BELMONT, Mich., June 7, 2022 – For the eighth consecutive year, the Meijer LPGA Classic forSimply Give is inviting collegiate and underrepresented athletes to play alongside the LPGA Tour professionals representing Meijer in the tournament on June 16-19 at Blythefield Country Club in Belmont, Michigan.
Valery Plata, a graduating senior at Michigan State University, will return for a second year as a sponsor exemption to the Meijer LPGA Classic. In 2021, Plata finished T70 as a sponsor exemption at the 2021 Meijer LPGA Classic, her LPGA Tour debut. The Meijer LPGA Classic will be the kickoff for Plata’s competitive summer, as she also is entered into the AIG Women’s Open and the Evian Championship as a result of winning Women’s Amateur Latin American (WALA) Championship in November. She followed up her victory in November by becoming the first -ever women’s winner of the Patriot All-American Invitational in Arizona in December. She also competed at the 2022 Augusta National Women’s Amateur at historic Augusta National Golf Club. Plata, currently 58th in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Rankings, is a three-time All-Big-Ten First Team selection (2020-22) and was the 2020 Big Ten Player of the Year.
Natasha Andrea Oon, a graduating senior from San José State University, will compete in the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give as a result of winning the 2022 Inkster Award Presented by Workday, recognizing the highest ranked women’s Division I (DI) collegiate golfer in her final year of eligibility for the 2021-22 college golf season. The award is named after Juli Inkster, a World Golf Hall-of-Fame member and LPGA legend, who was a three-time All-American San Jose State (1979-82). Oon finished the season as the 3rd-ranked DI women’s college golfer according to Golfstat and the 4th-ranked in the Golfweek-Sagarin rankings, the highest ranked senior in both polls. As a result of winning the award, Oon receives exemptions to compete in the 2022 Meijer LPGA Classic and the AmazingCre Portland Classic in Portland, Ore. She also will automatically advance to the second stage of LPGA Q-School, Oct. 18-21, and will join Inkster on a two-day mentorship retreat in Northern California. Workday also is providing $50,000 to the Juli Inkster Foundation to help support Oon’s transition to her professional golf career.
Sadena Parks, a two-time EPSON Tour winner, who competed full-time on the LPGA Tour in 2015, captured the women’s division of THE JOHN SHIPPEN National Golf Invitational presented by Rocket Mortgage on Thursday at Blythefield Country Club. Parks turned in a 3-under par 69 on Thursday to finish the two-day event at 2-under par, winning by two strokes. As a result of her victory, Parks earned exemptions into the Meijer LPGA Classic, as well as an exemption into the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational (July 13-16) in Midland, Mich. She selected Anita Uwadia, who finished fourth in the event, as her teammate for the Dow GLBI, which is a two-player team event. The JOHN SHIPPEN, designed to showcase Black amateur and professional golfers, is named after John Shippen, Jr., who was the first American-born golf professional and also the country’s first Black golf professional.
“We are excited to welcome Valery, Natasha and Sadena as part of our world-class international field at the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give and we look forward to celebrating their outstanding achievements during tournament week,” said Cathy Cooper, executive director of the Meijer LPGA Classic.
The 2022 Meijer LPGA Classic will host a full field of 144 of the best women golfers for 72 holes of stroke play over four days of competition. Proceeds from the tournament – and each of the week’s festivities – will once again benefit the Meijer Simply Give program that restocks the shelves of food pantries across the Midwest. The 2021 tournament raised $1.1 million for local food pantries throughSimply Give. In total, the seven tournaments have generated more than $7.4 million for the MeijerSimply Give program. Additionally, in 2021, tournament officials introduced a separate $25,000 donation to a hunger relief organization of the champion’s choice, which will continue again this year. Champion Nelly Korda chose Grand Rapids-based Kids’ Food Basket for the inaugural donation.
For more information on the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give, and to purchase tickets, please visit meijerLPGAclassic.com. Follow the action and stay up-to-date on the latest tournament news using #ForeHunger and #MeijerCommunity.
Meijer is a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer that operates 258 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. A privately-owned and family-operated company since 1934, Meijer has a fundamental philosophy aimed at strengthening the communities it serves and proudly donates more than 6 percent of its net profit each year to charities throughout the Midwest. With hunger as a corporate philanthropic focus, Meijer partners with hundreds of food banks and pantries through its Simply Give and food rescue programs. Meijer also supports education, disaster relief, and health and wellness initiatives. For additional information on Meijer philanthropy, please visit www.meijercommunity.com. Follow Meijer on Twitter @twitter.com/Meijerand @twitter.com/MeijerPR or become a fan at www.facebook.com/meijer.
ABOUT BLYTHEFIELD COUNTRY CLUB:
Located just north of Grand Rapids, Blythefield has been providing families the best golf and social experience in West Michigan since 1928. With the Rogue River flowing through, Blythefield boasts one of the most beautiful championship layouts in Michigan. Previously, Blythefield has hosted the 1953 Western Amateur, the 1961 Western Open, won by Arnold Palmer, and the 2005 Western Junior won by Rickie Fowler. Beginning in 2014, Blythefield is honored to host the Meijer LPGA Classic. Learn more about Blythefield Country Club at www.blythefieldcc.org.
Meijer LPGA Classic Public Relations