GREENWOOD, S.C. – The Symetra Tour, the Road to the LPGA, will tee off at the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic at The Links at Stoney Point on Thursday, May 8.
On Thursday and Friday, groups will tee off from both the first tee and the tenth tee. The first tee time for the morning wave is 7:30 a.m. while the first tee time for the afternoon wave is 12:10 p.m.
There will be a cut made after 36 holes following the round on Friday. The top 70 scores plus ties will play over the weekend.
STRONG FIELD THIS WEEK: 17 of the top 20 on the Volvik Race for the Card money list are playing this week at the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic.
The top five are all playing and nine of the top-10 on the money list are in the field.
The only players in the top-20 not in the field are Megan McChrystal (No. 6), Stephanie Na (No. 13) and Emily Talley (No. 15).
LEGENDS PLAY IN PRO-AM WITH SYMETRA PLAYERS: The 15 legends in attendance this week played in a Legends Pro-Am with Symetra Tour professionals and local amateurs.
Symetra Tour player Sara Brown and LPGA Tour legend Kris Tschetter’s team took home the victory.
Following the pro-am, Symetra Tour players, LPGA Tour legends, sponsors of the event and members of the golf course gathered for the Meet the Pros & Legends party around the clubhouse.
The party also included food, live music and more.
MEG MALLON ON GROWTH OF SYMETRA TOUR: LPGA Tour legend and 2013 Solheim Cup captain Meg Mallon is at the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic as one of the 15 legends on site.
She talked about the growth of the Symetra Tour and the importance of the Tour.
“It’s been a terrific experience to see where the Symetra Tour has come since I played on Tour,” said Mallon. I was fortunate to play for a year and a half and it was a great training ground for me to get on the LPGA Tour. Now it seems so much more polished than it was when I played so it’s wonderful to see where the game has come for the women and I’m happy to see they have the Symetra Tour to be able to hone their game for the LPGA.”
She also talked about how the Symetra Tour helps players prepare for the next level.
“The Symetra Tour helps you learn how to manage your money, manage your time and manage yourself on a golf course. It’s a terrific place to really learn how to travel and how to play on the LPGA.”
REBOUND WEEK FOR STEEN: Volvik Race for the Card money list number two Marissa Steen had a tough last event in Fort Myers, Fla. at the Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial. She missed the cut for the first time this season.
However, Steen has had an outstanding year on the Symetra Tour. She finished second at the Visit Mesa Gateway Classic at Longbow Golf Club and won the Guardian Retirement Championship at Sara Bay.
Prior to missing the cut, she had not finished worse than T14 at any event this year.
Steen is a strong candidate to get her LPGA Tour card this season. She finished just outside the top-10 last year at number 16 on the Volvik Race for the Card money list.
PURSE BREAKDOWN SHOWS IMPORTANCE: If you didn’t already know how critical this event is in relation to the Volvik Race for the Card money list then consider a few things.
- Biggest winner’s payout in Symetra Tour history at $30,000
- Second place this week will win $18,784, more than the winner at 17 of the 19 other events
- Four players will take home over $10,000 – last week only one did
- The winner this week will make more than players that finished outside the top-10 at the North Texas LPGA Shootout (last LPGA Tour event)
BIRDIES WIN GOLF EVENTS: The top two players on the Volvik Race for the Card money list, Cindy Feng and Marissa Steen, also lead the Symetra Tour in total birdies with 58 and 55 respectively.
Calle Nielson, who is 17th on the money list, also has 55 birdies this season.
ONLY SOUTH CAROLINA REPRESENTATIVE: Reilley Rankin is the only player in the field this week that hails from the state of South Carolina. She is from Hilton Head, South Carolina, which is over 200 miles southeast of Greenwood.
In her only Symetra Tour event this year, Rankin finished fourth at the IOA Golf Classic.
The 35-year-old has enjoyed a strong LPGA Tour career that includes 14 top-10 finishes and over $1 million in earnings.
Rankin has three career top 10-finishes in LPGA Tour majors including a 4th place result in the 2007 Women’s British Open.
LAST SYMETRA EVENT FOR KIM KAUFMAN: The Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic will be Kim Kaufman’s last Symetra Tour event.
After finishing T4 at the North Texas LPGA Shootout, she shot up to 54th on the LPGA Tour money list and is 93rd on the priority list after the reshuffle. She will play on the LPGA Tour the rest of the 2014 season.
“It was amazing, I’m not sure I’ve really digested it yet, but it changed my career and changed my summer,” said the 22-year-old. “This will be my last Symetra event, which I’m still excited about, but I’m ready to move on to the next step.”
Kaufman will tee off in the 8:30 a.m. group from the tenth tee on Thursday in her last Symetra Tour event.
“It’s a new event and it has become the biggest on the schedule and I just thought that I want to come and see what it is all about,” said Kaufman. “I had planned to play here and there is no reason for me not to do it, the LPGA is off and I’m excited to be here.”
PAIRING TO WATCH: Keep a close eye on the 8:40 a.m. pairing off the tenth tee over the next two days. The group is highlighted by Vovik Race for the Card money list leader Cindy Feng, who has finished in the top-5 in each of the last five events.
Feng will be joined by Hannah Yun, who finished second earlier in the year at the IOA Golf Classic, and Marita Engzelius who had her best result of the year at the Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial, when she placed T13.
VAN-NIEKERK WAS STANDARD BEARER FOR LEGENDS: Riki Van-Niekerk, who is one of the sponsor exemptions in the field this week, was the standard bearer for Meg Mallon and Beth Daniel, two of the legends on site this week, at the 2005 U.S. Women’s World Cup at Fancourt Golf Course in George, South Africa.
She got a chance to meet them both yesterday at The Links at Stoney Point.
MEMBER OF PRESIDENT’S COUNCIL HERE: The Executive Director of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition is in attendance from Washington, D.C. at the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic.
Her board of directors includes legendary NFL quarterback and commentator Chris Collinsworth and former NBA player and politician Tom McMillen.
She works closely with President Obama and the First Lady on different fitness and healthy eating initiatives.