Players will have full-time status on LPGA Tour in 2015
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., September 21, 2014 – The Symetra Tour, the Road to the LPGA, is excited to announce the top-10 on the final Volvik Race for the Card money list that have secured their LPGA Tour cards for the 2015 season.
Each will have full-time exempt status on the LPGA Tour in 2015. They will each have category nine status.
There are five players who will be LPGA Tour rookies next year – Marissa Steen, Sadena Parks, Min Lee, Wei-Ling Hsu and Kendall Dye.
1. Marissa Steen – West Chester, Ohio, University of Memphis, 24-years-old, $75,348
Steen emerged early in the year as one of the top players on Tour when she finished in solo second at the first event of the year, the Visit Mesa Gateway Classic at Longbow Golf Club. After finishing inside the top-20 in each of the next three events, she earned her first professional win at the Guardian Retirement Championship at Sara Bay. The 24-year-old went onto win two more events; the Friends of Mission Charity Classic (Asheville, N.C.) and the Eagle Classic (Richmond, Va.). Steen recorded a total of ten top-10 finishes, the most since RICOH Women’s British Open Champ Mo Martin totaled 11 top-10 finishes in 2011. Her earnings total is eighth all-time in the 34-year history of the Symetra Tour.
Steen on earning her LPGA Tour card
“For all the players on the Symetra Tour, the ultimate goal is to finish in the top-10 in order to get full-time status on the LPGA Tour so to be in that group and to have been in the top-10 the entire year is a dream come true. My ultimate career goal is to play on the LPGA for a long time so to know it is going to be happening next year is a great feeling.”
- Earned $46,705 more than she did during the 2013 season ($28,643).
- Finished first on the Symetra Tour in scoring average (71.244)
- Played in three LPGA Tour events in 2014 (U.S. Women’s Open, Marathon Classic & Portland Classic)
2. Min Seo Kwak – Seoul, South Korea, 24-years-old, $69,143
Kwak got hot in late April when she finished T7 at the Guardian Retirement Championship at Sara Bay and then the following week won her first Symetra Tour event at the Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial. She finished in a tie for second a week later at the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic. Kwak won her second event at the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship. During a five-event stretch from late April through early June, she finished inside the top-7 in five straight events played. She posted seven top-10 finishes and five top-3 results. Kwak never earned more than $13,620 (2010) in a single-season on the Symetra Tour prior to this year. She played a partial LPGA Tour schedule in 2012 and 2013.
Kwak on earning her LPGA Tour card
“It’s a dream come true to get my LPGA Tour card. I always watched the ceremony and wanted to be one of them (getting their cards). I can plan my schedule, planes, hotels and cars since I know I will be playing full-time on the LPGA Tour. I can play almost every tournament and I always wanted to play the Kraft Nabisco, that is one of my favorite tournaments.”
- Kwak made every cut in 2014 and has made 24 consecutive cuts on the Symetra Tour
- Made an additional $18,000 this year through the Potawatomi Cup
- Finished fourth on Tour in scoring average (71.442)
3. Jackie Stoelting – Vero Beach, Fla., Florida Southern, 28-years-old, $60,452
Stoelting was one of the most consistent players on Tour during the 2014 Symetra Tour season which featured seven top-10 finishes and just one missed cut in 19 events. After earning a mere $2,287 during her rookie year in 2010, Stoelting steadily improved throughout her time on the Symetra Tour and earned the most money all-time without a victory ahead of current LPGA pros Inbee Park (2006, $49,079) and Gerina Piller (2010, $53,408). Stoelting had the best her career on Sunday at the Symetra Tour Championship firing an 8-under 64 to finish in a tie for second.
Stoelting on earning her LPGA Tour Card
“It’s a dream I never thought would come true. As a little girl it was not obtainable. I wasn’t a top recruit in college. Probably a couple of years ago is when I thought that maybe I could be on the LPGA and so to be able to get my card is just seriously amazing.”
- Earned $37,391 more than she did during the 2013 season ($23,061)
- Finished fourth on the Symetra Tour in birdies (186)
- Won Big Break Florida this year
- Played in one LPGA event in 2014 (Manulife Financial LPGA Classic)
4. Sadena Parks – Scottsdale, Ariz., University of Washington, 24-years-old, $57,597
Parks had a slow start to the year before exploding in late June. She finished second at the Island Resort Championship and then after a three-week break in the Tour schedule, she won the SEFCU Championship at Capital Hills. Two weeks later, she captured her second win at the New England Charity Classic. Parks recorded five top-10 finishes, with four of them coming from late June through the end of the season. Parks became just the second African-American to win on the Symetra Tour when she won in Albany and she is the only African-American to win twice in the 34-year history of the Tour.
Parks on earning her LPGA Tour Card
“It means a lot, but it’s one goal achieved and more goals set for myself for 2015 on the LPGA. This is going to be a memorable moment, my father is here. I was patient this year, the beginning of the season wasn’t great, but I got back in it with more focus and my coach started travelling with me. I’m looking forward to the first LPGA tournament, but just most importantly I’m looking forward to having fun.”
- Becomes first African-American to receive her Tour card through Symetra Tour
- She finished 99th on the Tour money list in 2013
5. Min Lee – Taoyuan County, Taiwan, 19-years-old, $57,011
Lee earned her first win of the season at the 19th event of the year – the Garden City Charity Classic in Garden City, Kan. Lee exploded down the stretch of the season. She finished in a tie for tenth at the Eagle Classic and a tie for second at the Prairie Band Casino & Resort Charity Classic before winning in Garden City. Lee was named the Galle Truet Rookie of the Year for leading all Symetra Tour rookies in earnings. Lee’s caddie Meaghan Francella was a Symetra Tour winner and an LPGA Tour winner.
