MILTON, GEORGIA, April 24, 2017 - The Symetra Tour, the official qualifying Tour of the LPGA, returns to the greater Atlanta area for the Symetra Classic from April 28-30 at Atlanta National Golf Club. This is the second year the Tour has played at Atlanta National Golf Club.
First-round play begins on Friday, April 28 and the 54-hole tournament concludes on Sunday, April 30. The field of 144 professionals from the United States and 28 countries around the globe will compete for a total purse of $150,000. The winner will earn $22,500 and move up the Volvik Race for the Card money list.
The top 10 on the final money list will earn LPGA Tour membership for the 2018 season.
Play will begin at 7:30 a.m. all three days. There will be a cut to the low 60 and ties after Saturday’s second round.
The sixth annual Symetra Classic is the sixth event of the 2017 season. The Tour recently announced the 22nd event - the Guardian Championship at Capitol Hill Golf Club in Prattville, Alabama. For a third consecutive season, the season-long purse is at least $3 million, a drastic improvement from $1.62 million in 2013.
“I’m really looking forward to coming back to Atlanta National,” said Wearn, while in transit from Sarasota, Florida. “The course is challenging, but I love that there are some good birdie chances on the par fives. I have so many great memories from last year so I’m excited to play here again.”
Including Wearn, eight of the top 10 finishers from a year ago are in the field this week including Kristy McPherson (Conway, S.C.) and Prima Thammaraks (Bangkok, Thailand), who shared third place.
The field this week is very strong with nine of the top 10 on the current money list scheduled to compete including the top three - No. 1 Benyapa Niphatsophon (Bangkok, Thailand), No. 2 Anne-Catherine Tanguay (Quebec, Canada) and No. 3 Hannah Green (Perth, Australia). The only player in the top 10 that is not in the field is No. 4 Olivia Jordan-Higgins (Jersey, UK), who is dealing with a bad back.
There are six players from the Peach State in the field: Lacey Agnew (Jonesboro), Avery George (Perry), Karen Paolozzi (Atlanta), Ashlan Ramsey (Milledgeville), Jean Reynolds (Newnan) and Mariah Stackhouse (Riverdale).
There are 38 LPGA Tour members in the field including several with top 10 finishes on the LPGA including Kristy McPherson (16 top 10’s), Alison Walshe (5 top 10’s) and Silvia Cavalleri, who won the 2007 Corona Championship.
Tickets to the Symetra Classic are complimentary all three days of the tournament.
4-TIME GSGA POY STACKHOUSE TO COMPETEMariah Stackhouse (Riverdale, Ga.) is in the field this week and is likely to compete after coming up short at the LPGA Monday Qualifier in Dallas. Stackhouse is the third alternate for the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout. If she doesn’t get into the LPGA event, she will play the Symetra Classic.
Stackhouse has played two LPGA events and four Symetra Tour events this year. She currently ranks 48th on the Volvik Race for the Card money list.
Stackhouse was a four-time GSGA (Georgia State Golf Association) Player of the Year from 2007-2010. In 2009, Stackhouse became the youngest winner of the Georgia PGA Women’s Open Championship.
DRUID HILLS ASSISTANT PRO IN FIELD FOR SECOND YEARKaren Paolozzi, an assistant golf professional at Druid Hills, is a sponsor exemption in the Symetra Classic. Last year, she was an exemption into the Symetra Tour event at Atlanta National, but missed the cut (81-71).
Paolozzi is an accomplished golfer in her own right. She shot a 2-under 70 -- that included birdies on two of her final four holes -- in the final round for the 49th PGA Professional Championship at Turning Stone
Resort’s Atunyote course in 2016 to finish seventh. She is the only woman to ever post a top 10 in the history of the event.
Paolozzi has also played in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, a major on the LPGA Tour, each of the last two years.
2016 GEORGIA BULLDOGS GRAD IN FIELDManuela Carbajo Re (Nechochea, Argentina) is a rookie on the Symetra Tour and recent graduate of the University of Georgia. She remains an Athens, Georgiaresident while pursuing the LPGA dream on the Symetra Tour.
Carbajo Re has played in each of the first five Symetra Tour tournaments and has made one cut.
She was one of the top players at Georgia during her four-year career. She was extremely consistent with scoring averages of 74.04, 74.10, 74.42 and 74.37.
She was an Honorable Mention All-American by Golfweek Magazine following the 2012-13 season.
Carbajo Re won the 2011 South American Amateur and the 2010 South American Junior title.
SOUTH CAROLINA ALL-AMERICAN MAKING DEBUT:Sarah Schmelzel, a 2015-16 Honorable Mention All-American at South Carolina, is a sponsor exemption into the field and will make her debut on Tour.
Schmelzel advanced out of Stage I of LPGA Qualifying Tournament in 2016, but finished 178th in Stage II.
She ranks fourth all-time in scoring average (74.25) at South Carolina while her scoring of 73.21 as a senior was fifth lowest in program history. Schmelzel won the 2016 Bryan National Collegiate and finished seventh at the ANNIKA Invitational.
Prior to South Carolina, Schmelzel won the 2011 Arizona State High School Championship while at Xavier Prep, a school that has produced the likes of Cheyenne Woods, Amanda Blumenhurst and Margarita Ramos.
RECAP OF LAST EVENT:Hannah Green of Perth, Australia overcame a two-shot deficit at the start of the final round in Sarasota and birdied the 18th hole to capture her first Symetra Tour victory. She became the fourth first-time winner this season in just five events.
With the victory, Green moved from 26th to third on the Volvik Race for the Card money list entering the Symetra Classic.
Green was a top ranked amateur in Australia and turned professional towards the end of the 2016 calendar year.
She got off to a great start this year by finishing in a tie for seventh at the ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open on the LPGA.
TOP 10 STREAK CONTINUES FOR TANGUAY:Anne-Catherine Tanguay, No. 2 on the money list, registered her fourth straight top 10 finish to open the season at the Sara Bay Classic. She has finished inside the top five in each of her last three starts.
She has finished T2, third and T4 at the Sara Bay Classic. The former University of Oklahoma All-American has already earned $21,096 and is less than $2,000 shy of the top spot on the money list.
Tanguay had just five top 10 finishes in her first two seasons on the Symetra Tour combined (25 starts).
- There are nine different countries represented in the top 10 on the money list (Thailand, Canada, Australia, United Kingdom, Ecuador, New Zealand, South Korea, USA and China).
- Nanna Koerstz Madsen (Copenhagen, Denmark) is the top ranked player in the field according to the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings at No. 79.