The LPGA Tour typically leaves Florida after playing the Mercury Titleholders Championship at its home, LPGA International.
But the tour will come back for one more official event later this year: the Samsung World Championship of Women's Golf.
The 16-player event, which was played in Naples in 1993-94 and has moved around the world since its inception in 1980, will be played at Lady Lake's Tierra Del Sol golf course, located north of Leesburg. The tournament will be Oct. 22-25, and an official announcement will be made tonight. The past three tournaments were played in South Korea.
LPGA commissioner Jim Ritts said there is no commitment to have the event at the new venue beyond 1998. It will offer a purse of $550,000 with $137,000 going to the winner.
The tournament features winners of the four major championships as well as last year's Vare Trophy winner (Karrie Webb) for low scoring average, the defending champion (Juli Inkster), this year's leading money winner, and players from Japan and Europe.
"It's called the World Championship but not all the best players played when it was in Korea," said Annika Sorenstam, who won the tournament in 1995 and 1996. "Now to have it on American soil, to get it on television over here, I think the tournament will be much better. The tournament will be able to grow. I know for a fact that everybody is going to show up."
There is one potential problem. The event's dates are the same as the PGA Tour's Walt Disney World Classic, which will be played about an hour away.
BAD OUTING: Tampa's Dawn Coe-Jones fell off the leaderboard during the third round, shooting 2-over-par 74 to drop from the top spot to a tie for 10th.
"If I was a pitcher, I'd say I didn't have very good stuff," Coe-Jones said. "I never got confident on the greens. It was hard to get the ball close to the hole."
_ BOB HARIG