by Dave Andrews
It’s what they all play for on the Symetra Tour. The Race for the Card is what matters the most.
At the end of every season players on the Symetra Tour hope to find themselves inside the Top 10 on the tour’s money list. If they achieve that goal they will earn their full status cards on the LPGA Tour for the following year. Reaching the LPGA is something they have all worked for, for many years as amateurs and young professionals. It will propel them to the elite level of professional women’s golf. It can make them household names around the world and earn them long, financially rewarding careers in the game to which they have dedicated themselves.
This year’s Symetra Tour season has just passed the one-third mark. With the completion of this past week’s event in Battle Creek, Michigan, 9 events have been played. 14 events remain in the 23-event season, culminating in October in Daytona Beach, Florida at LPGA International Golf Club, the home of the LPGA’s headquarters. The Symetra Tour is owned by the LPGA and it is its official feeder tour. Its tagline is… “The Road to the LPGA.”
With just over a third of the 2015 season in the books, here is a look at the 10 players who now command the top 10 spots on the money list. They are in good shape now, but they have by no means guaranteed themselves of being on the LPGA next season. There is a lot of golf left to be played this year, and there are a lot of players lurking right behind them on the money list, hoping to move up and take their own spot in the Top 10 on the final list at season’s end.
#1 ($37,271) Alejandra Llaneza
Llaneza, from Mexico, is a fourth-year player on the Symetra Tour who currently has limited playing status (through Q School) on the LPGA. She has one victory this season on the Symetra Tour. She played her college golf for the University of Arizona and first started playing the game at the age of 10.
#2 ($34,759) Jimin Kang
Kang, from Arizona (originally from South Korea), is a veteran professional golfer trying to make her way back to full status on the LPGA. She has limited status this season. She was the top money winner on the Symetra (Futures) Tour in 2004 when she first earned her LPGA card for the 2005 season. She has one victory on the Symetra Tour so far this season. She played her college golf at Arizona State University and turned pro in 2002.
#3 ($34,387) Augusta James
James, from Canada, is a rookie on the tour this season. She has one victory and two top 10 finishes. She played her college golf at North Carolina State University where she was a two-time All-American. She began playing golf at the age of five.
#4 ($33,373) Brianna Do
Do, from California, is a fourth-year player on the Symetra Tour and has had limited playing status (through Q School) on the LPGA for the past three seasons. She has five top 10 finishes so far this season on the Symetra Tour. She played her college golf at UCLA and first began playing the game when she was eight years old.
#5 (32,154) Rachel Rohanna
Rohanna, from Pennsylvania, is a third-year player on the tour this season. She has one victory so far and three top 10 finishes. She played her college golf at Ohio State University and was All Big 10 for two of her years there. She was the medalist in the 2010 U S Women’s Amateur. She began playing golf at the age of seven.
See the Women’s Golf interview with Rachel Rohanna from earlier this year.
#6 ($30,263) Haruka Morita-Wanyaolu
Morita-Wanyaolu has Chinese and Japanese citizenship. She is a rookie on the Symetra Tour. She has one victory and three top 10 finishes so far this season. She grew up playing most of her golf in Japan. She was a member of the Japan Golf Association national team and was the winner of Japan’s Women’s Amateur Championship in 2013. She began playing golf at the age of nine.
#7 ($29,792) Lee Lopez
Lopez, from California, is a second-year player on the Symetra Tour. She has four top 10 finishes so far this season. She played her college golf at UCLA and Long Beach State University. She was an All-American at UCLA in 2012. She began playing golf when she was four years old.
#8 ($27,725) Casey Grice
Grice, from Texas, is a second-year player on the Symetra Tour. She has two top 10 finishes on the tour so far this season. She has limited playing status, through Q School, this season on the LPGA. She played her college golf at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill where she was a two-time honorable mention All-American. She first began playing golf when she was twelve years old.
#9 ($26,934) Maude-Aimee Leblanc
Leblanc, from Canada, is a second-year player on the Symetra Tour. She has five top 10 finishes so far this season. She had limited playing status, through Q School, on the LPGA in 2012, and 2013. She played her college golf at Purdue University and was a member of its NCAA championship team in 2011.
#10 ($26,356) Madeleine Sheils
Sheils, from Idaho, is a third-year player on the tour this season. She has one victory and two top 10 finishes this year. She played her college golf at the University of Nebraska where she was first team All Big 10 in 2012 and a scholastic All-American all four years. She began playing the game when she was five years old.
Dave Andrews is a retired television news reporter. He is also an avid golfer who has become a big fan of the LPGA and theSymetra Tour.
He is the author of Pops and Sunshine, a novel and screenplay about a young woman pro’s dream and struggle to make it to the LPGA.
The screenplay has been optioned by a production company in Hollywood. The novel is available at Kindle Ebooks.
Follow Dave online on Twitter@PopsandSunshine
Also by Dave Andrews
A caddy’s view of Canada’s Henderson sisters on their way to LPGA success.
Inside the ropes at the unique Patty Berg Memorial where LPGA Legends play alongside the future stars of the Symetra and LPGA Tours.
The rich history of the South Atlantic Women’s Amateur Golf Championship (The SALLY)where winners seem to automatically become multiple LPGA and Major Championship winners.