LOOK OUT! The Road to the LPGA Symetra Tour 2017 is gonna be a wild ride. The LPGA’s developmental tour has been delivering great golf and great opportunities for over 35 years now (under a few different sponsor names).

And there’s no telling what could happen this year. But, fear not! I do have some ideas! Yep, just for you, here’s an early peak at some 2017 Symetra Tour possibilities… let’s call it my Look Out List if you will… as in… “Look out, this girl is good!” or “Look out, this is gonna be a real golf tournament!” or “Look out, the Abominable Snowman just ran across the fairway!”.

I guess I could have called it a Fore-List but that implies bad news… and I’m thinkin’ positive right now folks… so this is all good. Yeah… go ahead… AND. GET. EXCITED!

Allie’s Top Five Look Out List for the Symetra Tour 2017

1Look out for Laura Wearn and Natalie Sheary!

Laura Wearn – image credit: Symetra Tour

What do these two golfers have in common? Well, they both won a Symetra event last year but didn’t earn quite enough money to snag a LPGA Card via a Top Ten finish, and they also didn’t play well enough at Final Stage to earn their LPGA Card.

My point about them is that they are obviously playing well, and, maybe more than anyone out there, they will be hungry! Beware.

Last year Sheary finished number one in driving accuracy hitting 89.39 percent of fairways. She was accurate with approach shots as well finishing 2016 6th in GIRs at 72.91 percent.

Maybe there is a little something in approaching the green from the fairway… Wearn’s strength was also off the tee, but it was her distance which ranked 3rd in 2016 at 272.74 yards off the tee. Her long drives set her up for her 3rd place ranking in total eagles at 6 for the year. Not bad!

Sheary and Wearn have the hunger for a great year, and they’re good enough for the Big League… they just have to get there.

2Look out for the Legends at French Lick! 

The Pete Dye Course at the French Lick Resort in Indiana. | Image credit: Symetra Tour

On their Pete Dye Course, French Lick Resort in Indiana will be hosting 81 LPGA senior Legends players for the first inaugural 54-hole Senior LPGA Championship July 10th-12th.
Let’s go, Rosie Jones! Let’s go, Nancy Scranton! Amy Alcott! That’s good stuff.

But that’s not all that’s happening at French Lick. July 7th-9th, the Friday through Sunday preceding the Senior Championship, French Lick’s Donald Ross Course will host the Symetra Tour for one of its largest purses of the year, 200,000 dollars.

That’s what I call working together! A real nice celebration of women’s golf indeed. Learn more about this exciting event on the Symetra Tour website.

3Look out for the bounce back kids!

2015 Guardian Retirement Championship winner, Rachel Rohanna | image credit: Symetra Tour

Look out for the bounce back kids! Casey Grice, Vicky Hurst, and Rachel Rohanna all had full status 2016 LPGA Cards due to their 2015 Symetra Tour Top Ten performances.

After a mediocre 2016 on the LPGA, all three players were forced back to Final Stage where they all failed to renew their full status Cards for 2017. Keep in mind, they all will have some varying level of conditional status on the LPGA this year, but if they don’t get into the right events and get off to a strong start they could end up playing a large portion of their season back on the Symetra Tour.

For Rohanna and Grice, last year was their rookie LPGA season and they probably learned a lot. Rohanna finished 135th on the money list and Grice was 116th. Now, as veterans of both tours, they will be bringing a lot of game this year and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them handle the adversity well and climb right back to the top.

Hurst’s rookie year on the LPGA was in 2009 where she earned her Card after a Top Ten on the developmental tour. While playing on the LPGA she earned around 1.5 million dollars over 5 years, but then lost her LPGA Card again in 2014. She then went back to the Symetra Tour and had another Top Ten year putting her back onto the LPGA for 2016. Now her Card is questionable again. Can she climb back to full status?

Hurst withdrew from this past Final Stage after two solid rounds sitting at even par. Hopefully, the WD was nothing serious and she will be back in fine form with conditional LPGA status or on the Symetra Tour or where she has dominated before.

4Look out for California!?

From what I can tell, from my sneak-peek preview of the 2017 schedule, it looks like the Symetra Tour will play three events in California this year. For the past few years the Tour has played at Tukwet Canyon in Beaumont, California and that has been the entire portion of western events. It looks like this new Cali Swing will happen around March and April.

With the Symetra Tour’s Title Sponsor, Symetra being an insurance company based out of Washington State it makes sense for the Tour to establish itself out west. Not to mention, all the talented golfers from the west coast will also appreciate the move. Hopefully, this can be the beginning of a more equally distributed geographical schedule. I think a big Western Swing could bring more people out to watch and more equality in the schedule for players from all over. I approve of the move!

5Look out for “The Goose”!

Clariss Guce – winner of the 2016 Decatur-Forsyth Classic | image credit: Symetra Tour

Okay, so maybe “The Goose” isn’t a household name just yet, but Clariss Guce (as I call her, “The Goose”) is going to be motivated for this 2017 Symetra Tour Season. You would be too if you had finished 11th on the money list just one spot/ a thousand dollars short of an LPGA Tour Card. Guce also had the joy of missing the last cut to earn LPGA status at Final Stage by one stroke.

If that’s not enough to get her going, then I don’t know what is. Guce, a California native who will definitely enjoy the Cali Swing, won two Symetra events last year and has a lot of game. She is a friend of mine, and we enjoyed a few good pick-up b-ball games last season… Let me tell you… the girl can shoot as good as she putts! That’s why “The Goose” is my number one Symetra Tour Look-Out! Let’s go!

So, now ya know what to watch for! I hope all y’all fans enjoy the season and I hope that all of us golfers give you so much good stuff to look-out for that you just can’t help but smile!

Allie WhiteAllie White from Lancaster, Ohio, is a professional golfer and golf journalist. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Journalism at Ohio University. With four years of experience on the Symetra Tour, a cut-made at the 2009 U.S. Women’s Open, and a 2016 Ohio Open Championship, White hopes to continue her golf career during her academic breaks.
“I grew up on an 88-acre farm in Southeast Ohio and currently live in the same area with my dog Finley where I cheer like crazy for all of my favorite Ohio sports teams. I love to play my guitar, listen to music, watch movies, and read good stuff!

My two biggest golf dreams are to play in Toledo Ohio’s LPGA event and to make it back to another US Open. I’m still hunting for that first hole in one!”

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Feature photo: Casey Grice by Scott A. Miller.
All Images courtesy of LPGA media, Symetra Tour (Scott A. Miller)