Rising stars of LPGA to compete for increased $150,000 purse; admission is free all weekend
LONGWOOD, FLORIDA, September 25, 2017 - The Symetra Tour, the official qualifying Tour for the LPGA, rolls into Longwood this week for the fourth annual IOA (Insurance Office of America) Golf Classic at Alaqua Country Club. Tournament play begins on Friday, September 29 and the 54-hole tournament concludes on Sunday, October 1.
The field of 108 professionals from the United States and 27 countries around the globe will compete for a $150,000 total tournament purse and a winner’s payout of $22,500. The purse is up $50,000 over 2016.
The IOA Golf Classic is the second to last event of the 2017 season so players are jockeying for position on the Volvik Race for the Card money list. The top 10 on the money list at the conclusion of the season earn LPGA Tour membership for the 2018 season.
The field for the IOA Golf Classic is very strong. The current top 10 on the money list are all scheduled to compete including No. 1 Benyapa Niphatsophon (Bangkok, Thailand), No. 2 Celine Boutier (Montrouge, France), a two-time winner, and No. 3 Nanna Koerstz Madsen (Copenhagen, Denmark), a three-time winner.
Both sponsor exemptions have ties to the area. Former UCF star Ashley Holder, who is going through the LPGA Qualifying Tournament process, will compete in the event for a second time. While she was in college, she made the cut and finished T20 in 2015. Holder was the American Athletic Conference Player of the Year three out of four years and won the conference title in April. The second exemption is Lake Mary resident Kellie Edelblut, who played college golf at William & Mary.
There are currently 14 players in the field from the state of Florida: Kellie Edelblut (Lake Mary), Ashley Holder (Orlando), Ginger Howard (Bradenton), Daniela Iacobelli (Melbourne), Casey Kennedy (Venice), August Kim (Saint Augustine), Cindy LaCrosse (Tampa), Alexandra Newell (Tampa), Catherine O’Donnell (Ponte Vedra), Erica Popson (Davenport), Madison Pressel (Boca Raton), Sierra Sims (Tampa), Jessy Tang (Daytona Beach) and Carlie Yadloczky (Casselberry).
The field also includes 22 current LPGA Tour members.
The IOA Golf Classic has been played at Alaqua Country Club since 2014 when Kendall Dye won her first career tournament. Jackie Stoelting, who currently competes on the LPGA, won in 2015 while Hurricane Matthew forced the Tour to cancel the IOA Golf Classic in 2016.
Tickets to the IOA Golf Classic are complimentary courtesy of IOA all three days of tournament play. Proceeds from the tournament will benefit the American Cancer Society.