DAVIDSON, N.C. — It spent one year at Atlanta National Golf Club in Milton, Ga., but the Symetra Classic is back in the greater Charlotte area for its seventh edition, to be contested May 17-19 at River Run Country Club.
On the road to the LPGA Tour, the Symetra Tour event was played at Raintree Country Club in Charlotte from 2012-2016. After a one-year hiatus, the tournament’s return to the Tar Heel State is highly anticipated.
“We are thrilled to get the Symetra Classic back in a state that is filled with such passion and support for professional women’s golf,” said Mike Nichols, the Chief Business Officer of the Symetra Tour. “Bringing the future stars of the LPGA Tour to such an environment is not only good for the Tour, but good for women’s golf as a whole."
The 54-hole stroke play event features a 144-player field battling for a purse of $175,000, the largest in tournament history. After 36 holes, a cut will be made to the low 60 players and ties.
Meanwhile, River Run Country Club is no stranger to hosting professional golf. It previously welcomed a playoff event on the Web.com Tour from 2013-2015.
“From the practice facility to the course, the venue is first-class and in great condition,” said Jon Show, the Tournament Director for the Symetra Classic. “The community is also enthusiastic about having the Symetra Tour in town. It will be a week that won’t disappoint.”
Last year, Nanna Koerstz Madsen (Copenhagen, Denmark) picked up her first win on the Symetra Tour in this event, shooting 11-under par. She will not be at River Run Country Club this week, however, having finished in the top-10 on the Volvik Race for the Card last season to earn her LPGA Tour card.
One individual who is in the field is Erica Popson (Davenport, Florida). The University of Tennessee alumna won the Symetra Classic in 2016, the last time the tournament was in Charlotte.
“I love getting to play in the southeast because it feels like home since I grew up in Florida and played college golf at UT,” Popson said. “This is also the first time we are back in North Carolina since I won, so that is always a special feeling. Symetra is such a great sponsor and puts on a wonderful event.”
First and second round action gets underway on Thursday and Friday, respectively, at 7:30 a.m., with the final round set to begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday. Play each day will start on No. 1 and No. 10 tees.
WEARN BACK IN CHARLOTTE
River Run Country Club is just a hop, skip and a jump from downtown Charlotte, where Symetra Tour professional Laura Wearn (Charlotte, N.C.) was born and raised.
“I am really looking forward to playing in the Symetra Classic this week in Davidson,” said Wearn. “There are countless people that have helped and supported me along the way, so it’ll be great to have an opportunity to compete in my home state. As golfers, it’s not often that we get to play a tournament at home.”
Growing up, Wearn learned the game of golf at Quail Hollow Club. She eventually went to Furman University, where she began her collegiate career as a walk-on. Then in her sophomore year, Wearn earned a scholarship.
By the time she was a senior, Wearn was an Honorable Mention All-American performer, as well as Academic All-American. She credits two individuals that have shaped her game into what it is today.
“I was very fortunate that my coaches Kelley Hester and Jeff Hull helped prepare me for what I would face as a professional golfer,” Wearn said.
In what is a homecoming for the former Paladins standout, there is an eagerness to get back and compete at a familiar place.
“I haven’t played River Run in several years, but I have fond memories of playing the team matches between the Carolinas and Virginias in 2010,” said Wearn. “I’m excited to get back to Davidson and hopefully have a good week on the course.”