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European LPGA Gets Prize Boost

Britain's Laura Davies has played her part in helping the European LPGA Tour achieve a 40% increase in prize money this season. Davies, Britain's former world No. 1, will host her own Classic tournament worth £300,000 at Brocket Hall near Welwyn Garden on August 27-30.

It is one of 15 events -- four more than last year -- on a schedule that totals a record £3.264 million. Last year it was 2.4 million

While it is still dwarfed by the £36 million on offer to the men in Europe and also by the $36.2 million American LPGA, new chief executive Tim Howland said: "It's pretty good in three months and the tour is definitely back on track.

"We will us this year to sell the tour for next year: to kick on for 2000. When I came in it was virtually like starting from scratch."

Davies is delighted that her project has reached fruition. "It's something I've thought about for a while, especially since Betsy King set up her own event on the LPGA Tour. Also, nothing else seemed to be happening so I thought I should give it a try."

1999 European LPGA schedule
The first event will be the Evian Masters in France on June 9-12. The event will boast the biggest prize fund in European women's golf history of £689,000. The next richest event is the £575,000 Weetabix Women's British Open on August 12-15. New events will be staged in England, France and Italy.

The year will again end with the match in Portugal against the European Seniors Tour. Last November it ended in a 10-10 draw.

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