FRENCH LICK, Ind. — A total of 144 players will take on the challenge that the Donald Ross Course at French Lick Resort presents starting Thursday with the first round of the third annual Donald Ross Classic.
Three featured groups highlight the competition for the 14th event of the 2019 Symetra Tour season.
Perrine Delacour, Maria Parra, Kyung Kim (No. 10 tee, 1:14 p.m.)
Coming off her second win of the season at the Prasco Charity Championship, Perrine Delacour (Paris, France) sets the pace in the Volvik Race for the Card with season earnings of $96,878 across 12 starts. A past Symetra Tour graduate in 2013, she has recorded seven consecutive top-10 finishes. That stretch includes both wins, as her first professional title came in South Bend, Ind. at the Four Winds Invitational.
Maria Parra (Guadiaro, Spain) is back on the “Road to the LPGA” and set to compete in her first event since the Island Resort Championship after being sidelined by a right wrist injury. The first-time Symetra Tour champion in 2019at the IOA Invitational has played the weekend in all 11 starts. She hopes to keep the strong run going this week and improve her No. 12 ranking in the Volvik Race for the Card standings.
Another individual who has made every cut this year is Kyung Kim (Chandler, Arizona). The University of Southern California alumna captured a season-best solo third finish in March at Florida’s Natural Charity Classic, one of eight top-15 results in 12 starts. During her Trojans career, Kim was a two-time Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) First Team All-American and three-time All-Pac 12 First Team honoree.
Erin Harper, Patty Tavatanakit, Leona Maguire (No. 1 tee, 1:25 p.m.)
One of two competitors in the field representing Indiana University, Erin Harper (Dublin, Ohio) is set for the sixth start of her rookie campaign. She began her professional career in May at the Zimmer Biomet Championship hosted by Nancy Lopez, finishing tied for 51st. Harper concluded her time in Bloomington with a 74.16 career stroke average and was a medalist for the Hoosiers in the 2017 Fresno State Classic.
Patty Tavatanakit (Bangkok, Thailand) made the trek from Wisconsin to French Lick after going tied for 15th as a tournament sponsor exemption for the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic. Her 20-under par overall performance included an 18-hole tournament scoring record 11-under par 61 in the final round. In her last Symetra Tour start, Tavatanakit captured solo second at the Prasco Charity Championship.
Meanwhile, Leona Maguire (County Cavan, Ireland) remains comfortably inside the Volvik Race for the Card top-10 at No. 3 even though her most recent Symetra Tour start was The Forsyth Classic presented by Decatur Park District. In the absence, she played the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. A two-time champion on the “Road to the LPGA” in 2019, the Duke University alumna has five total top-five results.
Michelle Piyapattra, Julieta Granada, Lauren Coughlin (No. 1 tee, 8:47 a.m.)
A rough start to the season for Michelle Piyapattra (Eastvale, California) included six missed cuts in her first seven starts. She has played the weekend all five times since with a season-best performance tied for sixth at The Forsyth Classic presented by Decatur Park District. In total, Piyapattra owns five top-10 results since her rookie year of 2015 and a career-best solo third at the 2016 Fuccillo Kia Championship.
Julieta Granada (Asuncion, Paraguay) is on a mission this year and that is to gain full LPGA Tour status for the 2020 season. Through 10 events played, she has made the cut each time and never finished worse than tied for 33rd with a trio of runner-up results. A past Symetra Tour champion at the 2005 YWCA Futures Classic, Granada looks to find the winner’s circle again this week in southern Indiana.
Rounding out the final featured group is Lauren Coughlin (Charlottesville, Virginia), currently No. 17 in the Volvik Race for the Card just $8,977 out of the mix. The University of Virginia graduate has made it to the weekend nine times in 10 starts this year. A season-best showing came in March at the inaugural SKYiGOLF Championship when she finished tied for second, one of four top-20 results for Coughlin.