The Zurich Classic of New Orleans will return to Baton Rouge for the fifth consecutive year with a new title sponsor for a pro-am event to be played at University Club next month.

Zurich Classic officials announced Thursday that L’Auberge Baton Rouge has signed on as the sponsor for the fifth annual event that will bring about 18 PGA Tour players to the city for a scramble golf outing with amateurs.

The event, which will be held Wednesday, April 24, will be played in conjunction with another pro-am at TPC Louisiana in Avondale — one day before the $6.6 million PGA Tour event begins.

The Zurich Classic Pro-Am of Baton Rouge, which costs $1,500 per person or $5,000 for a four-person team, benefits children’s charities in the Capital City area.

Fore!Kids Foundation CEO Steve Worthy, whose group produces the Zurich Classic of New Orleans each spring, and Mickey Parenton, VP and general manager of L’Auberge Baton Rouge, announced the partnership at a news conference that also included Mayor Kip Holden.

After four years here, Worthy said the Fore!Kids Foundation wanted to grow the event in the Baton Rouge area and joined with L’Auberge to make it even more attractive for the PGA Tour players and amateurs.

“We wanted to expand our presence in this market because a lot of people come down and support our tournament every year,” Worthy said, “so this is our way of giving back to the community.

“The partnership with L’Auberge Baton Rouge gives us the ability to step up the quality of our Baton Rouge Pro-Am to a level that we have long aspired to achieve.”

“We are committed to community involvement, and this partnership allows us to bring a legendary event to our back yard while supporting the extraordinary work of the Fore!Kids Foundation,” Parenton said.

“This is an easy one for us because we want to be a regional destination,” he said. “It’s a natural fit because of the excitement and one-on-one experience that playing with a PGA Tour player gives local golfers.”

New for this year is a pairings party to be held Tuesday night. The Tour players will also be housed overnight at L’Auberge for the pro-am scramble that will begin at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

Worthy said the early start will allow the pros to have a relaxing round of golf and still be back at the tournament site in mid-afternoon Wednesday to have their final practice sessions for the event.

In addition to the pairings party, each amateur golfer will receive:

  • Eight single day tickets to the Zurich Classic (grounds only);
  • Two weekly badges to the Zurich Classic (grounds only);
  • One Sponsor Lot parking pass to the Zurich Classic (valid all week);
  • One Tee Gift Package (Callaway gift card);
  • An awards party with the PGA Tour pros at University Club.

Dufner to defend

Worthy also announced Thursday that 2012 Zurich Classic champion Jason Dufner will be back to defend his title and will be joined in the field by 2011 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Keegan Bradley.

Dufner and Bradley hooked up in a three-hole playoff at the 2011 PGA Championship, which was won by Bradley. before Dufner broke through for his first PGA Tour win by defeating Ernie Els in a two-hole playoff last April.

Worthy said other new additions to the Zurich Classic field are former majors winners Retief Goosen, Mike Weir and Justin Leonard.