort and golf course.
Perhaps the Native American essence that permeates Circling Raven – named after a seminal Tribal Chief and honoring generations of forebears via paying homage to them throughout the ancestral homelands – inspired Lemieux last year when she recorded her career-best Epson Tour finish of T3 at the 2021 Circling Raven Championship presented by KXLY 4 News Now
A compelling aspect of professional tour events is the option of host venues to secure participant exemptions for players who would not have been eligible to compete. Such is the case with Suzie Tran, a rising high school junior from Poulsbo, WA. Tran shot 71-70-65—206 (10-under par) to win the Notah Begay III (NB3) National Junior Golf Championship in Coushatta, La., last November in the girls 14-18 age group.
Other players of note expected to tee play in the Circling Raven Championship include Linnea Strom and Grace Kim, nos. 3 and 6 on the money list, respectively, and both have won tournaments during the 2022 season. Other winners during the 2022 season who are currently committed to the field include Dottie Ardina, Gabriela Then, and Alexa Pano, currently no. 4 on the money list.
Spectator passes are available for purchase here and offer options of 1-, 2-, or 3-day passes. A week-long pass offers the best value ($40). One-day passes start at $10.
Testament to the exceptional talent found on the Epson is seen through its “graduates” who include Nelly Korda, Inbee Park, Patty Tavatanakit, Lorena Ochoa, and Madelene Sagstrom. Fourteen graduates competed in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan.
“We’re excited to host these exceptional players in the Circling Raven Championship presented by KXLY News 4 Now,” said Laura Penney, CEO, Coeur d’Alene Casino Resort Hotel. “We support empowering women and youth through the game. Speaking of support, we couldn’t undertake this immense endeavor without our sponsors who have stepped forward to help us stage a premier regional event.”