Casino events

Epson Tour returns to Beaumont for the IOA Championship presented by Morongo Casino Resort & Spa

The 120-player field for the 10th Annual IOA Championship presented by Morongo Casino Resort & Spa from March 25-27 has been finalized by the Epson Tour, as the “Road to the LPGA” returns to Morongo Golf Club in Tukwet Canyon.

The individuals will compete in a 54-hole stroke play format for $200,000. A cut will be made to the top 60 competitors plus ties after 36 holes. Entrance to the tournament is free.

Defending IOA Championship champion Sophie Hausmann shines a light on the peloton. The 24-year-old German, who is in her third season on the Epson circuit, played on weekends 12 times in 20 starts last year. Hausmann was the overnight leader heading into the 2021 IOA Championship Finals and she battled against the winds to claim her first Epson Tour title.

“I’ve been looking forward to this tournament for a while,” Hausmann said. “Defending a title is something special in our sport. Morongo Golf Club is a tough test of golf and endurance with the rolling hills of Tukwet Canyon. I can’t wait to compete this week in an event that has such special meaning for my career.

A total of 10 players call Golden State home, including former UCLA student Beth Wu of Diamond Bar. She is among three former Bruins, joined by Brianna Do and Louise Ridderstrom, while five former USC Trojans are also among the contenders.

“The more I travel, the more I enjoy coming back home, or to my home country in general,” Wu said. “I have so many ties to California with my family, having gone to college in UCLA, and the experiences are many. I’m lucky. To have the chance to participate in a Tour that brings me back to a part of the country that has helped me get to this point in my career.

Two tournament sponsor exemptions complete the picture for Jessica Welch and Brittany Fan. Welch is set to make his third season debut on the Epson Tour, while Fan will compete in his first IOA Championship after an upset from IOA.

“I am so grateful that the IOA considered me for a sponsor exemption in this championship,” Fan said. “I feel so ready to compete in an Epson Tour event and show all the hard work I put into my game through the Women’s All Pro Tour (WAPT). I’m so grateful to be at Beaumont.