WINDSOR, Calif. — The fourth stop on the 2019 “Road to the LPGA” keeps the Symetra Tour in the Golden State for a second straight week, taking the official qualifying tour of the LPGA to Windsor Golf Club for the second edition of the Windsor Golf Classic from April 5-7.
Greeting the 144-player field in Windsor, Calif. is a total purse of $150,000 and $22,500 winner’s share. Individuals are set to compete in a 54-hole stroke play format with a cut to the low 60 players and ties after 36 holes.
Defending champion Hyemin Kim (Seoul, Republic of Korea) is among the competitors. She won the inaugural event in 2017 when it was known as the POC Med Golf Classic. The 30-year-old has a total of nine top-10 finishes on the Symetra Tour in 121 career starts entering the 2019 season.
Action gets underway at 7:30 a.m. PDT off No. 1 and No. 10 tees for all three rounds.
SONOMA STATE ALUMNA WARNE JOINS NOH AS SPONSOR EXEMPTION
In addition to Yealimi Noh (Concord, California), a previously announced sponsor exemption for the Windsor Golf Classic, it is Spencer Warne (Turlock, California) joining her as the second exemption.
A four-time Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) Division II All-American at Sonoma State University, Warne was a seven-time individual medalist during her collegiate tenure with the Seawolves from 2009-2013. In 28 career starts on the Symetra tour entering 2019, she has made 15 cuts with a career-best tied for ninth showing at the 2017 Four Winds Invitational.
“It’s an honor and privilege to play this event on a course I call home,” Warne said. “I love the design of Windsor [Golf Club] and think it’s a great setup for a women’s professional event. I’m excited for many of my family members and friends to come out and watch. It will be great to play with all the support.”
COUNTRIES (AND STATES) OF THE WINDSOR GOLF CLASSIC
A total of 35 countries are represented this week at the Windsor Golf Classic, led by the United States with 71 players and Spain having the next highest of seven competitors.
“I am very proud to be Welsh, and the only girl representing Wales on the Symetra Tour is special,” said Amy Boulden (Llandudno, Wales), who has made the cut in all three starts this year with a season-best tied for 14th finish at Florida’s Natural Charity Classic. “To have so many girls from all over the world playing each week shows how much the Tour is growing. It’s amazing to be a part of that.”
Individuals from 25 different states are also set to tee it up at Windsor Golf Club. A total of 18 players hail from the host state, while Texas boasts eight.
“I grew up playing junior golf all over the Bay Area and remember competing in Windsor when I was 12 years old, so it is really cool to be back as a professional,” said Andrea Wong (San Francisco, California), also a UC Davis graduate. “If I told my younger self that I would be here today, I would have been mind blown. As a kid, it was never my dream to play on Tour. My passion for the game has really grown over the past few years and it has been an amazing journey.”
ROOKIES APLENTY IN WINDSOR
Numerous professionals in their first year on the Symetra Tour have made the trek to Sonoma County, as 33 rookies are in the field and eager for the fourth event of the Symetra Tour season.
Among them is Amy Lee (Brea, California), who spent two years at the University of Southern California before finishing her collegiate career at Baylor University. In 2017, Lee was named the Big 12 Player of the Year and a WGCA Second Team All-American as a junior for the Bears.
“Approaching my rookie season, I received advice from coaches and friends that would help me on the road,” Lee said. “Another factor was I graduated from Baylor in December, allowing me to focus all my energy on golf without having to worry about academics. Once I was out here, having friends on Tour made me more comfortable and the process was seamless.”
VOLVIK RACE FOR THE CARD UPDATE
The Symetra Tour annually awards LPGA Tour membership to the top players on the Volvik Race for the Card money list at the end of the season and will usher in the next graduating class after 24 events on the 2019 calendar.
With three tournaments in the books, the top-10 underwent some shifting following the IOA Championship presented by Morongo Casino Resort & Spa. All 10 members from the group are in Windsor including Leona Maguire (County Cavan, Ireland), who cracked the top-10 for the first time in her Symetra Tour career after a tied for fourth result last week.
“It’s really nice to get off to a strong start this season, especially given that I haven’t played any of these courses or events before in the early going,” said Maguire, coming off back-to-back top-five finishes.“To be in the top-10 this early is a bonus, but it is a long season and I’m taking each event as it comes.”
From 1999-2002, the official qualifying tour of the LPGA handed out three cards. Then from 2003-2007, that number increased to five before 10 were distributed starting in 2008. Since the inaugural year, a total of 147 players have graduated to the big stage.