GreatLIFE Challenge Pre-Tournament Notes and Pairings
The Symetra Tour, Road to the LPGA, begins its home stretch this week at the Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge. The four-round event will begin on Thursday, September 1, and run through Sunday, September 4, at Willow Run Golf Club.
The 144 player field will be competing for a share of a $210,000 purse, the second largest on the Tour’s schedule, with a top prize of $31,500. The top-10 on the year-end Volvik Race for the Card money list will receive their LPGA Tour cards for the 2017 season.
First round play begins on Thursday at 7:30 a.m. off of the first and 10th tees. There will be a cut to the top 60 and ties following second round play on Friday, September 2. The third and final rounds will begin at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday off split tees in threesomes. The final round is expected to conclude at approximately 2:30 p.m. with a trophy ceremony on the 18th green.
LOCAL QUALIFIER SYDNEY BORMANN READY FOR THE WEEK: Sydney Bormann of Parkston, South Dakota won the 2016 Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge qualifier on August 26 at Willow Run to earn the final spot in the 2nd annual event. She will tee off at 1:48 p.m. on the 10th tee.
“I’m extremely excited,” Bormann said. “I’ve been looking forward to it all week and I’m really looking forward to playing and representing South Dakota State and South Dakotans.”
Bormann, the three-time defending South Dakota High School State champion (2014-2016) started her freshman year at South Dakota State on two weeks ago.
“I was interested right away when I found out about the qualifier,” Bormann said. “I for sure wanted to play in it but I had to check with my coaches to make sure it complied with all of the rules but I knew that I wanted to play right away.”
The qualifier wasn’t the first time that Bormann has competed at Willow Run, as she is coached by Todd Kolb who also coaches LPGA professional and Clark, S.D., native Kim Kaufman.
“I feel like Willow Run suits my game pretty well,” Bormann said. “I’ve been lucky that I’ve gotten to play it a bunch growing up. I do know the course pretty well so that will definitely be helpful for the tournament.”
While Bormann is looking forward to the week she isn’t putting too much pressure on herself.
“Going into the tournament, I’m really just going to try and play my best golf and focus on doing the best that I can do and I’m just going to take away as many lessons as I can. There’s so much I can learn from these girls so I’m really looking forward to playing alongside them.”
MADELENE SAGSTROM IS BACK: Madelene Sagstrom, who leads the Volvik Race for the Card Money List, will be back in action for the first time on the Symetra Tour since the Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic in mid-July.
“I went to Sweden for a few weeks. I had some traveling to do and some stuff to figure out but it was nice. Just some time off to get to see the family which was really nice.”
Sagstrom, who got back to playing last week when she competed in the CP Women’s Open on the LPGA, has been having a season for the record book as her $123,678 is the most money earned in a single season in Tour history with six events left to play.
“It actually feels great,” Sagstrom said of returning to the Symetra Tour. “It feels like when I left but just a few weeks later. It feels really good to be back with the people that I know.”
TWO ACES THIS WEEK FOR BENVENUTO: Brittany Benvenuto made her second hole-in-one of the week, and fourth of her career, during Wednesday’s pro-am at the Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge. Previously, Benvenuto made an ace during a practice round on Monday.
“It’s kind of funny that they’ve all been with a 7-iron,” Benvenuto said. “I had two in tournament play but hadn’t had once since 2012 but then now I’ve had two this week. On Monday and today both with 7-irons on 4 and 6. I’m trying to save some for the tournament.”
How does Benvenuto plan to celebrate?
“I’m going to go to the casino and play red seven I think,” Benvenuto said with a smile.
LAURA GONZALEZ-ESCALLON AND ALLY MCDONALD PREP FOR LPGA MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIP: Laura Gonzalez Escallon and Ally McDonald earned sponsor invites into the LPGA’s final major of the season, The Evian Championship, by virtue of their respective win and runner-up finish at the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship.