Sweetgrass golfers earn bid for LPGA

ESCANABA – Seven women who played in the Symetra Tour golf tournament at Sweetgrass Golf Club in June have earned the right to play on the LPGA Tour next year.

Hannah Jun, who tied for fifth in the third Island Resort Championship at Sweetgrass, led the seven-player contingent of Sweetgrass players. She finished seventh on the 2013 money list ($36,810). Her caddy-fiance, Justin Medlock, is a former NFL placekicker who carried her bag at Sweetgrass.

Joining her will be Guilia Molinaro, Marina Alex, Cydney Clanton, Sue Kim, Perrine Delacour and Jacyln Sweeney. Kim tied for 11th at the most recent tournament in Harris.

P.K. Kongkraphan topped the money list by winning $47,283 in the 15-event series to lead those earning LPGA Tour cards. Completing the top 10 are Christine Song and Alena Sharp. Song was the only player to win twice on the Symetra Tour – Road to the LPGA this season.

Kim Kaufman, who won the Sweetgrass tournament with a three-round total of 213, is among 10 players who earned automatic entry into Stage III of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament Dec. 4-8 in Daytona Beach.

Six of those qualifiers also played at Sweetgrass this year, Olivia Jordan-Higgins, Melissa Eaton, Laura Kueny, Wei-Ling Hsu, Marissa Steen and Megan McChrystal.

McChrystal, who missed the cut at Sweetgrass, won the season-ending rain-delayed Symetra Tour championship Monday in Daytona Beach with a birdie on the final hole. She was 13-under par, two strokes ahead of Delacour.

This is the second time 10 players earned automatic entry onto the LPGA Tour since the Race for the Card began in 1999. Three exemptions were awarded from 1999-2002 and five were granted from 2007-2011.

Symetra, an insurance company based in Bellevue, Wash., said Sunday it has extended its tour title sponsorship to three more years.

The Island Resort Championship at Sweetgrass also extended its contract to host the tournament for another three years in August. The 2014 tournament will be held June 27-29, although Sweetgrass officials have asked the Symetra Tour for a later date. That will not be decided until early next year and is dependent on the tour finding more events that would fit a schedule change geographically.

Two women who played at Sweetgrass this year will be appearing on Big Break NFL in Puerto Rico when the show begins Tuesday on Golf Channel. Stephanie Kenoyer and Emily Tally are among the participants with such former NFL stars as Jerry Rice and Tim Brown.