Symetra Tour Championship presented by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
LPGA International, Jones Course
Daytona Beach, Fla.
Pre-Tournament News & Notes
September 17, 2014
Notable Symetra Tour Graduates
Steen Looking To End The Year On Top
Chance at LPGA Card in Reach For 'Super Senior' Stoelting
Volvik Race #17 Vandermade Chasing Card
Casey Grice Wins ANNIKA Academy Elite Athlete Award
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., September 17, 2014 –The Symetra Tour, the Road to the LPGA, tees off at the final event of the year, the Symetra Tour Championship presented by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. First-round play begins Thursday, September 18 at 7:45 a.m.
The 120-player field is vying for their share of the $150,000 total purse. The winner will receive $22,500 and will have a chance to get inside the top-10 on the Volvik Race for the Card money list.
The top-10 following Sunday’s final round will receive their full-time exempt LPGA Tour cards for the 2015 season.
The week will be full of drama as the top-six on the Volvik Race for the Card money list have secured a spot in the top-10, but seven through ten have work to do. A total of 39 players have a chance this week to sneak inside the top-10 and receive their LPGA Tour cards.
2011 – Mo Martin finished third on the Symetra Tour money list with $58,218 and this year won her first LPGA Tour major at the RICOH Women’s British Open.
2010 – Gerina Mendoza (now Gernia Piller) finished fifth on the Symetra Tour money list with $53,408 and is currently 32 on the Rolex World Rankings. She was a member of the 2013 U.S. Solheim Cup Team and has 15 career top-10 finishes on the LPGA Tour.
2009 – Dewi Claire Schreefel finished tenth on the Symetra Tour money list and has two top-10 finishes on the LPGA Tour. She recently won the Helsingborg Open on the Ladies European Tour (LET).
2008 – Vicky Hurst earned $93,107 and finished first on the Symetra Tour money list in 2008. Since, she has nine top-10 finishes on the LPGA Tour and was a member of the 2011 U.S. Solheim Cup Team.
2006 – Inbee Park finished third on the Symetra Tour money list ($49,079) and now ranks No. 2 in the Rolex World Rankings. Park has won 11 times on the LPGA Tour including five major championships. In 2013, she won the first three majors of the LPGA Tour season and was named the Rolex Player of the Year.
2005 – Nicole Castrale finished fourth on the Symetra Tour money list ($43,059) and has since captured one LPGA Tour win and 23 top-10 finishes. Castrale was a member of the U.S. Solheim Cup Team in 2007 and 2009.
2003 – Reilley Rankin finished fifth on the Symetra Tour list ($35,245) and has gone onto post 14 top-10 finishes on the LPGA Tour. She received the 2013 Heather Farr Perseverance Award.
2002 – Lorena Ochoa led the Symetra Tour in earnings with $53,702 and went onto record 27 victories on the LPGA Tour and 109 top-10 finishes. She was a four-time Rolex Player of the year and a former world No. 1.
2002 – Christina Kim finished second on the Symetra Tour money list ($53,460) and has since recorded two LPGA Tour wins and 44 top-10 finishes. She was a member of the U.S. Solheim Cup team in 2005, 2009 and 2011.
8:25 a.m., first tee: Volvik Race for the Card #16 Emily Talley will be paired with No. 22 Hye-Min Kim and No. 30 Therese Koelbaek. Kim finished in a tie for fifth last week at the Garden City Charity Classic.
8:45 a.m., first tee: Volvik Race for the Card #8 Kendall Dye will play with No. 19 Laura Gonzalez-Escallon and No. 27 Marta Silva.
12:55 p.m., tenth tee: Volvik Race for the Card #15 Demi Runas will be paired with No. 17 Nicole Vandermade and No. 29 Stephanie Na.
1:05 p.m., first tee: Volvik Race for the Card #7 Jackie Stoelting is paired with No. 11 Sara-Maude Juneau, who is just $2,941 outside the top-10, and No. 23 Daniela Iacobelli, who won the final event of the year in 2012 to earn her 2013 LPGA Tour Card.
STEEN LOOKING TO END THE YEAR ON TOP: While Volvik Race for the Card money list No. 1 Marissa Steen has already sewn up her 2015 LPGA Tour Card thanks to three victories she still has a lot to play for this week.
“I’m in the running for Symetra Player of the Year now and that was a goal of mine coming into this season, to finish at No. 1 on the money list and I need to play well in order to get that done,” Steen said.
Steen currently sits at $75,348 earned on the season $6,796 clear of second place Min Seo Kwak and $20,116 clear of third place Sadena Parks. Kwak and Parks are the only two golfers who can catch Steen, who is having a career year.
“I think for me it was having a breakthrough year as a golfer,” Steen explained. “I’ve been very consistent from start to finish. We started out in Arizona and I came in second and then I’ve had three wins and 10 top-10s so far.”
The year is a culmination of a three-year plan that Steen developed with her coach after her graduation from the University of Memphis.
