GLENDALE, Wis. — The fourth annual PHC Classic serves as the 14th stop for the Symetra Tour this season with a 156-player field converging on the greater Milwaukee area to compete from Aug. 10-12 at Brown Deer Park Golf Course.
In addition to a purse of $100,000, the event serves as the official United States qualifier for The Evian Championship, which runs from Sept. 13-16 in Evian-les-Bains, France. It is the third straight year overall that the top-two finishers earn exemption into the fifth and final major on the LPGA Tour schedule. The FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship was the springboard in 2016.
“For the second year in a row we are delighted to partner up with the Symetra Tour’s PHC Classic which will serve as the U.S. qualifier for The Evian Championship,” said Franck Riboud, chairman of The Evian Championship. “Young players need a chance to live the experience of a major as this is part of their learning process and we are pleased to guide them along this path. This initiative is totally in line with our desire to aid the promotion and growth of women's golf.”
Last year, Brittany Marchand (Orangeville, Ontario) and Marion Ricordeau (Laon, France) were the top-two finishers at the PHC Classic, although both failed to make the cut in The Evian Championship. Ricordeau is in the field this week, while Marchand is currently No. 91 on the LPGA official money list.
“It meant a lot to win the PHC Classic last year and kicked off a good stretch of tournaments for me,” said Marchand. “I felt like my game was close and then it was great to see it shine through. Also, getting the opportunity to play in The Evian Championship was an amazing bonus. The chance to compete in a major is always a solid opportunity to play against the best in the world.”
Meanwhile, Brown Deer Park Golf Course was also home to the PGA TOUR’s U.S Bank Championship from 1994 to 2009. To complement the rich history of professional golf on the grounds, Tiger Woods made his professional debut in 1996 at the venue just four days after winning his third consecutive U.S. Amateur title.
“The pedigree of championship golf that this track has is nothing short of spectacular,” said Mike Nichols, the Chief Business Officer for the Symetra Tour. “Continuing the tradition by showcasing the future stars of the LPGA is a testament to the sponsors and community. It is always our goal to provide courses that fairly test our players and Brown Deer Park Golf Course does that and much more.”
Individuals will battle in a 54-hole stroke play format, with the field cut to the low 60 players and ties after 36 holes. Action begins at 7:30 a.m. CT all three days.
STRICKER QUALIFIES FOR PHC CLASSIC
It’s pretty crazy to fathom that Bobbi Stricker (Madison, Wisconsin) did not play competitive golf until the summer after her senior year at Waunakee High School, but with her family lineage in the game, maybe it’s not too out of the ordinary after all.
A redshirt sophomore walk-on for the University of Wisconsin (UW) women’s golf team, Stricker chose to play tennis since the two sports fell in the same season.
“I did pretty well with it and had a lot of friends that played tennis, so when I got to high school it was more I wanted to be where my friends were,” said Stricker. “I always played golf for fun, but never to the extreme of practicing everyday.”
Although a short time span, Stricker has rapidly picked up the pace when it comes to refining her game and developing different aspects of it. The culmination shined bright last Tuesday at Brown Deer Park Golf Course when she won the Badger Mutual Insurance Women’s Amateur, earning Stricker exemption into the fourth annual PHC Classic.
“It was really special and means a lot,” Stricker said. “I’ve been putting in a lot of hard work and it’s paying off. Getting to the spots and levels that I want to get to, but at a faster pace, is super cool. I’m really excited for the experience.”
Stricker’s grandfather Dennis Tiziani coached the Badgers men’s golf team from 1977-2003, and also served as the women’s coach from 1989-2003. In addition, her mother Nicki earned four letters on the UW women’s golf team and finished fourth in the 1991 Big Ten Championships.
Then of course, Stricker’s father Steve is a 12-time PGA TOUR winner.
“He was always very supportive either way, it was never you need to do this or that,” said Stricker. “It’s been really cool now that I have been playing golf that I can go out and learn way more than I could have appreciated before I played. He has a lot of advice and he comes to watch all my stuff when he is home.”
Even though there might be some pressure that comes with the bloodlines, Stricker hasn’t felt any along her journey so far.
“My family made it really clear to not feel that way,” Stricker said. “I have my family background, but I personally don’t have a background because I had never done it. To win and then have this opportunity really does validate a lot.”
Just like in the Badger Mutual Insurance Women’s Amateur, Stricker will be joined by her mom on the bag to help navigate the same venue she just won at. It’ll be the first professional tournament experience for Stricker, as well as her first taste of a LPGA Tour family event—both as a competitor and from a fan perspective.
“I’ve been to a good chunk of PGA events and have wanted to see the difference between the two,” said Stricker. “I’m going to try and play well, but if I don’t, it’ll be a great opportunity to meet some new people. Obviously, I have only seen the collegiate level, so to see this level of competition will be different, but an awesome experience.”
