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Area notebook: Rich: New global LPGA event coming to RHF

Published: Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

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Rich Harvest Farms owner Jerry Rich has confirmed to the Chronicle today’s announcement of a biennial international LPGA event that likely will incorporate Asian players and be held at the Sugar Grove golf course in even-numbered years beginning in 2016.

The event, which officially will open at a site to be determined in 2014, will complement the Solheim Cup, which pits teams of American and European players and was held at Rich Harvest Farms in the summer of 2009.

Rich since has spoken of a venture that would highlight the truly global scope of the women’s game. In 2012, seven of the LPGA’s top 10 money winners were from Asian countries.

Rich withheld further details until this afternoon’s announcement at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla., scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Central time. The announcement will be carried live online at www.ustream.tv/lpga, with a recap show set for broadcast at 6 p.m. on The Golf Channel.

Rich, who plans to travel to Orlando today, began laying groundwork for the project as the Solheim Cup – held biennially in odd-numbered years – came to a close nearly four years ago.

North’s Kaplan Columbia-bound: St. Charles North senior Ben Kaplan plans to study economics at Columbia University en route to a hopeful career in finance.

The prospect of swimming in numbers for the next four years doesn’t faze Kaplan, who’s also eager to build on the statistics from his senior football season.

A wide receiver, Kaplan caught 13 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns last fall, which were enough for the Ivy League Lions to show interest. Now that he’s officially part of the program – his college application was accepted last month – Kaplan is ready to boost his football portfolio, too.

“My coaches at North have done a great job of working with me and developing me as a receiver, but I feel like there’s a lot of room to grow, which is exciting,” Kaplan said. “Right now, I’m just really working on putting on some mass and getting stronger and faster at the same time so that I’m ready to go once I get to Columbia.”

The 6-foot-4 Kaplan played at 180 pounds last season. His goal is to reach 190 by the time he leaves for campus in the summer.

At the moment, he has enough other matters to keep his mind occupied. Kaplan carries a 5.2 grade-point average on a 5-point scale, he said, and maintains a challenging courseload. He also plays trumpet in North's concert and jazz bands.

Kaplan also considered Penn, as well as a handful of NCAA Division III schools. His father, Larry, was a swimmer at Stanford after growing up in New York City, where Columbia is located. Kaplan said childhood visits to New York initially intrigued him and eventually influenced his college choice.

Lately, he and his father have taken to joking about the 1934 Rose Bowl, in which Columbia defeated Stanford, 7-0.

“I do mess with him,” Kaplan said. “We have some fun with that.”

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