Epson Tour

Tanguay, Marchand chasing LPGA Tour cards in Symetra finale

Anne-Catherine Tanguay (Bernard Brault/ Golf Canada)

The Symetra Tour, the official qualifying Tour for the LPGA, is in Daytona Beach for the final event of the 2017 season. The top 10 money-earners at the end of the Symetra Tour Championship will earn LPGA Tour cards for the 2018 season. Canada’s Anne-Catherine Tanguay (Quebec City) currently sits at No. 7 with $73,309 while Brittany Marchand (Orangeville, Ont.) is No. 21 with $32,638.

The Symetra Tour Championship is a 72-hole tournament that starts on Thursday, October 5 and concludes on Sunday, Oct. 8. There will be a cut to the low 60 and ties following second-round play on Friday, Oct. 6.

After 21 events in 14 states around the country, the top 108 rising stars in women’s golf are at LPGA International to vie for a share of the $200,000 purse and the winner’s payout of $30,000. The field includes players from the United States and 23 countries around the globe.
Play will start at 8 a.m. all four rounds. The final-round will be broadcast on Facebook Live from 1 -3  p.m. with host Amy Rogers and analyst Gail Graham, a two-time LPGA Tour winner.

The battle to get into the top 10 will be as fierce as ever. While the top 10 has created more separation from the rest than in years past, everyone in the top 23 still has a mathematical chance to finish inside the top 10. If No. 23 on the money list, Laura Wearn (Charlotte, N.C.), wins the $30,000 she would move to $61,914, which is $114 more than No. 10, Emma Talley (Princeton, Ky.), has currently earned. Talley is $7,639 in front of No. 11 Daniela Darquea (Quito, Ecuador).

The Symetra Tour Championship is the sixth event in a row for the Tour. The grueling stretch started in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on August 31. As you would expect, the field is incredibly strong with all the top players fighting for a spot in the top 10 or a chance to skip Stage II of LPGA Qualifying Tournament (top 15 after the top 10 excluding LPGA Tour members). The top 23, all with a fighter’s chance to make the top 10, are in the field. In fact, the top 30 on the Volvik Race for the Card money list are all in the field.

Additionally, there are 26 current LPGA Tour members in the field. There are also nine players in the field from Florida: Daniela Iacobelli (Melbourne), August Kim (Saint Augustine), Cindy LaCrosse (Tampa), Alexandra Newell (Tampa), Catherine O’Donnell (Ponte Vedra), Erica Popson (Davenport), Madison Pressel (Boca Raton), Sierra Sims (Tampa) and Carlie Yadloczky (Casselberry).

The Symetra Tour has played the Tour Championship at LPGA International since 2012. Daniela Iacobelli won the inaugural event at LPGA International to earn her Tour card. She is back in the field this week. Megan McChrystal won in 2013, Marita Engzelius won in 2014 and Sherman Santiwiwatthanphong won in 2015. Nicole Broch Larsen won the Tour Championship in 2016, which was played at Alaqua Country Club in Longwood due to Hurricane Matthew.

WHO’S LOCKED FOR THE LPGA: The Symetra Tour has determined that the top five on the Volvik Race for the Card money list – No. 1 Benyapa Niphatsophon, No. 2 Celine Boutier, No. 3 Hannah Green, No. 4 Nanna Koerstz Madsen and No. 5 Erynne Lee – have already secured their LPGA Tour cards for 2018. Regardless of what they do this week, they are safe to finish in the top 10. Here is information on all five:

Benyapa Niphatsophon, 20, Bangkok, Thailand – She finished in the top 10 in 11 of 19 starts with five second place finishes. She has not won this season, which makes her position atop of the money list even more impressive. Niphatsophon has five second place finishes and ranks second on Tour with a 69.933 scoring average. Her nickname is “Gift”.

Celine Boutier, 23, Montrouge, France – She won two of the biggest purses on Tour this year – the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic and the Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge. She is as consistent as they come and has made the cut in 18 of 19 starts. She was the 2013-14 WGCA National Player of the Year at Duke. Hannah Green, 20, Perth, Australia – She captured her third victory on Monday at the IOA Golf Classic and also won the Sara Bay Classic and the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout. She has 11 top 10 finishes. Green has become good friends with Karrie Webb and grew up playing junior golf with Minjee Lee. She finished second to Lydia Ko at the 2015 New Zealand Women’s Open.

Nanna Koerstz Madsen, 22, Copenhagen, Denmark – She won her third tournament in just her 11th start of the season. Koerstz Madsen played in three LPGA events this year through her Battlefield Promotion. She won on the Ladies European Tour (LET) in 2016 and represented Denmark at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Erynne Lee, 24, Silverdale, Washington – She won twice this year at the Donald Ross Centennial Classic and the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship and has six top 10 finishes. She won her first event on the Symetra Tour to start the 2016 season, but did not win again until the middle of this year. She didn’t notch a top 10 finish in the first seven events and then dad, Brian, came out on her bag and things changed for the better. Lee’s mom passed away in 2011 while she was a freshman at UCLA.

11-23 HAVE A CHANCE AT A TOUR CARD: Every year, someone from outside the top 10 jumps into the top 10 at the final event. There are 13 players currently outside the top 10 that have a chance to spoil the party for someone inside the top 10.
Here is a look at what players 11 through 23 must do to have a chance. The projections are based on solo finishes and a cut of exactly 60 players. It also assumes that players in the top 10 don’t earn money.

Ranking Player Earned Minimum finish New total
11 Daniel Darquea $54,161 5th ($8,857) 10th
12 Sophia Popov $54,161 3rd ($14,102) 9th
13 Kendall Dye $48,087 3rd ($14,102) 10th
14 Paola Moreno $45,591 2nd ($19,363) 9th
15 Elizabeth Szokol $45,058 2nd ($19,363) 9th
16 Ruixin Liu $37,329 Win ($30,000) 9th
17 Kim Welch $37,975 Win ($30,000) 9th
18 Daniela Iacobelli $35,607 Win ($30,000) 9th
19 Caroline Inglis $34,754 Win ($30,000) 9th
20  Allison Emrey  $32,908  Win ($30,000) 10th
21  Brittany Marchand  $32,638  Win ($30,000) 10th
22  Liv Cheng  $31,965  Win ($30,000) 10th
23  Laura Wearn  $31,914  Win ($30,000) 10th

HISTORY MADE WITH THREE PLAYERS OVER $100K: For the first time in the 37-year history of the Symetra Tour, three players have earned over $100,000 in a single-season. Niphatsophon ($109,736), Boutier ($108,690) and Green ($105,054) have all crossed six-figures. There are five other players that have a chance to cross $100,000 this week.

Niphatsophon, Boutier and Green are just the third, fourth and fifth players in the history of the Tour to earn at least $100,000. In 2016, Madelene Sagstrom ($167,064) and Ally McDonald ($110,359) became the first two.