PHC CLASSIC - PAST CHAMPIONS AND RUNNERS-UP
2017: Brittany Marchand, 203 (-13); Marion Ricordeau, 206 (-10)
2016: Laura Gonzalez Escallon, 206 (-10); Erynne Lee, 207 (-9)
2015: Annie Park, 211 (-5); Lee Lopez, 211 (-5)*
*Annie Park defeated Lee Lopez in a three-hole playoff
PHC CLASSIC - TOURNAMENT SCORING RECORDS
18 holes: 64, Brittany Marchand, Lori Beth Adams, 2017
36 holes: 135, Brittany Marchand, 2017
54 holes: 203, Brittany Marchand, 2017
2018 SYMETRA TOUR TOURNAMENT WINNERS IN THE FIELD (10 of 13):
Stephanie Meadow (IOA Championship presented by Morongo Casino Resort & Spa), Elizabeth Szokol (IOA Invitational), Vicky Hurst (Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic), Louise Ridderstrom (Valley Forge Invitational) Maia Schechter (Four Winds Invitational), Ruixin Liu (Island Resort Championship), Muni He (Prasco Charity Championship), Stephanie Kono (Donald Ross Classic at French Lick), Eun Jeong Seong (Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic, Kendall Dye (Fuccillo Kia Classic of NY)
2018 SYMETRA TOUR ROOKIES IN THE FIELD (38):
Lakareber Abe, Dorsey Addicks, Pajaree Anannarukarn, Sirene Blair, Matilda Castren, Camille Chevalier, Sandy Choi, Youngin Chun, Selena Costabile, Casey Danielson, Lauren Diaz-Yi, Muni He, Julian Hollis, Nuria Iturrios, Cheyenne Knight, Jordy LaBarbera, Esther Lee, Gabby Lemieux, Huize Lian, Leona Maguire, Maddie McCrary, Lindsey McCurdy, Morgane Metraux, Stephanie Miller, Haley Mills, Anneliese Newell, Wad Phaewchimplee, Lucia Polo, Krystal Quihuis, Eun Jeong Seong, Heather Shake, Linnea Strom, Anne Van Dam, Natalie Vivaldi, Karolina Vlckova, Samantha Wagner, Celine Yuan, Panitta Yusabai
SPONSOR INVITES (3):
Jordy LaBarbera, Jenna Peters, Bobbi Stricker
STATS TO KNOW (through August 8)
2018 STATISTICAL LEADERS
Official Money: Dottie Ardina, $59,672
Scoring Average: Eun Jeong Seong, 69.565
Driving Distance Average: Anne Van Dam, 292.893
Eagles: Desiree Dubreuil, 7
Birdies: Linnea Strom, 146
Greens in Regulation: Natalie Sheary, 84.8%
2018 AWARD STANDINGS
Symetra Player of the Year: Dottie Ardina
Rookie of the Year: Jenny Haglund
2018 WINS BY COUNTRY (13 tournaments, 13 different winners from 6 countries)
6 – United States (Lauren Kim, Elizabeth Szokol, Vicky Hurst, Maia Schechter, Stephanie Kono, Kendall Dye)
2 – Sweden (Jenny Haglund, Louise Ridderstrom)
2 – China (Ruixin Liu, Muni He)
1 – Northern Ireland (Stephanie Meadow)
1 – Germany (Isi Gabsa)
1 – Republic of Korea (Eun Seong Jeong)
2018 WINS BY PLAYER (13 tournaments, 13 players)
1: Lauren Kim (Flordia’s Natural Charity Classic)
1: Stephanie Meadow (IOA Championship presented by Morongo Casino Resort & Spa
1: Elizabeth Szokol (IOA Invitational)
1: Vicky Hurst (Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic)
1: Jenny Haglund (Symetra Classic)
1: Louise Ridderstrom (Valley Forge Invitational)
1: Maia Schechter (Four Winds Invitational)
1: Isi Gabsa (The Forsyth Classic presented by the Decatur Park District)
1: Ruixin Liu (Island Resort Championship)
1: Muni He (Prasco Charity Championship)
1: Stephanie Kono (Donald Ross Classic at French Lick)
1: Eun Jeong Seong (Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic)
1: Kendall Dye (Fuccillo Kia Classic of NY)
FIRST-TIME WINNERS (11)
Lauren Kim (Flordia’s Natural Charity Classic), Stephanie Meadow (IOA Championship presented by Morongo Casino Resort & Spa, Elizabeth Szokol (IOA Invitational), Jenny Haglund (Symetra Classic), Louise Ridderstrom (Valley Forge Invitational), Maia Schechter (Four Winds Invitational), Isi Gabsa (The Forsyth Classic presented by the Decatur Park District), Ruixin Liu (Island Resort Championship), Muni He (Prasco Charity Championship), Stephanie Kono (Donald Ross Classic at French Lick), Eun Jeong Seong (Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic)