(Reuters) – The LPGA Tour, the elite women’s professional golf circuit, will return from its COVID-19 shutdown with two tournaments in Ohio, starting with the new Drive On Championship three-day event from July 31 to Aug. 2, officials said on Tuesday.
The Drive On Championship at the Inverness Club in Toledo will be played without spectators, a pro-am or sponsors, but the Marathon LPGA Classic to be held the following week in Sylvania, Ohio will welcome back fans at the Highland Meadows Golf Club.
“Thanks in part to the generosity of our partners who could not reschedule their events in 2020, we are adding a valuable additional playing opportunity for our LPGA Tour members,” said LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in statement.
“This new event will allow us to test our COVID-19 protocols before we get to welcome back our fans at the Marathon LPGA Classic presented by Dana.”
The Drive On Championship will mark the LPGA’s first event in over five months, after the novel coronavirus outbreak shut down the Tour following the Women’s Australia Open on Feb. 16.
The PGA Tour made its return last week with no spectators at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas won by Daniel Berger.
Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Hugh Lawson