by Dave Andrews.
Ten Symetra Tour players earn their 2016 cards
8 months, 14 states, 23 events… that was the Symetra Tour this year. “The Road to the LPGA,” as the tour is nicknamed, was a long and winding one for the young women pros hoping to earn their LPGA cards for the 2016 season. The Symetra Tour’s season ended on Sunday, October 18th, in Daytona Beach, Florida, with the Tour Championship at LPGA International Golf Club, home of the LPGA and Symetra Tour headquarters. The Symetra Tour is owned by the LPGA.
Ten Symetra Tour players reached their goal at the end of this year’s journey. They finished the season in the top 10 on the tour’s money list and will now have full playing status next year on the world’s biggest stage in women’s golf. Just three of those players will be rookies on the LPGA. Seven of them will be returning to the LPGA after failing to maintain their playing status in previous seasons.
Getting to the LPGA is tough. Staying there is just as difficult for most. As another example, of the ten Symetra Tour players that earned their cards last year for this year’s LPGA season only five of them earned enough money to maintain any LPGA playing status for 2016. They will have to make the hard climb back to the LPGA.
The climb to the LPGA gets tougher every year because the quality of play in women’s pro golf has risen steadily around the world. No longer is the LPGA, founded in 1950, dominated by American players as it was during the first five decades of its existence. One look at any leaderboard in an LPGA event now will show you that the women’s game has exploded in Asia over the last 15 to 20 years, adding a new dimension to the competitive makeup of the tour. The tour is now dominated by Asian players. Currently, 16 of the top 25 players on this year’s LPGA money list are Asians. Only 7 are from the United States. 2 are from Europe. The competition to reach the LPGA and to stay there has never been more intense for young players trying to make their mark in the women’s game.
In December at the final stage of LPGA Q School, which will also be held at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, another 20 players will earn full status on the LPGA for next year’s season. They will join the 10 players who have made it to the LPGA through the Symetra Tour.
Those 10 players based on their finish on the Symetra Tour’s money list are…
1. Annie Park from the United States (rookie)
2. Giulia Molinaro from Italy (returning to the LPGA)
3. Brianna Do from the United States (returning to the LPGA)
4. Daniela Iacobelli from the United States (returning to the LPGA)
5. Dani Holmqvist from Sweden (returning to the LPGA)
6. Lee Lopez from the United States (rookie)
7. Alejandra Llaneza from Mexico (returning to the LPGA)
8. Vicky Hurst from the United States (returning to the LPGA)
9. Casey Grice from the United States (returning to the LPGA)
10. Rachel Rohanna from the United States (rookie)
Dave Andrews is a retired television news reporter. He is also an avid golfer who has become a big fan and frequently caddies for the rising US and International golf stars of the LPGA and the Symetra 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.