EL DORADO, Arkansas, September 11, 2017 - The Symetra Tour, the official qualifying Tour for the LPGA, returns to Mystic Creek Golf Course for the third annual Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout from September 15-17. This is the 19th tournament of the season and there are just four remaining in the chase for ten LPGA Tour cards.
First-round play begins on Friday, September 15 and the 54-hole event wraps on Sunday, September 17. There will be a cut made to the low 60 and ties following second-round play on Saturday.
Play will begin at 7:15 a.m. on Friday and Saturday while the final-round will start at 7:30 a.m. All three rounds will be split-tee starts so the awards ceremony on Sunday will take place at approximately 2:30 p.m.
The field of 132 players from the United States and 27 countries around the globe will compete for a $100,000 total purse and a winner’s payout of $15,000.
This is the third week in a stretch of six straight weeks to conclude the season. The top 10 on the final Volvik Race for the Card money list after the Symetra Tour Championship (October 5-8) will earn LPGA membership for the 2018 season.
The race for a Tour card is about as tight as it can be with four tournaments left. No. 10 Daniela Darquea (Quito, Ecuador) has only a $64 cushion on No. 11 Katelyn Dambaugh (North Charleston, S.C.). No. 12 Sophia Popov (Heidelberg, Germany) is only $291 outside of the top 10. The top seven on the money list have separated a bit, but spots eight through 12 are only six thousand and change apart, which can be made up very quickly.
The field this week features eight of the top 10 on the current money list including No. 1 Benyapa Niphatsophon (Bangkok, Thailand) and No. 2 Celine Boutier (Montrouge, France), who have both already earned enough money to secure spots on the LPGA next year. The only members of the current top 10 not in the field are No. 3 Nanna Koerstz Madsen and No. 7 Emma Talley.
There is one player in the field from the state of Arkansas. Summar Roachell (Conway), a 2017 Arkansas graduate, is in the field on a sponsors exemption making her Symetra Tour debut. Julia Roth (Karlskrona, Sweden) played college golf at Central Arkansas from 2009-2013. There are two that played college golf in Louisiana: Kate Machado (McNeese State) and Gemma Dryburgh (Tulane).
There are 19 LPGA Tour members in the field this week.
The winners of the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout are both currently competing full-time on the LPGA Tour. In 2015, Jackie Stoelting won with rounds of 73-70-70 (-3) while Madelene Sagstrom won in 2016 with rounds of 69-68-72 (-7). In 2015, Stoeling was the only player under-par while nine players were under-par in 2016. Mystic Creek is widely regarded as one of the best courses on Tour and very LPGA-like in its degree of difficulty. The best single-round score in the two years is a 67 (Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong and Lauren Kim in 2016).
Mystic Creek will play as a par-72 with a maximum yardage of 6,509.
RECAP OF LAST WEEKAnne-Catherine Tanguay (Quebec, Canada) battled ferocious wind speeds that peaked at near-40 miles-an-hour on Sunday to win by three shots at the Garden City Charity Classic. She posted a 1-under, 71 to win with a three-day score of 5-under. It was her first career Symetra Tour victory and it came at a critical point of the season. She jumped up to No. 5 on the money list and is closing in on a return to the LPGA.
Tanguay made ten starts on the LPGA in 2016 with conditional status. With a big finish this week in Arkansas, she could wrap up full-time membership for next season.
“It is just really incredible,” said Tanguay, who gave a lot of credit to her former Oklahoma head coach Veronique Drouin-Luttrell for learning to play in the wind. “Honestly, I feel like this win is a bit out of the blue because last week my confidence wasn’t very high. These past few months have been hard because I don’t feel like I was getting the results. This week, everything clicked. I had really good process goals. I tried to boost my confidence all week and my fiancé (Jean-Hubert Trahan) was doing that for me too.”
Tanguay is the second player from Canada to win this season (Brittany Marchand, PHC Classic). She has six top 10 finishes this season and has made the cut in 15 of 16 starts. Tanguay has 11 career top 10’s on the Symetra Tour.
