Steen Named Symetra Player of the Year; Lee Wins Gaëlle Truet Rookie of the Year
Alice Kim receives Symetra Rising Star Award
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., September 22, 2014 – The Symetra Tour, the Road to the LPGA, wrapped up the 2014 season on Sunday at the Symetra Tour Championship. In addition to the top-10 receiving their LPGA Tour cards, three awards were given out during the card ceremony at LPGA International. Volvik Race for the Card No. 1 Marissa Steen was named the Symetra Player of the Year, No. 5 Min Lee was named the Gaelle Truet Rookie of the Year and Alice Kim won the Symetra Rising Star Award.
Three-time Symetra Tour winner Steen takes home top honor after a stellar season in which she earned $75,348, the eighth highest total in Symetra Tour history.
“I’m a big goal setter and that was one of the goals this year,” Steen said. “I felt like it was a good year and that I was capable of being player of the year.”
Steen picked up her third Symetra Tour win at the Eagle Classic presented by Bag Boy and earned Category 13 LPGA Tour status for winning three times in a single-season on the Symetra Tour. She is the first Symetra Tour player to win three times in a single season since 2010 and just the ninth since 1999. In addition to her victory at the Eagle Classic, Steen also won the Guardian Retirement Championship at Sara Bay and the Friends of Mission Charity Classic.
“It’s not that you have to make every single cut or finish in the top-10 every time,” Steen explained. “It’s having more really good weeks than everybody else. For me that was cool. Just to know that I played consistently from start to finish.”
The West Chester, Ohio, native has dominated the Symetra Tour this year with 10 top-10 finishes, the most since RICOH Women’s British Open champion Mo Martin collected 11 top-10 finishes in 2011.
Steen, who will become the first University of Memphis graduate to play on the LPGA Tour, has played three times on the LPGA Tour this year. She qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open, earned a spot in the field for the Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning and O-I by Monday qualifying, shooting an opening-round 5-under 67 in Toledo and finished in a tie for 32nd, and competed in the Portland Classic after earning her battlefield promotion.
Steen turned professional in 2012 and has played on the Symetra Tour for three years. Last year, she recorded three top-10 finishes and finished 16th on the money list.
As Symetra Player of the Year, Steen wins $3,500 plus a $1,000 donation in her name to the charity of her choice. Steen will be making her donation to the Lupus Foundation of America, a charity that is near to her family. Steen’s mom, Kathy, was diagnosed with lupus two years ago.
Steen will join a growing list of Symetra Tour graduates to play on the LPGA Tour. The impressive list of graduates includes current Rolex Rankings No. 2 Inbee Park, No. 14 Lizette Salas, No. 27 and RICOH Women’s British Open Champion Mo Martin and former No. 1 Lorena Ochoa.
Lee Wins Gaëlle Truet Rookie of the Year
Taiwan’s Min Lee has been named the Gaëlle Truet Rookie of the Year on the Symetra Tour. Lee takes home the honor after an impressive debut season where she finished fifth on the Volvik Race for the Card Money List and earned her 2015 LPGA Tour Card.
“I’m excited to realize my dream of playing on the LPGA Tour and I’m happy that I had a great rookie season,” said Lee, who finished inside the top-10 in the final four events. ”Now, I’m ready to go and get better so I can play well on the LPGA Tour.”
Lee, who earned $57,011 on the season, recorded a win at the Garden City Classic and seven additional top-10 finishes on the year to top an impressive rookie class which saw five first-year players finish in the top-25 on the money list. No. 7 Cindy Feng and No. 9 Demi Runas also joined Lee as 2015 LPGA Tour Card recipients.
“I played well this year and I am ready to go out and play with the top players in the world including my role model Yani Tseng.”
Lee is the top-earning rookie since Jennifer Song totaled $63,375 in 2010.
The Gaëlle Truet Rookie of the Year is awarded to the player competing in her first professional season who finishes highest on the Symetra Tour Volvik Race for the Card money list. Gaëlle Truet was a three-year member of the Tour who was killed in an automobile accident during the 2006 tournament season. The Tour's top rookie award is named in her memory.
|2012||Mi Hyang Lee||$40,882|
|2005||Sun Young Yoo||$42,007|
|2003||Soo Young Moon||$49,234|
Alice Kim receives Symetra Rising Star Award
Alice Kim (Walnut, Calif.) has been named the Symetra Rising Star Award recipient after making an impressive 105 spot jump on the money list from 2013 to 2014. The Symetra Rising Star Award is given annually to the player that makes the biggest jump on the money list from one year to the next.
“It was actually really unexpected,” Kim said. “I played better than last year and this shows that I’ve improved but my goal is to make the top-10 which I didn’t get but it’s still a huge improvement from last year.”
Kim earned a mere $273 in 11 events during her 2013 finishing 185th on the money list, which was dead last. This season, Kim earned $8,248 in 19 events, more than 30 times her earnings from last season. Kim finished the year ranked 80th on the money list thanks to four top-30 finishes, including a career-best finish of T6 at the Friends of Mission Charity Classic.
“I didn’t really realize my improvement until I looked at it,” Kim admitted. “I didn’t realize it would be that many spots. I wasn’t thinking about what I did last year and comparing it to last year. I was more focused solely on this year and what my goals for this year were. Now looking back on it, it’s quite funny and quite interesting.”
The Symetra Rising Star receives $3,500 and a $1,000 donation in their name to the charity of the player’s choice. Kim is making the donation to water.org, a charity that has pioneered innovative, community-driven, market-based solutions that help people gain access to safe water and sanitation.“I’m a big supporter of clean water for developing countries and I hope to one day get really involved with water.org.”