GARDEN CITY, Kan. — A total of 132 players will take on the challenge that Buffalo Dunes Golf Course presents starting Friday with the first round of the sixth annual Garden City Charity Classic.
Three featured groups highlight the competition for the 20th event of the 2019 Symetra Tour season.
Patty Tavatanakit, Robynn Ree, Lauren Coughlin (No. 1 tee, 1:24 p.m.)
After finding the winner’s circle for a third time this season, Patty Tavatanakit (Bangkok, Thailand) leads the way. In only eight starts, the two-time Women’s Golf Coaches Association First Team All-American at UCLA has earned $110,487. Her wins include Donald Ross Classic, Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic and Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge. She’ll continue to chase Player of the Year honors in Finney County.
Another Pac-12 alumna Robynn Ree (Redondo Beach, California) joins the trio. A two-time Symetra Tour winner in 15 events played, she captured the 2017 East Lake Cup individual title as a sophomore for the University of Southern California. Last year as a LPGA Tour rookie, Ree competed in 21 tournaments and played the weekend 10 times with a season-best tied for ninth showing at the Cambia Portland Classic.
Preparing for her first appearance in Garden City, Lauren Coughlin (Charlottesville, Virginia) is currently No. 14 on the Volvik Race for the Card money list and just $7,898 outside the top-10. Through 16 starts, the 2016 ACC Player of the Year for the University of Virginia has captured 11 top-25 results including a season-best tied for second in the SKYiGOLF Championship. Coughlin has also missed only one cut.
Julieta Granada, Esther Lee, Sophia Popov (No. 1 tee, 1:57 p.m.)
Making the trek to western Kansas following her fifth top-10 finish of the season is current No. 7 in the Volvik Race for the Card, Julieta Granada (Asuncion, Paraguay). She opened her year with back-to-back tied for second results before securing a season-best runner-up in the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout. Granada also represented her native country as the flag-bearer at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
Esther Lee (Los Alamitos, California) adds to the firepower of this featured group, having missed out on the weekend just twice in 17 starts. A three-time medalist for the University of Colorado, Lee was also a two-time CU Female Co-Athlete of the Year selection. Since making her Symetra Tour debut at the 2018 Florida’s Natural Charity Classic, she has 20 top-25 finishes in 31 total starts including 12 top-10 results.
Meanwhile, Sophia Popov (Heidelberg, Germany) has not missed a cut in 12 total Symetra Tour events played over the last two years. During that span, half of those starts have resulted in top-10s. Across 39 tournaments on the “Road to the LPGA” between the 2016 and 2017 seasons, she made 35 cuts with 11 top-10 finishes. At her lone Garden City Charity Classic appearance in 2017, Popov went tied for fourth.
Yujeong Son, Janie Jackson, Lori Beth Adams (No. 1 tee, 8:55 a.m.)
She competed at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course last year as an amateur in what was her first tournament on the Symetra Tour and now Yujeong Son (Busan, Republic of Korea) returns to Garden City, only this time as a pro. The rookie owns five top-10 performances in her last seven starts, highlighted by a career-best runner-up at the Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge. Son is ranked at No. 15 in the Volvik Race for the Card.
Janie Jackson (Huntsville, Alabama) . The three-time Alabama High School Class 6A individual title winner is coming off her career-best showing of tied for third at the Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge. Jackson went tied for 22nd and tied for 25th at her previous two starts for this event in 2017 and 2018.
Rounding out the final featured group is Lori Beth Adams (Burlington, North Carolina). Named the 2013 Colonial Athletic Association Women’s Golfer of the Year, she was also a two-time First Team All-CAA selection for theUniversity of North Carolina Wilmington. Adams earned Priority List Category 14 status for the 2019 LPGA season after ending tied for 33rd at Q-Series, but has made 11 Symetra Tour starts.