It was a good run at Pumpkin Ridge, but Portland LPGA event makes move to Columbia Edgewater

Updated: May 2, 2013

Who says you can’t go home again? Don’t tell that to Tournament Golf Foundation, which runs the Portland LPGA event. After a four-year run at Pumpkin Ridge, the Safeway Classic is heading back to Columbia Edgewater in August, the place where it virtually all began way back in 1976.

OK, so the LPGA Tour did get its start at Portland Golf Club in 1972, but after four years the event moved to Columbia Edgewater and stayed there for 33 years. In 2009, the event moved again, this time to Pumpkin Ridge’s Ghost Creek course, as sponsor Safeway wanted more room for its vendors and to expand the Pro-Am part of the tournament.

But last January, everything changed. Safeway wanted to remain involved in the tournament but scaled back its involvement in the Pro-Am. It seemed like the right time to make the move back to Columbia Edgewater, said tournament director Tom Maletis.

“We had a great run at Pumpkin Ridge – they were a great host but we had the chance to go back to Columbia Edgewater,” said Maletis. “It was originally supposed to be a three-year deal at Pumpkin Ridge, but it worked out so well we stayed there for another year.”

In January, Safeway said it wanted to scale back its involvement. The tournament will still be called the Safeway Classic, but with less space needed for vendors and the Pro-Am being just one day, the move was made back to Columbia Edgewater.

But the biggest change for the tournament is the fact the event is now four rounds, instead of three. In the past, the Pro-Am was two days and the tournament three days. It was only one of three events on the LPGA Tour that was a three-day event. Now, the Portland LPGA tournament falls in line with most of the other events on the schedule as it will be a four-day event.

“This is an exciting change – it will be the first time we are a 72-hole event,” said Maletis. “It helps the tournament fall in line with most of the others on the LPGA Tour.”

The Safeway Classic is tied with the Kraft Nabisco as the longest running tournament on the LPGA Tour. The players enjoyed the move to Pumpkin Ridge, said Maletis, but they have always liked playing Columbia Edgewater. In fact, the last four years the event had been played at Columbia Edgewater from 2005-2008 the course had been voted as the players’ favorite place on tour.
Despite the fact that there were still major decisions to be made as late as January, Maletis said there was never any worry among the Tournament Golf Foundation group. They were confident that they would have an event in the Portland area in 2013.

“There were some big decisions to be made, but we will always have the LPGA in Portland,” he said. “The LPGA belongs in Portland. The players love it here and the fans love it, too.”