The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) recently announced that US women’s amateur champion Jensen Castle and 17-year-old Amari Avery, winner of the John Shippen Shootout, have received an exception from the 2021 Cognizant Founders Cup (www.thefounderslpga .com), which takes place October 6-10 at the historic Mountain Ridge Country Club in West Caldwell.
The Cognizant Founders Cup is a week-long event held on one of New Jersey’s most famous golf courses. The world’s top professional golfers compete for $ 3 million in prize money, making it the largest LPGA Tour event outside of the majors and the CME Group Tour Championship.
The tournament, which debuted in 2011, pays tribute to the LPGA’s 13 founding members, including surviving founders Marlene Bauer Hagge and Shirley Spork. This year marks the inaugural year with New Jersey-based Cognizant (Nasdaq: CTSH), one of the world’s leading professional services companies, as the title sponsor. The 132-player field is expected to be filled with the most talented and experienced players on the tour, with Castle and Avery as the two exceptions.
Castle of West Columbia, SC, an aspiring junior on the University of Kentucky Women’s Golf Team, defeated a field of 156 players, defeating Yu-Chiang (Vivian) Hou of Chinese Taipei, 2 and 1, to the match play competition at the 121. Castle was ranked 63rd out of 64 golfers after a 36-hole stroke play went into match play on Wednesday. She had to make a birdie on the last hole of stroke play to get into a playoff for one of the last two places in match play.
Avery, of Riverside, Calif., Received her leave of absence by enrolling in the John Shippen Shootout, which was part of the John Shippen National Invitational, a 36-hole competition held at the historic Detroit (Mich.) Golf Club in July. The event invited the country’s best amateur and professional black golfers to provide a platform for more opportunity and recognition within the sport. The John Shippen Shoot-Out was held immediately after the invitational as a three-hole individual competition among six women, with Avery winning by shooting one under par (birdie par par).
“We are excited to have Jensen Castle and Amari Avery join our elite field of LPGA players competing at the Cognizant Founders Club in 2021 at the prestigious Mountain Ridge Country Club,” said Scott Wood, Tournament Director, Cognizant Founders Cup. “Both Castle and Avery will compete against the best professional golfers in the world and we are delighted that they are participating in this legendary event.”
“We congratulate Amari and Jensen and we are very excited that they will play in the field of the Founders Cup this fall,” said Gaurav Chand, Cognizant’s chief marketing officer. “We are proud to be the title sponsor of the Founders Cup and to have the opportunity to honor the 13 women pioneers who have helped advance the game for future generations of golfers of all genders at all levels. By partnering with the LPGA, Cognizant’s goal is to showcase today’s female players and support the continued development of diversity and inclusion in sport, just as we continue our work to promote diversity and inclusion in the tech industry. “
Wood added, “It is very special to have Jensen Castle exempted from the US Women’s Amateur Championship. The Cognizant Founders Cup will benefit the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program, of which Castle and several other participants in the tournament were or are already members. Amari Avery, who deserved her place at the John Shippen Shootout, an event whose sole aim is to promote integration into the sport of golf, is likewise. The Cognizant Founders Cup is fully dedicated to engaging, empowering, and supporting girls and women through golf, and making the sport more inclusive around the world. We warmly welcome these two dynamic young players. “
The Cognizant Founders Cup joins a long list of prominent events held at the Mountain Ridge Country Club, including the US Senior Amateur Championship in 2012; the Metropolitan Golf Association Open Championship 1985, 1996, 2000 and 2020; the MGA Ike Stroke Play Championship in 2007; the New Jersey PGA Section Championship in 1962, 1990, 2007, 2009 and 2017; and the French American Challenge in 1997. Designed and highly regarded by Ross, the course opened in 1931 and has changed little in 90 years. It is known for wide fairways and treacherous greens. A recent restoration has returned many of Ross’ signature run-off areas to their original, densely mowed condition.
“There is no better place than Mountain Ridge Country Club to continue the great tradition of the LPGA Cognizant Founders Cup,” said Wood. “We are very excited to bring this event to northern New Jersey and the home of our dedicated title sponsor, Cognizant, over the fine fall days of October as we honor our founders and pioneers of the LPGA. The Garden State has long been a supporter of women’s golf and we believe fans will greet this event in a big way. ”
Single tickets and week-long ticket packages for the Cognizant Founders Cup can be purchased at thefounderslpga.com.