The Pennsylvania Women’s Open, a professional women’s golf tournament, will be held for the first time in 22 years May 24-27 at Valley Country Club in Sugarloaf, Pa. Computer Aid, an IT services company, is the tournament’s title sponsor.
Geisinger’s Autism and Developmental Medicine Institute (ADMI) has been designated the beneficiary of the event.
Competitive rounds will be held Friday and Saturday, May 26 and 27. Popular Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour players Michelle McGann, who has won seven LPGA tournaments; and Laura Diaz, who has two LPGA wins, are headliners in the field. Several players from the Symetra Tour — the official developmental tour of the LPGA – have also committed to play. They include Madison Pressel, the younger sister or LPGA star Morgan Pressel, and Susana Benavides, a Bolivian player and Instagram phenomenon.
An 18-hole open qualifier and women’s clinic, featuring four-time long drive champion Sandra Carlborg, will kick events off on Wednesday, May 24. A junior clinic and pro-am will also take place Thursday, May 25.
Kate Scarpetta, a Symetra Tour pro from nearby Crystal Lake, has led the effort to restore the tournament. She’ll play in it and serve as tournament director.
It returns with a $100,000 purse, including $20,000 for the winner – more than double the $40,000 for the men’s state Open.
“We are the first women’s state open to reach six figures,” Scarpetta said. “To have Pennsylvania be the first state where equal pay is achieved in golf is tremendous.”
Scarpetta brought the idea of restoring the tournament to Tony Salvaggio, chairman and founder of Computer Aid, who bought the Valley Country Club in 2016. He agreed to bring the tournament there with Computer Aid as the name sponsor.
Laura Tyler, a professional golfer from Northumberland, Pa., won that tournament the last time it was played in 1995 while she was five months pregnant with her son, C.J. Tyler will attempt to defend her title 22 years later with C.J. as her caddy.
“It was exciting when I won while I was pregnant with C.J.,” Tyler said. “He’s now a very good player and plays collegiately at St. Leo University. C.J. and I are very close. I’m his keeper and his coach and I’ve caddied for him in many tournaments. It’s going to be pretty awesome because this is the first time he’s caddied for me.”
Scarpetta said ADMI was chosen as the foundation they wanted to support because of how difficult it is for rural residents with autism in the state to receive care. ADMI’s goal is to establish a network of regional centers of excellence that will make care for children with special developmental needs as accessible, efficient and effective as possible.
The autism cause aligns well with Computer Aid, Inc., which has an initiative called Autism2Work. Autism2Work provides workforce training and employment opportunities for adults who have been diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. The tournament’s logo incorporates a puzzlepiece, the primary symbol for autism.
In addition to Computer Aid, other key sponsors include Geisinger Health Plan, Penn Waste, Highmark and Susquehanna International Group.
The tournament is in need of volunteers. Anyone interested can register at www.pawomensopen.org.