BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — A total of 144 players will take on the challenge that Battle Creek Country Club presents starting Friday with the first round of the eighth annual Casino Hotel Championship.
Three featured groups highlight the competition for the 14th event of the 2021 Symetra Tour season.
Defending Champion Liu (Guangdong, People’s Republic of China) highlights the first featured group competing this weekend at Battle Creek Country Club. Liu is one of three players this season to claim two wins. At Carlisle Arizona Women’s Classic and the Casino Del Sol Golf Classic, Liu was named the champion following a playoff. In 2018, Liu claimed six top-10 finishes leading her to both become Player of the Year and earn status on the LPGA Tour. She enters this week at No. 4 in the Race for the Card and looking to graduate to the Tour once again.
Joining Liu is Island Resort Championship winner, Morgane (Lausanne, Switzerland). A two-time All-ACC selection for Florida State University, she competed last season on the Ladies European Tour (LET) where she made six cuts in eight starts with a season-best finish of 10th at the inaugural Saudi Ladies International. first win came at the first leg of the Cup and is the current points leader with 500.
Finding the winner’s circle for the first time in her career earlier this season at the Copper Rock Championship is Bailey Tardy (Norcross, Georgia). In twelve starts and six cuts made, Tardy has earned $46,382 this season and sits at No. 13 in the Race for the Card. Last year, she was named the 2020 Symetra Rising Star after recording four top-10 finishes. The University of Georgia alumna was the 2016 SEC Freshman of the Year and a Women’s Golf Coaches Association All-SEC First Team All-American.
Sarah Hoffman, Erynne Lee, Samantha (No. 1 tee, 9:09 a.m.)
Sarah Hoffman (Saline, Michigan) kicks off the second featured group and is no stranger to Michigan. She competed at Grand Valley State University where she was a three-time Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) Division II All-American. Hoffman also returned to Michigan last year for her second job as a nurse amid the COVID-19 pandemic to work at Michigan Medicine in Ann Arbor. Her season-best finish this year of T24 came last month at the Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic.
Erynne Lee (Silverdale, Washington) won the Casino Hotel Championship in 2017. Her win at Battle Creek Country Club was one of three that year. Lee went on to graduate from the Symetra Tour in 2017 along with members such as Hannah Green, Celine and Emma Talley. Lee’s season-best finish on the Road to the LPGA this year was at the Prasco Charity Championship (T39).
Also competing in her home-state this week is Samantha (Grosse Pointe, Michigan). As an amateur she won the 2006 Michigan Junior Girls Amateur Championship and the 2007 Michigan Junior Girls PGA Championship. went on to become a two-time member of the winning NCAA Women's Golf National Championship team (2009, 2010) for Tulane University. This past June, Monday Qualified for the 2021 Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Simply Give, where she ultimately missed the cut.
Sarah White, Shasta , Gabrielle Shipley (No. 1 tee, 2:09 p.m.)
Sarah White (Grand Rapids, Michigan) gained membership last season after winning the 2020 Founders Tribute over Sophia Popov. A graduate of Texas State University, White won the 2018 Spring Lake Invitational in Spring Lake, Mich., at Spring Lake Country Club and competed in the U.S. Women’s Amateur that same year. Last season, she followed her first Symetra Tour win with a top-10 finish at the IOA Championship presented by Morongo Casino Resort and Spa.
Competing this week two hours south-west of where she grew up is Shasta (Flint, Michigan). The Jackson State University alumna owns three career top-10 performances on the Symetra Tour. Last year, ended the season fifth in average driving distance (277 yards). This week is third appearance at Battle Creek Country Club.
Gabrielle Shipley (Hastings, Michigan) completes the final featured group competing at Battle Creek Country Club this week. The Casino Hotel Championship was Shipley’s first Symetra Tour event in 2014. Since then, she has competed in the event three more times with a best T4 finish last year. Shipley and her sister, Sarah, are competing in the field this week on a sponsor exemption.