Jul 20, 2013 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
As they do each July, the top future stars of the Ladies Professional Golf Association are making their way to Central New York as part of the Symetra Tour.
The 18th edition of the Credit Union Classic tees off this Friday at Drumlins Country Club’s East Course, with 144 golfers vying for $100,000 in prize money, $15,000 to the winner. This is the fifth year that the tournament has been played at Drumlins East, following a long stint at the Links at Erie Village.
And the champion takes a large step toward earning their LPGA Tour card, which is secured by the top 10 finishers on the Symetra (formerly Futures) Tour at year’s end. Victoria Elizabeth used her victory in the 2012 edition of the Credit Union Classic to finish atop the money list at year’s end.
Elizabeth, just 21, is back this week to defend her title, a rare occasion, since the LPGA Tour is taking a week off in between an event in Ohio and next week’s Women’s British Open at St. Andrews in Scotland. She spends winters in Orlando with a family from Skaneateles, establishing strong local ties that she’s eager to enjoy once more.
Another former champion in the field is Jenny Suh, who prevailed in 2009, the first year the Credit Union Classic was played at Drumlins, setting a tournament mark of 201 (12 under par) matched by Elizabeth and 2010 champion Cindy LaCrosse.
Madison Pressel, younger sister of LPGA major winner Morgan Pressel, is playing, too, having just turned pro after graduating from the University of Texas. Three women currently appearing on the Golf Channel’s “Big Break Mexico” series – Taylor Collins, Stefanie Kenoyer and Emily Talley – also are set to play at Drumlins.
Once again, the individual champion at the Section III tournament, in this case Auburn’s Larissa Carter, has a spot in the field. Carter beat Auburn teammate Lindsay May by one shot in the sectionals last May at Kanon Valley in Oneida.
A group of local credit unions – Summit, Empower and SEFCU – took over primary sponsorship of the tournament one year ago, with Wegmans as a presenting sponsor. And that has led to an extra incentive for professionals new for 2013.
They held the Credit Union Challenge July 12-14 in Albany at Capital Hills Golf Course, with Taiwanese native Wei-Ling Hsu coming from behind in the final round to win by two shots over Olivia Jordan-Higgins and Kendall Dye.
Hsu is one of 10 Symetra Tour winners in 2013 in the field, along with Sue Kim, Jaclyn Sweeney, Melissa Eaton, Christine Song, Laura Kueny, Giulia Molinaro, Cydney Clanton, Kim Kaufman and P.K. Kongraphan, who won last week in New Hampshire.
Those scores, plus those of the Credit Union Classic in Syracuse, will be added up, and the lowest five professionals will earn $5,000 of bonus money, $2,000 to the top performer.
There is, of course, a full week of activity, starting on Monday with the Pro-Junior Challenge, where a Symetra player pairs up with four golfers from area high school teams for a nine-hole best-ball competition.
Two days of pro-ams follow on Wednesday (at 1:30) and Thursday (at 8 a.m.), along with a junior clinic at Drumlins West’s 18th hole at 10 a.m. on Thursday before the tournament starts Friday morning at 7:30. The cut of low 70 and ties is made after 36 holes Saturday night. In case of a tie at the end on Sunday, a sudden-death playoff follows.