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LPGA LEAVES EL CABALLERO FOR PALOS VERDES.

Byline: Dave Shelburne Staff Writer

El Caballero Country Club in Tarzana has joined area courses Calabasas, Wood Ranch of Simi Valley, Oakmont of Glendale and Brookside of Pasadena as former sites of LPGA Tour events.

The Office Depot Championship, which has been held at El Caballero the past three years, moves to Trump National Golf Course in Rancho Palos Verdes next year, LPGA commissioner Ty Votaw announced Thursday.

It was among several changes unveiled with the release of the 2005 LPGA schedule, which features a longer season, one fewer tournament and an increased season purse.

``We're very excited to have that event be played at a second Trump golf course on our schedule,'' Votaw said at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach. Fla., where the season-ending ADT Championship began Thursday.

The LPGA has played at 10 courses in 22 L.A. stops the past 35 years, including Calabasas in 1976, when the winner was former Granada Hills High star and future LPGA Hall of Famer Donna Caponi.

The Office Depot Championship was played in Florida in 2000, moved to Wilshire Country Club in Los Angeles in 2001 and was played at El Caballero on a three-year contract that was not renewed after this year's event produced Annika Sorenstam's 50th tour victory. Next year's tournament will be played Sept. 30-Oct. 2.

Sorenstam, a seven-time LPGA Player of the Year, made the Office Depot a special event at El Caballero, winning twice and losing the other year by a stroke. She overcame a 10-shot deficit in the final round to win the tournament in its only year at Wilshire.

Neither Sorenstam nor 2002 Office Depot winner Se Ri Pak finished with a tournament total lower than 9-under par at El Caballero, which drew consistent praise from the players each year.

``It kind of gave credibility to the course that it took a top player to win here,'' El Caballero head professional Mark Taylor said. ``It's a little sad to see it go, but they didn't renew the contract. We enjoyed it while it lasted.''

LPGA events have never lasted long in the Los Angeles area, where none of the 10 courses that have played host to events have done so more than three consecutive years. Three of the courses - Oakmont (five), Rancho Park (four) and Los Coyotes (four) - have held more events in separate runs, including a snow-spattered event at Oakmont in the mid-1980s.

Dave Shelburne, (818) 713-3609

dave.shelburne(at)dailynews.com
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 19, 2004
Words:413
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