IOA Golf Classic in Florida increases purse to $150,000 and adds intrigue to final push
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA, September 13, 2017 - The Symetra Tour, the official qualifying Tour for the LPGA, announced on Wednesday that the IOA Golf Classic has added $50,000 to its purse this year and has signed on through the 2019 season. The IOA Golf Classic is the penultimate event on the Symetra Tour schedule.
The IOA Golf Classic will be contested September 29 through October 1 at Alaqua Country Club in Longwood, Florida and will now carry a tournament purse of $150,000 and a winner’s payout of $22,500. The Symetra Tour Championship follows in Daytona Beach and has a purse of $200,000 and a winner’s check of $30,000. The top 10 on the Volvik Race for the Card money list after the Tour Championship will earn LPGA membership for the 2018 season.
“This really thickens the plot for our last two events in Florida because now there is $350,000 on the line between the IOA Golf Classic and the Symetra Tour Championship so anything can happen,” said Mike Nichols, Chief Business Officer of the Symetra Tour. “IOA is a major supporter of the Symetra Tour with two events and this move by John Ritenour and his team shows their long-term commitment with more exciting news to come.”
John and his wife, Valli, received the 2016 Eloise Trainor Award, which is given annually to an individual or company that makes a major contribution to women’s golf. Hurricane Matthew came through the Orlando area during the IOA Golf Classic in 2016 and the tournament was cancelled. The following week, the Symetra Tour Championship was in doubt because of the condition of Daytona Beach so IOA and the Ritenour’s stepped up to allow the Tour to play Alaqua Country Club as the season finale.
The IOA Golf Classic started in 2013 and moved to Alaqua Country Club in 2014. Kendall Dye won the first year in Longwood while Jackie Stoelting won in 2015.
“The IOA Golf Classic is an important event for our company and the greater Orlando community because it allows us to showcase the future of the LPGA while also giving back to charity,” said John Ritenour, Chairman of Insurance Office of America. “We wanted to increase our investment to help the players continue to chase their dreams and are excited to have a long-term deal in place to grow alongside the tour.”
The 2017 season marks the third consecutive year that the Symetra Tour has played for a minimum of $3 million in total purses.
The IOA Golf Classic will now be part of the Symetra Tour schedule through at least the 2019 season, which would mark a seven year relationship.
The Symetra Tour is in El Dorado, Arkansas this week for the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout at Mystic Creek Golf Course. There are currently four tournaments left in the season.