FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 2, 2023
DATES ANNOUNCED FOR 2023 WILDHORSE LADIES GOLF CLASSIC
Pendleton, OR – Wildhorse Resort & Casino along with the Epson Tour have announced dates for the 2023 Wildhorse Ladies Golf Classic. The week-long event will take place August 14-20 at Wildhorse Golf Course and the Golf Course at Birch Creek, near Pendleton, Oregon.
The Wildhorse Ladies Golf Classic is one tournament on the Epson Tour schedule, the official qualifying tour of the LPGA. The Epson Tour season begins in early March and runs through October with 22 tournaments being played nationwide, only one taking place in Oregon. Professional women golfers compete all season to earn the privilege of playing on the LPGA Tour the following season.
The seven-day affair will be similar to the inaugural event in 2022 with youth clinics, Pro-Am tournaments and the professional women’s tournament, which occurs the final three days of the event.
“We’re very happy to have the event take place two weeks earlier this year. This schedule works much better for the kids taking part in the youth clinics so we expect an even bigger turnout,” said Wildhorse CEO Gary George.
The young golfers are a primary reason this event takes place, according to George, as it aligns with efforts by the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) to provide meaningful opportunities for Tribal youth. The CTUIR own Wildhorse Resort & Casino.
But the Wildhorse Ladies Golf Classic also aims to promote golf as a sport, particularly for the women of professional golf.
“Golf is a positive activity for our local youth to participate in for both their mental and physical wellness,” explained George. “We also want to promote and build interest in professional women’s sports.”
Ladies’ professional golf is certainly seeing a rise in popularity. In November, the LPGA announced that total prize money payouts for the 2023 season will top $100 million for the first time. The total purse for the 2023 Epson Tour season is over $4.9 million, up from $4.41 million in 2022. The purse for the second Wildhorse Ladies Golf Classic is $200,000.
Players who visited Eastern Oregon to compete last year and advanced to the LPGA Tour include Xiaowen Yin, Kiira Riihijarvi, Grace Kim, Celine Borge, Gabriella Then, Gina Kim, Yan Liu, and Hyo Joon Jang. Grace Kim tied for third in the Wildhorse Ladies Golf Classic and is pegged as an “LPGA rookie to watch” in 2023 by Golfweek, as are Yin and Jang.
The winner of last year’s Wildhorse Ladies Golf Classic, Daniela Iacobelli, did not advance to the LPGA Tour and said she plans to return to Wildhorse in 2023.
“The quality of the play and the capabilities of these professionals is something you won’t see anywhere else in Oregon this side of the Cascades,” George noted.
Once again, tournament organizers will be recruiting volunteers for a variety of roles, arranging housing for players, and seeking sponsors, all to create another successful event for the region.