The Cactus Tour Dealing With A Prickly Situation.

All major tours around the globe may be lock-down mode but there’s is a handful of mini-tour’s still operating despite the global Coronavirus pandemic.

The Cactus Tour is a western USA tour founded in 2005 for women professionals with the charter “to present a competitive environment, as well as an affordable one, for women golf professionals to use in developing or re-developing their game in preparation for competing on the Symetra and LPGA tours.

Elite amateur women players are also invited to play for the experience and exposure to professional play.”

The Tour last year conducted 31 events between the second week of January to the third week of December and with 26 of the 30 tournaments in Arizona and the remaining four in California.

Membership and registration $399 ($412 by PayPal) while al Professional entry fees will be $560 for members, $660 for non-members while an Amateur entry fee is $200 for members, $275 for non-members and Amateur players should have a handicap of 6 or less to play on the tour.

Sweden’s Anna Nordquist winner of last week’s Castus Tour event in Phoenix, Arizona and a member of last year’s victorious 2019 Solheim Cup team at Gleneagles

Prize-purses last year ranged $28,515 and a first prize of $4,000 to the smallest purse of $2,700 and with first prize $1,800.

The Cactus Tour has staged nine events this year and the most latest being Friday’s concluding 54-holer at the Moon Valley club in suburban Phoenix, Arizona and with two-time Major-winning¬†Anna Nordqvist of Sweden

Nordquist, who has shot a last day 66, won with a birdie on the second extra play-off hole in beating fellow Swede Lise Pattersson who won a week earlier.

Though there was no post-tournament hugs and no shaking of hands except for touching elbows which was the norm for the past few weeks on the PGA Tour.

And Nordquist, who won the 2009 LPGA Championship and the 2017 Evian Championship and a member of last year’s victorious European Solheim Cup side, and also more recently finished T25th in the LET’s sanctioned Australian Women’s Open, was asked her thoughts at the Cactus Tour going ahead when even club competition at a local club level was being cancelled.

“I’m sure there’s a lot of people questioning why we’re playing, but everyone is playing golf anyway,” Nordqvist said to AP.

“Everyone got their own cart or they’re walking. You keep your distance and the golf course is a great place to be right now.”

All carts were sanitized before each of the three rounds, and the players who didn’t walk were limited to one per cart. The players were asked to space out on the course to follow social distancing guidelines, and the postround hugs often found in women’s golf were replaced by waves — and one last high-elbow.

Even the group photo at the end had social distancing; Cactus Tour director Mike Brown had the players stand arm’s length apart before taking the picture.

“We followed all the guidelines,” Brown said also in speaking with AP. “It’s safer for them for a chance of getting something doing what I did because they’re all individuals, not cramming into a golf cart right next to someone. But we’re obviously keeping an eye on how things go.”

The Cactus Tour has been an early stepping-stone for LPGA players since its inception in 2005, holding women’s tournaments across the Southwest, primarily in Arizona. The tour added the tournament at Moon Valley to its schedule this week and two others after players started calling Brown.

The tour has events scheduled through a tournament Aug. 3-5 in Beaumont, California.

“The girls wanted to play. I didn’t call any one of them,” Brown said. “They want to play, and they’re already playing anyway. I’ve gotten some bad press, but with all the things that are going on, they’re already playing.”

The LPGA Tour’s U.S. schedule typically kicks into full gear in the spring, but now players are scrambling to find places to play.

The men have an equivalent to the Cactus Tour and it’s the ¬†Outlaw Tour, also with events across the Phoenix area.

They also conducted a three-day tournament last week at Western Skies Golf Course in Gilbert and with. Jared du Toit, a PGA Tour Latinoamerica player, shooting a final-round 59 on Thursday but lost in a playoff to fellow Canadian Wil Bateman.



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