Lee on earning her LPGA Tour Card
“This really means that I have realized a dream and now I have to start to make something of my dream. My dream has come true and I just want to keep getting better and get closer to Yani (Tseng). I’m very excited to play with the players that usually I see on television.”
- Finished fifth on Tour in scoring average (71.53)
- Finished in the top-10 in each of the final four events
- Ended the year with seven consecutive rounds under-par
6. Wei-Ling Hsu – Chinese Taipei, 19-years-old, $53,004
Hsu won the biggest tournament in the history of the Symetra Tour earlier this year, the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic. She had four total top-10 finishes and made 12 cuts in 13 events played. Hsu finished inside the top-30 in eight of her 13 events. She lowered her scoring average by nearly a full stroke from her 2013 rookie season (72.37) to 71.55, which ranked sixth on Tour. Hsu recorded her first professional win last year at the Credit Union Challenge in Albany, N.Y.
Hsu on earning her LPGA Tour Card
“I’m very excited, it is awesome. When I went back to Taiwan, people were very excited for me and the chance to watch me on television if I do well on the LPGA Tour. The plan was just to play a few events this year and focus on Qualifying Tournament and when I won in Greenwood it changed everything.”
- Finished third on Tour in putting average (29.68)
- Made $39,392 over a two week stretch when she won and finished solo second at the Friends of Mission Charity Classic
7. Cindy Feng – Chang De, China, 18-years-old, $51,992
Feng had a strong start to the 2014 season with a win at the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic and three other top-5 finishes in the first five events of the year and didn’t look back en route to her 2015 LPGA Tour Card. Feng finished her season with six top-10 finishes while splitting time between the Symetra Tour and the LPGA after a tie for 13th at the U.S. Women’s Open.
Feng on earning her LPGA Tour Card
“Reaching the LPGA has always been a goal of mine. I’m grateful to have tackled it this year and thank the Symetra Tour for providing us this opportunity. I know it’ll be a tough year ahead of me and I’m looking forward to the challenge and the grind of taking my game to the next level.”
- One of four Symetra Tour rookies to earn her 2015 LPGA Tour Card
- Finished first on the Symetra Tour in rounds under par (19)
- Has played in five LPGA Tour events in 2014 (U.S. Women’s Open, Meijer LPGA Classic, Wegmans LPGA Championship, Portland Classic & Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic)
8. Kendall Dye – Edmond, Okla., Oklahoma University, 27-years-old, $47,684
In her fifth season on the Symetra Tour, Dye picked up her first victory at the IOA Golf Classic and rode that momentum to her 2015 LPGA Tour Card. Dye was the model of consistency during the 2014 season missing only one cut and adding eight additional top-10 finishes.
Dye on earning her LPGA Tour Card
“I’m still a little in shock and disbelief I think. It wasn’t over until the fat lady sung and I still don’t believe it. I can’t wait to finally get back home and realize what I’ve done and recount the whole year. It’s been five long years but I really worked hard and I did it my way. I thought it would only take three but it took me five but I never gave up on my dream. I’m just a little kid from Oklahoma who never played outside of the state of Oklahoma so you can do it all different ways and it’s pretty cool to see that hard work pays off.”
- Earned $21,427 more than she did during the 2013 season ($26,257)
- Led the Symetra Tour in birdies (199)
- Becomes second OU golfer to reach the LPGA Tour (Lisa Meldrum)
9. Demi Runas – Torrance, Calif., University of California-Davis, 23-years-old, $45,095
Runas had a strong debut season in 2014 finishing with five top-5 finishes, including a tie for second place at the Symetra Tour Championship which helped her earn her card. Runas started the week in 15th on the Volvik Race for the Card money list. The three-time Big West Player of the Year, finished the year strong making the last 13 cuts and registering a solo second finish at the Eagle Classic in addition to her tie for second at the Tour Championship.
Runas on earning her LPGA Tour Card
“I feel like everyone knew before I did. It was the best surprise that I’ve ever had actually. It means the world to me. This is what you work for and what you dream about and to have it finally happen is just a dream come true.”
- One of four Symetra Tour rookies to earn her 2015 LPGA Tour Card
- Made final 13 cuts of the season with three top-3 finishes
10. Mallory Blackwelder – Versailles, Ky., University of Kentucky, 27-years-old, $41,381
Blackwelder had one of the most impressive turnarounds in Symetra Tour history jumping from a 95th place finish in 2013 to earning her Card in 2015. Blackwelder’s year was highlighted by her first-career victory at the Symetra Classic and three additional top-10 finishes, including a runner-up finish at the Prairie Band Casino & Hotel Charity Classic.
Blackwelder on earning her LPGA Tour Card
“Honestly, it hasn’t hit me yet. I don’t know when it will. People kept saying ‘Oh you’re fine, you’re fine’ but I was not celebrating until it was all official. I was so stressed about it and I’m just so happy that I got it done. I’m speechless. I don’t know what to say, it’s amazing in so many more ways than one. I’m getting married next week and this just makes that even more special. Someone just texted me that I’m going to be out with my dad and my brother next year and it’s awesome. I’ve been thinking about this for so long and I just kept coming up short and coming up short and I’m so glad that I didn’t come up short this time.”
- Earned $37,515 more than she did during the 2013 season ($3,866)
- Becomes the first Kentucky grad to have an LPGA Tour Card since Tonya Gill in 2004