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State Farm ending ties with Springfield LPGA event

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BLOOMINGTON -- The 2011 LPGA State Farm Classic at Panther Creek Country Club in Springfield will be the last with the Bloomington-based insurer as the title sponsor.

State Farm Insurance Cos. announced Friday that it will not be renewing its sponsorship with the LPGA tourney that has been held in Springfield for 36 years. This year's event is set for June 9-13.

"It was a difficult decision," said Mark Gibson, State Farm's assistant vice president-marketing. "Over the years our company and its employees have developed an emotional attachment to the tournament and the many wonderful people who make it such a special event."

State Farm took over as title sponsor in 1993 when the tournament was held at The Rail Golf Club in Springfield. The tourney moved to Panther Creek in 2007.

"The local host committee has been tremendous to work with, but we continuously evaluate our sponsorships and have made a strategic business decision not to renew," said Gibson.

State Farm also announced that to continue support of the designated charities tied to the event in 2012 it will match the charitable funding generated from this year's event.

In 2010, the Classic gave more than $288,000 to 17 Central Illinois charities. There were more than 55 applications for assistance this year.

LPGA State Farm Classic executive director Kate Peters issued a statement Friday thanking State Farm for its support and "very much looking forward to working together to stage a great tournament in June."

"Our attention now shifts to securing a new title sponsor for 2012 and beyond," said Peters. "This tournament has been part of the Springfield and Central Illinois communities for more than 30 years, and it has a measurable impact on the local economy and area charities serving families in need. We will find a way to continue that level of support in Springfield and Central Illinois."


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