Defending Champ and Runner-Up in Field
Jackie Stoelting has won four times on the Symetra Tour, but the 2016 Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout will be the first time she defends a title.
“I had the best housing with Barbara and Jesse McWilliams right on the golf course, they were absolutely fabulous,” said Stoelting. “The community is so supportive of the tournament and that is what is great about the Symetra Tour when we go to these small towns. I felt really special after winning and even though I had no family there, I felt like I had a family through the community.”
Stoelting opened last year with a 1-over, 73 at Mystic Creek and then closed with back-to-back rounds of 70 to win at 3-under.
“It would mean everything to me to be able to win again,” said Stoelting. “I’m going to bring my husband this year to caddy and I love the golf course. Hopefully I’ll be in the same position and contending on the weekend."
Ally McDonald, who was a sponsor exemption last year, finished second and will return this year as a near lock to earn an LPGA card.
“Mystic Creek was quite the challenge, I went into it anticipating an even-par would be a really good score,” said McDonald. “The course is phenomenal and the greens require a lot of precision.”
McDonald has six top 10 finishes this year and is still hunting her first win.
“I’m really excited to be back in El Dorado, I recall last year being really surprised how well the community supported the event and ran a great tournament,” said McDonald. “Everyone on Tour was raving about the tournament and the hospitality tent and how special the week was.”
Two Olympians in the Field
There are two 2016 Olympians that are in the field – Stephanie Meadow (Ireland) and Alejandra Llaneza (Mexico). Both qualified for the Rio Olympics and will play in El Dorado. Meadow finished T31 in Rio while Llaneza finished T44.
Meadow has split time this year between the LPGA and Symetra Tour. She has played in seven Symetra Tour tournaments and nine LPGA events. Meadow finished in the top 20 in the last two Symetra Tour events.
Llaneza graduated from the Symetra Tour to the LPGA in 2015 by finishing seventh on the Volvik Race for the Card money list. Her best finish on the LPGA Tour this year is a tie for 32nd at the Kingsmill Championship presented by JTBC.
LSU / Arkansas Represented with Top Players
The top ranked player on the Symetra Tour lives in Baton Rouge and went to LSU. Madelene Sagstrom goes for her third win and 11th top ten at the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout. She leads the Tour with $141,184 earned. Sagstrom was the 2015 SEC Player of the Year and had eight top 10 finishes as a senior. Other LSU Tigers in the field include Lindsay Gahm, Megan Mchrystal and Tessa Teachman.
Former Arkansas Razorbacks golfer Emily Tubert is in the Murpyh USA El Dorado Shootout for a second year. Tubert ranks 31st on the Volvik Race for the Card money list. Tubert has two top 10 finishes this season. She finished T37 at the Shootout last year.
Tubert was a three-time All-American at Arkansas and won the 2010 Women’s Amateur Public Links championship.
Meet the Sponsor Invites – Lauren Kim and Minami Levonowich
Lauren Kim recently turned professional after a stellar four-year career at Stanford where she was a WGCA First-Team All-American three times. Kim was an integral part of Stanford’s national title run in 2015.
She was also selected as the 2016 Pac-12 Women's Golf Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Kim is currently going through the LPGA Qualifying Tournament process. She finished T9 at Stage I to advance to Stage II.
Minami Levonowich played college golf at Kansas where she finished her career in 2014-15. She won once as a senior and had five career top 10 finishes.
Entire Top 10 on the Money List in the Field
The field is very strong in El Dorado as the entire top 10 on the Volvik Race for the Card money list is scheduled to compete. In fact, the top 17 on the money list are all playing.
With a $15,000 first-place check, anyone in the top 15 could potentially jump into the top 10.
There are also 23 LPGA Tour members in the field.