Tanguay has had quite the last six weeks. On July 31, her longtime boyfriend, Jean-Hubert Trahan, proposed in Chicago. Trahan also serves as Tanguay’s full-time caddy. The two met while playing junior golf in Quebec.
Tanguay finished T4 last year at Mystic Creek with rounds of 71-71-70.
MORE ON THE RAZORBACK ROACHELLSummar Roachell will play in her first Symetra Tour event this week. She played for the Razorbacks from 2013-2017 and recorded two top 10 finishes in her 38 career events. She finished 24th at the 2017 SEC Championships.
Prior to attending Arkansas, she was a four-time Class 7A State Champion at Conway High School. She also competed for the U.S. in the 2013 Junior Solheim Cup in Ireland.
Roachell turned professional after graduating in May and competed in LPGA Qualifying Tournament Stage I. While she did not advance, she still earned Symetra Tour status for 2018.
FROM EL DORADO TO SOLHEIM CUPMadelene Sagstrom won the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout last year. It was her third Symetra Tour victory of the season and she went onto win Symetra Player of the Year honors.
Sagstrom is having a strong first year on the LPGA. She was a captain’s pick to compete on Team Europe in the Solheim Cup and won her Sunday singles match. The Solheim Cup is the biggest event in women’s golf.
Sagstrom has earned nearly $240,000 in 18 starts this year on the LPGA with two top 10’s and three top 20’s. She ranks 56th on the LPGA money list and ranks fifth amongst all rookies.
Meanwhile, Stoelting is having her best season on the LPGA. She ranks No. 106 on the money list and made ten cuts this year. For comparison, when she first qualified for the LPGA in 2015, she made just two cuts.
NO. 9 WEAVER WITH TWO STRAIGHT TOP 10’sLindsey Weaver (Bellefontaine, Ohio) has moved up to 9th on the money list with back-to-back top 10 finishes at the Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge (T8) and Garden City Charity Classic (T4). She was No. 11 on the money list entering the grueling finishing stretch.
Weaver has a chance to create further separation from No. 11 Katelyn Dambaugh, who is not in the field this week.
Weaver has finished inside the top 10 in four of the last five tournaments and has finished in the top 10 in 50 percent of her starts (9 of 18). Only Benyapa Niphatsophon has more top 10 finishes (10).
FINISHING STRETCH AFTER EL DORADOThe Tour heads to Prattville, Alabama next week for the inaugural Guardian Championship at Capitol Hill Golf Club, which used to host an LPGA tournament. Then, the final two tournaments of the year will take place in Florida. The penultimate event is the IOA Golf Classic at Alaqua Country Club in Longwood (near Orlando) and then the Symetra Tour Championship takes place at LPGA International in Daytona Beach.
The next three tournaments carry a purse of $100,000 while the Symetra Tour Championship is a $200,000 event.
2016 RUNNER-UPS BOTH IN FIELDBecca Huffer (Denver, Colorado) and Augusta James (Bath, Ontario) finished in a tie for second place last year at 5-under. They are both back in the field this year. Huffer posted rounds of 70-73-68 while James was one of only two players with three under-par rounds (71-71-69).
Huffer has a pair of top 10 finishes this year including a solo third in early August at the PHC Classic in Milwaukee. She ranks 43rd on the money list.
James has split time between the Symetra Tour and LPGA this year. She finished 13th on the final money list in 2016.
AJGA WINNER IN FIELDZoe Campos (Valencia, Calif.) won the KPMG Stacy Lewis Junior All-Star Invitational on the AJGA in late June to earn a spot in the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout. Campos is only 14 years old. She has seven career top 10 finishes on the AJGA in three years of competition.
Before the season started, the Symetra Tour and the AJGA partnered to offer two AJGA winners spots in Symetra Tour events.
Brooke Seay earned a spot in the Symetra Tour’s season opener with her AJGA win and made the cut.
- Recent winner of the Colorado Women’s Open, Liz Breed, is in the field. She pocketed $50,000 for her win at the state open.
- The youngest Symetra Tour member in the field is Ruixin Liu, 18, who ranks 15th on the money list. The oldest player in the field is Nicole Jeray, 45. There are three 19-year-olds in the field (Luiza Altmann, Christina Yang and Riley Rinnell).