Symetra Tour

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The Symetra Tour, previously known as the LPGA Futures Tour and known for sponsorship reasons between 2006 and 2010 as the Duramed FUTURES Tour, is the official developmental golf tour of the LPGA Tour. Tour membership is open to professional women golfers and to qualified amateurs.

History[edit]

The Futures Tour was founded in Florida in 1981 as the "Tampa Bay Mini Tour". It officially became the Futures Golf Tour in 1983[1] and in 1999 become a national tour designated as the "official developmental tour" of the LPGA Tour (the U.S. based professional women's golf tour).

Grace Park, Marilyn Lovander and Audra Burks were the first players to receive automatic LPGA Tour exempt status by finishing one, two, and three on the Futures Golf Tour Money List.[1]

The minimum age for participation was lowered to 17 prior to the 2006 season.[2] On July 18, 2007, the LPGA announced that it had acquired the Futures Tour effective immediately, "bringing women's professional golf now under one umbrella." Previously the Futures Tour had operated as a licensee of the LPGA.[3]

Duramed, a pharmaceutical company, was the tour's title sponsor from 2006 through the end of the 2010 season.

In 2010, the tour was known as the "LPGA Futures Tour." In 2012, Symetra, a United States-based insurance provider, became the title sponsor of the tour and tour's name was changed to "Symetra Tour".

Promotion to LPGA[edit]

1999–2007[edit]

From 1999 through 2007 the top five leading money winners at the end of each season earned full membership in the following season's LPGA Tour. Starting with the sixth-ranked player at the end of the season, ten additional Futures Tour players who are not already members of the LPGA, automatically advanced into the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament, bypassing the sectional qualifying tournament.

2008–2010[edit]

Beginning in 2008 the process for promotion to the LPGA Tour was changed. The top ten leading money winners at the end of the season gain membership on the LPGA Tour for the next season, with those finishing in the top five positions gaining higher priority for entry into events than those finishing in positions six through ten. Finishers in positions sixth through ten still have the option to attend LPGA Qualifying School to try to improve their membership for the following season.[4]

2011–present[edit]

Beginning in 2011, the promotion process was changed slightly to allow the next 12 players, excluding current LPGA members, after the top ten qualifiers to automatic entry into Stage III of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament.[5]

Players[edit]

Players come from around the world to compete on the Symetra Tour.

Futures Tour graduates include LPGA tournament winners Laura Davies, Meaghan Francella, Cristie Kerr, Christina Kim, Mo Martin, Lorena Ochoa, Grace Park, Stacy Prammanasudh, Sherri Steinhauer, and Karrie Webb.

2014 Schedule and results[edit]

The number in parentheses after winners' names show the player's total number of official money, individual event wins on the Symetra Tour including that event. A $1 million bonus will be paid by Park Sterling Bank if one player wins all three Carolina tournaments in May.[6]

Date Tournament Location Winner
Feb 21–23 Visit Mesa Gateway Classic Arizona Canada Alena Sharp (1)
Feb 28 – Mar 2 Volvik Championship California United States Kim Kaufman (2)
Mar 21–23 Florida's Natural Charity Classic Florida China Yueer Cindy Feng (1)
Mar 28–31 IOA Golf Classic Florida United States Kendall Dye (1)
Apr 25–27 Guardian Retirement Championship Florida United States Marissa Steen (1)
May 2–4 Chico's Patty Berg Memorial Florida South Korea Min Seo Kwak (1)
May 8–11 Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women's Health Charity Classic South Carolina Taiwan Wei-Ling Hsu (2)
May 16–18 Friends of Mission Charity Classic North Carolina United States Marissa Steen (2)
May 22–24 Symetra Classic North Carolina United States Mallory Blackwelder (1)
Jun 6–8 FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship Michigan South Korea Min Seo Kwak (2)
Jun 13–15 Decatur-Forsyth Classic Illinois United States Madison Pressel (1)
Jun 20–22 Four Winds Invitational Indiana Canada Nicole Vandermade (1)
Jun 27–29 Island Resort Championship Michigan United States Molly Aronsson (1)
Jul 25–27 SEFCU Championship New York United States Sadena Parks (1)
Aug 1–3 Credit Union Classic New York Venezuela Veronica Felibert (1)
Aug 8–10 New England Charity Classic New Hampshire United States Sadena Parks (2)
Aug 15–17 Eagle Classic Virginia United States Marissa Steen (3)
Sep 5–7 Prairie Band Casino & Resort Charity Classic Kansas United Kingdom Olivia Jordan-Higgins (2)
Sep 11–13 Garden City Charity Classic Kansas Taiwan Min Lee (1)
Sep 18–21 Symetra Tour Championship Florida Norway Marita Engzelius (1)

Source: Symetra Tour official website.

2014 money leaders[edit]

The top ten money winners for the 2014 season.

Rank Player Country Events Prize
money ($)
1 Marissa Steen  United States 16 75,348
2 Min Seo Kwak  South Korea 17 69,143
3 Jackie Stoelting  United States 19 60,452
4 Sadena Parks  United States 17 57,597
5 Min Lee  Chinese Taipei 18 57,011
6 Wei-Ling Hsu  Chinese Taipei 13 53,004
7 Yueer Cindy Feng  China 12 51,992
8 Kendall Dye  United States 20 47,684
9 Demi Runas  United States 20 45,095
10 Mallory Blackwelder  United States 20 41,381

Source: Symetra Tour Official Money List.

