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BELMONT, Mich. (WZZM) -- Some of the best female golfers in the world are now in West Michigan, getting ready for the first Meijer LPGA Classic.

The LPGA tour hasn't come to West Michigan since the year 2000, and with $1.5 million in prize money up for grabs, some of the biggest names in woman's golf have been enticed to play.

Tournament play starts Thursday. Monday, players practiced.

"I mean, this is an event for everyone -- and if you love golf, it is obviously great," said tournament director Lesley Baker. "The reason why we are here is because of Meijer. Meijer wanted to use an LPGA tour event and bring 144 of the best female golfers to West Michigan to promote their Simply Give program and to promote how great this community is here."

Area residents are encouraged to buy tickets and come down to join the fun.

"Watching these girls is very impressive for young kids and people of all ages really," Baker said.

Fans can cheer on the best players in the world, including Morgan Pressel. She has a Michigan connection.

"This is the first time in my professional career that I get to play in Michigan. We do play in Toledo, which is certainly close to where I grew up in Gross Pointe. Being out here in the same state is a little different," Pressel said.

Volunteer Lynn Babcock gave her suggestion for the best place to watch, the final hole, "to see the players as they are coming off the course. I look at this as a once in a life time opportunity, even though it is the first year and it will happen again. To be part of the inaugural event...there's so much excitement here."

Additionally, tournament director Lesley Baker said the event is expected to generate a lot of money for the local economy. "It's estimated the LPGA tour brings in about $5 million to $7 million."

Learn more about the event schedule at this link.

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