PRESSEL DRIVING ON TO CAREER SEASON
The game of golf is life for 2014 Forsyth Classic presented by Decatur Park District champion Madison Pressel (Boca Raton, Florida) and while she is experiencing a career year on the course, her “Drive On” spirit is guided by what has happened off the course in chasing a dream of playing on the LPGA Tour.
“There’s been a lot that has gone on in my life over 27 years, but it is nice to have that constant of golf,” said Pressel, who hasn’t missed a cut in 10 starts this season. “You don’t have to separate golf and life, but you can focus on competing and surround yourself with the positive people that help you become the best version of yourself.”
In 2003, Pressel’s mother Kathy died of breast cancer. Over the last 12 years, Pressel has worked with sister and LPGA veteran Morgan to further research associated with the disease. That includes a charity event raising more than $8.5 million during that span.
“To be part of a foundation that raises millions and millions of dollars, and to see the way cancer is treated now versus when she went through it, the development is amazing to be part of,” Pressel said. “I was in seventh grade when I lost my mom, and all I really remember is her being sick. I was quite young when she was first diagnosed and don’t have many memories from that age. I learned through the rest of my family what she was like pre-illness. I’ve been lucky to have the family support with my sister, aunts and uncles, grandparents, long-term boyfriend. At the junior level, my mom wasn’t able to watch since I didn’t play much competitively while she was alive. I know she’s watching now and proud of me.”
THANK YOU DECATUR FOR 35 AMAZING YEARS
On Tuesday night at Hickory Point Golf Club, Symetra Tour Chief Business Officer Mike Nichols was joined by “Road to the LPGA” founder Eloise Trainor in making a series of presentations to several local organizations that have supported the Forsyth Classic since its inception in 1985.
The festivities began with Nichols delivering a granite plaque to be displayed on the course that reads as follows: “In recognition of teeing up the future starts of the LPGA for 35 years. We are eternally grateful to the sponsors, staff, volunteers and housing hosts who dedicated themselves to consistently delivering a great golf experience for our players. Thank you from your friends at the LPGA Tour. 1985-2019.”
Nichols and Trainor then recognized Decatur Park District, the Decatur Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, and tournament director Cindy Deadrick-Wolfer with a framed replica of the plaque. Concluding the evening, Nichols gave Trainor her own memento in recognition of planting the seeds for the longest running tournament in Symetra Tour history.
BRADLEY ALUMNA LEMEK RECEIVES STRONG SUPPORT
She may not be in Nebraska anymore, but Danielle Lemek (Doniphan, Nebraska) has clicked her heels together and found the way back to Central Illinois where she competed collegiately for Bradley University from 2012-2016.
The 35th annual Forsyth Classic presented by Decatur Park District will mark the first time Lemek competes as a professional in the region that helped mold her into the golfer she is today. Furthermore, the event allows her to reconnect with an individual who has played an integral role in mentoring the four-time All-Missouri Valley Conference performer on and off the course.
“I was able to obtain an exceptional education and fortunate enough to be coached by Mary Swanson, who played at Princeton University and on the Symetra Tour when it was known as the Futures Tour,” said Lemek. “She gave me the opportunity to play for her at the Division I level and now helps me obtain the tools and resources to better me as a person and player. Her endless support means so much and I don’t think I would be here today without it.”
WEST MICHIGAN NATIVE SHIPLEY QUALIFIES FOR MEIJER LPGA CLASSIC
Ahead of the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give, Symetra Tour member and third-year professional Gabrielle Shipley (Hastings, Michigan) fired a 3-under par 69 in the Monday qualifier at Boulder Creek Golf Club in Belmont, Mich. to pace 32 hopefuls and earn one of the final two spots in the field.
The West Michigan native and Grand Valley State University alumna tees it up today in what will be her first career LPGA Tour start. It just so happens to be contested down the road from Boulder Creek at Blythefield Country Club, part of the greater Grand Rapids metropolitan area which Shipley calls home.
“Having qualified for the Meijer LPGA Classic is so special for me,” said Shipley, who has made six starts on the Symetra Tour this season. “It is my first LPGA event and pretty much in my backyard. I grew up just south of here and went to school right around the corner in Allendale. God was definitely looking over me on Monday and believe He will all weekend. I’m really looking forward to competing, especially with family, friends and all the local fans out supporting.”