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Women’s pro golf in Rochester will continue through 2020.
A three-year extension for the Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic at Brook-Lea Country Club in Gates was announced on Wednesday. This year’s LPGA Symetra Tour event is July 16-22.
The tournament honors Spencerport native Danielle Downey, a former high school sports standout and LPGA player who died in a car crash in 2014. Wednesday’s announcement happened in Henrietta at the Pluta Cancer Center Foundation, which is the event’s new charitable beneficiary.
“We are thrilled to extend a four-decade tradition of professional women’s golf in Rochester,” said tournament co-chairman Mike Vadala. “The Pluta Cancer Center Foundation also represents the best of the area’s talents, and we are proud to support the exciting, innovative solutions they bring to patients and their families battling cancer.”
Brook-Lea was Downey’s home course. About 20 percent of the women currently ranked in the LPGA Tour’s top 100 have played in the Downey Classic the past three summers.
“Rochester is a great golf community and has been supportive of professional women’s golf for 42 years,” said Mike Nichols, the Chief Business Officer for the Symetra Tour. “The Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic is one of the all-around top events on the Symetra Tour.”
For more information on the tournament, including sponsorship opportunities, volunteering and pro-am events, go to www.danielledowneyclassic.com.
There was concern about the tournament’s future last summer. Vadala, an Irondequoit resident and longtime president of The Summit Federal Credit Union, knows corporate sponsorship may be a challenge in 2019 when the Senior PGA Championship comes to Oak Hill CC in Pittsford. The PGA Championship returns in 2023.
The Symetra Tour is mostly for top young players and was formerly called the Futures Tour. Vadala ran another Symetra event in Syracuse from 2012-14 before starting the Downey Classic in honor of his friend. He’s also a Brook-Lea member.
Rochester formerly had the longest running event on the LPGA Tour, hosting an annual tour stop at Locust Hill Country Club from 1977-2013. The final five years it was the Wegmans LPGA Championship, one of its major events. The final year, in 2014, the tournament was held at Monroe Golf Club in Pittsford. Wegmans pulling out as title sponsor was the biggest reason for its demise.