“It’s funny when I was back home the past two weeks I sat down with my coach and we pulled out my three year plan that I set when I graduated,” Steen said. “It was my goal to be on the LPGA in three years and this is my third season. We kind of went through all of the goals and it’s gone almost exactly as we planned it out which is pretty cool. We laughed about it like ‘wow this is exactly how we drew it up’ and the only thing left to do is win player of the year. It was cool to reflect back on all of the hard work over the last three years and it was kind of a surreal moment.”
Another surreal moment will come on Sunday afternoon when Steen is awarded her 2015 LPGA Tour Card.
“I really just want to come in here and have fun,” Steen said. “My family is going to be here so it will be fun to have everybody here for the card ceremony on Sunday.”
CHANCE AT LPGA CARD IN REACH FOR ‘SUPER SENIOR’ STOELTING: Jackie Stoelting currently sits at No. 7 on the latest Volvik Race for the Card money list with $48,580 and is in good shape to earn her 2015 LPGA Tour Card.
“I’m not quite safe yet but it wouldn’t be any other way if I didn’t have to fight until the end,” Stoelting said. “The greatest part about where I’m at is that I control my own destiny so as long as I play well I should be holding a card at the end of the week.”
Stoelting finds herself in the top-10 on the money list thanks to a solid season, which has featured six top-10 finishes. After earning a mere $2,287 during her rookie year in 2010, Stoelting has steadily improved throughout her time on the Symetra Tour.
“This is my fifth year out here so I keep joking that I’m a super senior who just didn’t have enough credits to graduate last year,” Stoelting joked. “Obviously, everything is finally clicking. I’ve had some solid years leading up to this but never this good of a year. I’ve been in contention several times and I’m prepared to try and win this week. I still want to get that win so why not get it here.”
The Vero Beach native is looking forward to being back in the Sunshine State for the Symetra Tour finale.
“After the cold in Kansas the past few weeks I’m glad to see the heat and humidity of Florida and be back on Bermuda grass,” Stoelting said. “I’m excited for this week. I’ve felt like the whole year has led up to this and it’s not just this one tournament that’s going to get me the card it was the whole year and that’s what I just have to keep reminding myself.”
Stoelting’s play throughout the year has left her in a solid position to obtain her 2015 LPGA Tour card, something she couldn’t have imagined several years ago.
“It is a dream that I never thought would come true,” Stoelting admitted. “As a kid, I always watched LPGA players and thought it would be cool but I never thought it would be obtainable for me. Even in high school, I never thought I’d be a professional golfer. My junior year of college is when I thought I could do this and even then I didn’t think that I had the game to make it to the LPGA so it’s still surreal. I’m just going to keep my focus on one shot at a time and at the end of the day on Sunday hopefully I am one of those lucky girls.”
Stoelting Career Earnings
VOLVIK RACE #17 VANDERMADE CHASING CARD: Nicole Vandermade (Brantford, Ontario) captured her first professional win this year at the Four Winds Invitational and this week she will seek her LPGA Tour card.
“Obviously we’re all a little nervous in anticipation for the event,” said Vandermade, who ranks 17th on the Volvik Race for the Card money list with $31,896. “We’re all pretty comfortable with this course, we’ve played it a million times for this tournament or Q-School, and so it feels very familiar.”
Vandermade admitted earlier this week that it is impossible to block out the money list and the pressure of trying to finish inside the top-10.
“It’s (money list) is always going to be in the back of your mind, you’re lying if you say it’s not, but at the end of the day, it is just playing golf and we’ve done it since we were kids.”
Vandermade will tee off 12:55 p.m. from the tenth tee on Thursday with Demi Runas (Torrance, Calif.) and Stephanie Na (Adelaide, Australia).
“It would be a dream come true, I’ve been dreaming about it (playing on LPGA) since I was a little kid. I’ll worry about that when it comes and just stick to my process and game plan.”
Vandermade, who ranks third on Tour in driving distance, is excited to swing away this week at LPGA International.
“I’m excited that I can hit a lot of drivers here, I hit driver pretty much everywhere on this course. I’ll have a lot of short irons into greens where I can take advantage of birdie opportunities.”
CASEY GRICE WINS ANNIKA ACADEMY ELITE ATHLETE AWARD: The Symetra Tour, the Road to the LPGA, in conjunction with the ANNIKA Academy is excited to announce that Tour rookie Casey Grice (College Station, Tx.) is the recipient of the first Symetra Tour ANNIKA Academy Elite Athlete Award. Grice best demonstrated the same “Winning Approach” philosophy, which Annika Sorenstam used during her playing days.
“To learn from the best has been an awesome experience and get her view on how she basically dominated the LPGA was great because that is what we are all striving to do,” said Grice, after accepting her award. “The knowledge we learned through the holistic approach she talks about has been priceless.”
Sorenstam, who founded the academy in 2007, presented Grice with the ANNIKA Academy Elite Athlete Award during the pairings party at Daytona International Speedway on Tuesday in advance of the Symetra Tour Championship presented by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
“Casey enthusiastically attended each development session while also playing well in her rookie year on the Symetra Tour,” said Annika Sorenstam. “She has embraced the "Winning Approach" we teach at the ANNIKA Academy and therefore we are excited to present her with the ANNIKA Academy Elite Athlete Award."