Many believe that the 2014 graduating class is the strongest in recent memory with a three-time winner in Marissa Steen and a pair of two-time winners in Min Seo Kwak and Sadena Parks. The class had a good mix of young stars and seasoned veterans.
The Symetra Tour Player of the Year Steen became the ninth player to win three times in a single-season. She got a taste of the LPGA Tour in 2014 and now she gets the full experience starting at the Coates Golf Championship.
“This is something I have worked very hard for and teeing it up on the LPGA is truly a dream come true,” said Steen on Tuesday morning from Ocala, Florida. “When I get to the first tee on Wednesday, I am going to enjoy that and have fun playing the game I love."
For Demi Runas, who finished ninth on the Volvik Race for the Card money list, this week marks the realization of a dream.
“It’s a surreal feeling finally being inside the ropes at an LPGA Tour event,” said Runas, who finished in a tie for 2nd at the Symetra Tour Championship to earn her card. “I’ve had to pinch myself a couple times. I’m so excited to be here and I can’t wait for that first tee shot on Wednesday!”
The 2014 class featured rookies that passed the Symetra Tour exam quickly and veterans like Kendall Dye, who fell short in her first four seasons before finishing eighth in 2014. Dye played a practice round early in the week with 10-time LPGA Tour winner Paula Creamer.
“I’ve already had a few pinch me moments this week,” said Dye, who won the 2014 IOA Golf Classic in Longwood, Florida. “I feel truly blessed to have this opportunity.”
Like Dye, Jackie Stoelting needed time to grow and perfect her game on the Symetra Tour before finishing 3rd on the money list in 2014.
“The anticipation of being a full-time LPGA member is becoming real this week,” said Stoelting after her practice round on Monday. "I am so excited to start the year off in my home state and am looking forward to an awesome year."
Of the 120 players in the field this week, 71 have a connection to the Symetra Tour.