WORLEY, Idaho — The 16th stop on the 2021 “Road to the LPGA” takes the Symetra Tour to Circling Raven Golf Club in the Gem State for the inaugural Circling Raven Championship presented by KXLY 4 News Now from August 27-29.
Greeting the 132-player field in Worley, Idaho, is a total purse of $200,000. Individuals are set to compete in a 54-hole stroke play format with a cut to the low-60 players and ties after 36 holes. The winner’s share for the event is $30,000.
First- and second-round actio n begins at 7 a.m. PDT off No. 1 and No. 10 tees. Meanwhile, the final round will start at 7:30 a.m. PDT from No. 1 tee and a trophy presentation will follow on the 18th green.
SEVERAL COLLEGIATE TIES AT 16TH STOP
One individual with a connection to Idaho institutions for higher education is featured among the competition in the Gem State and that is current No. 5 in the Race for the Card, Sophie Hausmann (Nottuln, Germany). A first-time winner on the Symetra Tour at the 2021 IOA Championship presented by Morongo Casino Resort & Spa, she attended the University of Idaho.
“I spent my week off here to see friends and practice. It feels good to see familiar faces and brings back some good memories I made during college. It doesn’t really feel like I left long ago,” said Hausmann. “We played Circling Raven [Golf Club] on team retreats a few times, so I do know what kind of course to expect, which is nice, and I do believe people around here are super excited to have us. I’m excited to play here. It’s nice to know the area a little better, and I’m hoping to enjoy the week as much as I can.”
Gonzaga University, University of Oregon, University of Washington, and Washington State University each have one representative in Bianca Pagdanganan (Mandaluyong City, Philippines), Kathleen Scavo (Benicia, California), Julianne Alvarez (Wellington, New Zealand) and Alivia Reynolds (Gig Harbor, Washington), respectively.
COUNTRIES (AND STATES) OF THE CIRCLING RAVEN CHAMPIONSHIP
A total of 29 countries are represented this week at the Circling Raven Championship, led by the United States with 71 players then followed by Sweden having the next highest of nine competitors.
“This venue looks amazing and the nature up north is beautiful, it feels a little bit like home. My mom is with me this week caddying which is exciting, and this is the first time she’s back since the 2020 Symetra Tour Championship,” said Frida Kinhult (Fiskebackskil, Sweden), a 2020 Symetra Tour graduate. “I’m very hungry for good results these last five events. My goal is obviously to finish top-10 and something really good needs to happen for that, or a couple good things. From last year, I learned that anything could happen the very last minute and I’m not the person who is going to give up.”
Individuals from 24 different states are also set to tee it up at Circling Raven Golf Club. One player hails from the host state, while California boasts the most with 13.
“Being from Idaho, I am mostly looking forward to getting the chance to play in front of family, friends, and local fans,” said Gabby Lemieux (Caldwell, Idaho). “It’s a very beautiful area, so I hope the players get the chance to explore and enjoy northern Idaho. I know how excited everyone within the Coeur D’Alene tribe and Circling Raven is for a Symetra Tour event to be here.”
ROOKIES APLENTY IN THE GEM STATE
Numerous professionals in their first year on the Symetra Tour have made the trek to Worley, Idaho, as 27 rookies are in the field and eager for the 16th event of the Symetra Tour season. Among them is Haylee Harford (Leavittsburg, Ohio), who is currently No. 15 in the Race for the Card with five top-10 finishes this season.
“It’s crazy that the last few events are already here. I’m feeling confident about the position I’m in and how much I’ve grown throughout the year,” said Harford. “I’m looking forward to finishing strong.”
RACE FOR THE CARD UPDATE
The Symetra Tour annually awards LPGA Tour membership to the top players on the Race for the Card money list. With 15 tournaments in the books, the top-10 underwent some shifting after the Four Winds Invitational. Eight members from the group are Idaho including Morgan Metraux (Laussane, Switzerland), currently ranked No. 7.
“I’m excited about the position I’m in, but I’m trying to keep my mind off the rankings and play as freely as possible. Being in the top-10 this close to the end of the season is a great feeling but it can be added pressure, so I take every event one week at a time. It’s not always easy but if I can do that, I think I’ll be in a good position coming into the Tour Championship,” Metraux said. “This week, I’m just really excited to play this great course in a new state on Tour.”
From 1999-2002, the official qualifying tour of the LPGA handed out three cards. Then from 2003-2007, that number increased to five before 10 were distributed starting in 2008. Since the inaugural year, a total of 162 players have graduated to the big stage.