The Symetra Tour, the official qualifying Tour for the LPGA, returns to action after a week off with the fourth annual Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic at The Links at Stoney Point from Thursday, May 11 through Sunday, May 14. This is the seventh tournament of the 2017 season.
Play begins Thursday, May 11 at 7:30 a.m. from the first and tenth tees. There will be a cut made to the low 60 and ties following Friday’s second round. Play will begin at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
The field of 144 players from the United States and 29 countries around the globe will compete for a $200,000 tournament purse, the second largest on Tour. The winner will earn $30,000 and will likely move into the top five on the Volvik Race for the Card money list. The top 10 on the final money list after the Symetra Tour Championship (October 5-8) will earn LPGA membership for the 2018 season.
The Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic is one of the most important events because of the purse. Based on the current money list, anyone in the top 45 could move to No. 1 on the money list with a win this week.
This is the first 72-hole event of the 2017 season. There are five four-day events on the schedule.
Last year, Madelene Sagstrom blitzed the field in Greenwood winning by six shots at 10-under, 278. She posted rounds of 66-67-71 on the first three days to build a nine-shot lead heading into the final round and cruised to victory. She went onto shatter the single-season earnings record ($167,064) to win Symetra Player of the Year honors. Sagstrom is now playing on the LPGA Tour where she has made two cuts in six starts thus far. Wei-Ling Hsu won the inaugural event in Greenwood while Alejandra Llaneza won in 2015. Hsu has played on the LPGA Tour for the last two seasons and has earned over $400,000 while Llaneza played on the LPGA in 2016, but is back on the Symetra Tour this year.
The tournament has been extremely successful in raising money for local women’s and children’s charities in the Lakelands region (Beyond Abuse, Bowers Rodgers Children’s Home, Greenwood Pathway House, Piedmont Technical College Foundation, Lander Foundation, Greenwood Promise, Burton Center, Connie Maxwell, YMCA and the Salvation Army). In just three short years, the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic has raised over $750,000 for local charities. The tournament is expecting to exceed $1 million after this year’s event.
The field this week is strong with nine of the top 10 and 18 of the top 20 on the current money list scheduled to compete. With the LPGA off this week, there are 39 LPGA Tour members in the field.
The only player in the field that hails from the state of South Carolina is Kristy McPherson (Conway), who has 16 career top 10 finishes during her LPGA career. McPherson also played college golf in the state at South Carolina where she won seven times. Laura Wearn (Charlotte, N.C.) also played college golf in the state at Furman.
The highest ranked player in the field according to the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings is Nanna
Koerstz Madsen (Copenhagen, Denmark), who won the last event and now is No. 75 in the world. Koerstz Madsen has a realistic chance to make the 2017 Solheim Cup for Team Europe if she continues to impress captain Annika Sorenstam.