Historical tour schedules and results[edit]

Year Number of
tournaments
Total prize
money (US$)
2014 20 2,250,000
2013 15 1,625,000
2012 16 1,755,000[7]
2011 16 1,765,000[8]
2010 17 1,920,000[9]
2009 17 1,795,000[10]
2008 18 1,710,000[11]
2007 19 1,585,000[12]
2006 19 1,425,000[13]

Awards[edit]

  • The Player of the Year Award is given to the player who leads the money list at the end of the season.
  • The Gaëlle Truet Rookie of the Year Award is awarded to the player competing in her first professional season who finishes highest on the Symetra Tour money List. Truet was a Tour member who was killed in a car accident during the 2006 season. The award was renamed in her honor beginning in 2006.
  • The Trainor Award has been given each year since 1999 to an individual or group that has made a significant contribution to women's golf. It is named in honor of the Tour's founder and former president, Eloise Trainor.
  • The Heather Wilbur Spirit Award has been given each year since 2003 to a Symetra Tour player who "best exemplifies dedication, courage, perseverance, love of the game and spirit toward achieving goals as a professional golfer." It is named in memory of Heather Wilbur, a four-year Futures Tour player who died from leukemia in 2000 at age 27.
Year Player of the Year Rookie of the Year Trainor Award Heather Wilbur Spirit Award
2014 United States Marissa Steen Chinese Taipei Min Lee
2013 Thailand P.K. Kongkraphan Italy Giulia Molinaro United States Melissa Eaton
2012 United States Esther Choe South Korea Mi Hyang Lee United States Nicole Jeray
2011 United States Kathleen Ekey United States Sydnee Michaels Canada Izzy Beisiegel
2010 United States Cindy LaCrosse United StatesSouth Korea Jennifer Song Executive Women's Golf Association United States Mo Martin
2009 United States Mina Harigae United States Mina Harigae United States Renee Powell United States Malinda Johnson
2008 United States Vicky Hurst United States Vicky Hurst Canada Jocelyne Bourassa United States Katie Fraley
2007 United States Emily Bastel Mexico Violeta Retamoza United States Cynthia Rihm United States Jenny Hansen
2006 South Korea Song-Hee Kim South Korea Song-Hee Kim Australia Sherrin Smyers United States Katie Connelly
2005 South Korea Seon-Hwa Lee South Korea Sun Young Yoo Australia Karrie Webb Canada Salimah Mussani
2004 South Korea Jimin Kang South Korea Aram Cho United States Decatur, Illinois Women's Committees Australia Lindsey Wright
2003 United States Stacy Prammanasudh South Korea Soo Young Moon United States Wilma Gilliland Canada Heather Wilbur
2002 Mexico Lorena Ochoa Mexico Lorena Ochoa United States Bob Hirschman and Connie Shorb
2001 United States Beth Bauer United States Beth Bauer United States Diane Lewis
2000 United States Heather Zakhar United States Jamie Hullett United States Betty Puskar
1999 South Korea Grace Park United States Lew Williams
1998 United States Michelle Bell
1997 United States Marilyn Lovander
1996 United States Vickie Moran
1995 United States Patty Ehrhart
1994 United States Marilyn Lovander
1993 United States Nanci Bowen
1992 United States Jodi Figley
1991 United States Kim Williams
1990 United States Denise Baldwin
1989 United States Jennifer MacCurrach
1988 Peru Sweden Jenny Lidback
1987 United States Laurel Kean
1986 United States Tammie Green
1985 United States Tammie Green
1984 United States Penny Hammel

The Big Break[edit]

Many of the contestants on The Golf Channel's The Big Break III: Ladies Only, which aired in the Spring of 2005, played on the Futures Tour, including Danielle Amiee, who ended up being the show's overall champion. The other players from the show that played on the Futures Tour were Jan Dowling, Valeria Ochoa, runner-up Pamela Crikelair, and LPGA veteran Cindy Miller. Show co-host Stephanie Sparks played on the Futures Tour from 1996 to 1999.

The Big Break V: Hawaii, which aired in the spring of 2006, included six additional Futures Tour competitors: Dana Lacey, Ashley Prange, Kim Lewellen, Kristina Tucker, Becky Lucidi and Jeanne Cho. Prange won the competition; Cho was runner-up.

The Big Break VI: Trump National, broadcast in the fall of 2006, included six more Futures Tour players: Rachel Bailey, the individual winner of the 2002 Sunbelt Conference Championship at New Mexico State University; Bridget Dwyer, a member of the 2004 NCAA Women's Golf Championship winning team at UCLA; Ashley Gomes, the 2004 WAC Player of the Year and individual winner of the 2004 WAC Championship while at San Jose State University; Sarah Lynn Johnston, the 2004 Southern Conference Player of the Year and individual winner of the 2004 Southern Conference Championship while at Furman University; Kristy McPherson, a three-time NCAA All-American First Team selection and two-time individual winner of the SEC Championship while at The University of South Carolina; and Briana Vega, who holds North Carolina State University's scoring records for 18-holes (68) and 54-holes (216).

Notes and references[edit]

External links[edit]