Future LPGA stars return to Copper Rock in Hurricane with smiles, jewelry and wind – St George News



HURRICANE – The pros are back in town.

The Copper Rock Golf Course hosted the Epson Hurricane Tour on Tuesday night at a Meet the Pros hospitality event.

The opportunity to meet and mingle marked the first event of the Copper Rock Championship, which begins Thursday with the final round Saturday.

Defending champion Bailey Tardy was honored at the event, receiving a golf club pendant.

“I’m thrilled to be here,” Tardy told St. George News. “I think this was definitely one of my most memorable and favorite stops last year. Love the views here with Sion so close. Looking forward to a great week and then going again visit Zion.”

Bailey Tardy, Copper Rock Championship, Copper Rock Golf Course, Hurricane, Utah, April 24, 2021 | Photo by Rich Allen, St. George News

Tardy underwent knee surgery in December and has returned to touring.

“I’m still doing a bit, but I think if I improve even 1% every tournament, then I’m on the right track,” Tardy said. “I really focused on that and realized that if I’m not number one in the rankings every week, then what is my victory every week?

“And just kind of take positive action and we can go from there,” she added.

The defending champion will benefit from the experience acquired last year during her victory at Copper Rock.

“For sure just having the prior knowledge of the course, especially from another tournament, will be crucial,” she said. “I know there are a lot of girls – it’s their first time here and (they) have never played in this kind of wind.”

The wind was the main topic of conversation on Tuesday evening as constant strong gusts blew loudly and forcefully outside the hospitality tent at Copper Rock.

Tardy said during a practice round on Tuesday, she played with two rookies who told her they had never played in wind like this before.

“I’m definitely using this to my advantage and I’ll see where it takes me,” she said.

Defending champion Bailey Tardy, left, and MC Colleen Rue during a Meet the Pros event at Copper Rock Golf Course, Hurricane, Utah on April 19, 2022 | Photo by E. George Goold, St. George News

Although hopefully it won’t be blowing as hard at the start of the tournament, they may have to deal with at least some wind during the championship. After all, there’s a reason it’s called Hurricane.

Tardy said there’s pretty much only one approach to dealing with the wind when playing golf.

“Knock it down,” she said. “Knock it down. The common saying is: “When it’s windy, swing softly”, so the stronger the wind blows, the softer you swing.

Tardy said she didn’t think too much about the other competitors in the leaderboard.

“I just try to stick to my game, I can’t really control what other people are doing,” she said. “I’m just going to stick with what I’m confident with and go from there.”

The Epson Tour (formerly the Symetra Tour) is the official qualifying tour of the LPGA Tour. It prepares the best female professional golfers in the world for successful careers.

More than 600 Epson Tour alumni have moved on to the LPGA Tour, 459 of whom have won LPGA titles.

The Copper Rock Championship is the fifth tournament of the Epson Tour 2022 season. A field of 120 golfers will compete for a $200,000 purse.

American golfers represent eight different states. The course will also welcome golfers from around 30 countries.

Two winners of the tour this year, Kum-Kang Park (Florida’s Natural Charity Classic) and Linnea Strom (IOA Championship), will be looking to do well on the leaderboard.

Other star golfers with local college ties include Kendra Dalton (Brigham Young University) and Haley Sturgeon (Dixie State University).

The highlight of Tuesday night’s festivities came when Kenneth Knudson, Golf Director for Copper Rock Golf Course, announced that the contract to host the annual Epson Tour event at Hurricane has been extended through 2028.

Copyright St.George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.

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