NORTH PORT, Fla.— A total of 132 players will take on the challenge of Charlotte Harbor National Golf Club at Bobcat Trail starting Thursday with the first round of the inaugural SKYiGOLF Championship.
Three featured groups highlight the competition for the first event of the 2019 Symetra Tour season.
Ruixin Liu, Becca Huffer, Lori Beth Adams (No. 10 tee, 12:56 p.m.)
Last year’s Symetra Tour Player of the Year as the No. 1 individual in the Volvik Race for the Card, Ruixin Liu (Guangdong, China) makes a spot start on the “Road to the LPGA” in preparation for a full LPGA Tour campaign. The 2018 Symetra Tour graduate won the final two events last season—IOA Golf Classic and Symetra Tour Championship—and looks to make it three straight this week.
Meanwhile, Becca Huffer (Denver, Colorado) is in the same shoes as Liu after finishing tied for 10th at the inaugural LPGA Q-Series in November. She’s gearing up for a packed slate on the big stage after three top-10 finishes on the Symetra Tour last year, including a career-best runner-up result at the Prasco Charity Championship.
Rounding out the group is Lori Beth Adams (Burlington, North Carolina). A University of North Carolina Wilmington alumna, Adams earned Priority List Category 14 status for the 2019 LPGA Tour season after a tied for 33rd showing at Q-Series. She’ll juggle both schedules and is using this tournament to test her game for the year ahead.
August Kim, Madison Pressel, Vicky Hurst (No. 1 tee, 7:59 a.m.)
A trio of Florida natives comprise the second featured group. August Kim (St. Augustine, Florida) has concluded each of her two seasons on the Symetra Tour inside the top-30 in the Volvik Race for the Card. Winner of the 2016 Big Ten Championship individual title for Purdue University, she has made the cut in 19-of-32 starts since her rookie year (2017).
In addition, Madison Pressel (Boca Raton, Florida) is coming off a big year that saw her record four top-10 finishes and season-best tied for second result at the Garden City Charity Classic. A past Symetra Tour champion when she claimed the 2014 Forsyth Classic presented by Decatur Park District, Pressel hopes to strike some home state magic at Charlotte Harbor National Golf Club at Bobcat Trail.
Finally, eight-time Symetra Tour winner and 2011 Solheim Cup Team USA member Vicky Hurst (Melbourne, Florida) is another player to keep an eye on. She has made 200 career starts on the LPGA Tour, including 27 in majors. Her most recent win came at the 2018 Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic.
Sarah Burnham, Sophia Schubert, Yujeong Son (No. 1 tee, 1:40 p.m.)
Three rookies for the third pairing and they are led by Sarah Burnham (Maple Grove, Minnesota), who finished tied for 27th at Q-Series and will also be competing on the LPGA Tour this year. She was a three-time First Team All-Big Ten selection and two-time Big Ten Player of the Year while at Michigan State University, becoming the first player in program history to win the award twice.
Another fantastic freshman set to make her professional debut in the SKYiGOLF Championship is Sophia Schubert (Oak Ridge, Tennessee), the 2017 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship victor. Before ending her collegiate career as a three-time All-Big 12 Team selection for the University of Texas, Schubert spent one year at Auburn University where she was named to the 2014 SEC All-Freshman Team.
The final new face in this featured group is Yujeong Son (Busan, Republic of Korea). The 18-year-old claimed medalist honors at Stage I of the 2018 LPGA Qualifying Tournament and is one of six teenagers in the field this week. She also recently fulfilled high school education requirements through the Connections Academy online program, earning a diploma in December.