Patty Berg Memorial using first of its kind format

Author: Bret Lasky, Symetra Tour

The Symetra Tour, Road to the LPGA, is back in action after a two-week hiatus for the fourth event of the year, the second annual Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial at Cypress Lake Country Club, April 16-19. This is one of the marquee events of the 2015 season as the Symetra Tour and Legends Tour will both play this week in Fort Myers.

The 72-hole Symetra Tour event will begin on Thursday, April 16 and conclude on Sunday, April 19. The 36-hole Legends Tour event will begin on Saturday, April 18 and conclude side-by-side with the Symetra Tour event on Sunday. Players from the Symetra Tour and Legends Tour will be paired together in threesomes on Saturday and Sunday (two Symetra Tour players and one Legends Tour player).

The Symetra Tour field will start at 144 players while the Legends Tour field is 30 players.

Players from both Tours are competing for separate $150,000 tournament purses. The winners of the events will both receive a first-place check of $22,500 and the Chico’s Leopard Jacket.

The main objective in hosting both Tours at one venue was to provide the future stars of the LPGA Tour an opportunity to experience woman-to-woman

mentoring from legends of the LPGA Tour. Players from both Tours will share the same locker space, dining facilities and practice facilities throughout the week.

The Symetra Tour field will be sliced to the top 50 players and ties after second round play on Friday. The top 70 and ties will still be compensated as if they made the cut, but they will not play on the weekend.

GREEN JACKET TO THE CHICO’S LEOPARD JACKET: On Sunday, Jordan Spieth captured the golf world’s attention by tying the 72-hole Masters

Tournament scoring record and winning the Green Jacket at just 21-years old. This week, the Symetra Tour and Legends Tour winners of the Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial will both receive the Chico’s Leopard Jacket. Last year, Min Seo Kwak became the first to dawn the Chico’s Leopard Jacket.

GROWTH FOR CHICO’S PATTY BERG MEMORIAL: The inaugural Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial in 2014 featured the top 144 up-and-coming Symetra Tour professionals battling for a total purse of $100,000. In one short year, the total purse has grown to $150,000 and the Legends Tour has been added with a separate total purse of $150,000. In all, an additional $200,000 in prize money is on the line this year.

This years event will also include live coverage from Golf Channel’s Morning Drive Thursday-Sunday. Hosts Damon Hack and Paige Mackenzie will anchor the coverage from Cypress Lake Country Club.

BOTH FIELDS VERY STRONG: The Symetra Tour field will feature eight of the top 10 on the Volvik Race for the Card money list and 17 of the top 20. The only players not in the field are No. 1 Sue Kim, No. 7 Giulia Molinaro and No. 20 Jimin Kang. Kim and Molinaro are both in the field for the LPGA Tour event this week, the LOTTE Championship.

There are 17 current LPGA Tour members that will tee off in the Symetra Tour field. In alphabetical order, the list includes Julia Boland, Ashli Bunch, Lindy Duncan, Casey Grice, Candy Hannemann, Celine Herbin, Daniela Iacobelli, Haley Italia, Nicole Jeray, Birdie Kim, Mindy Kim, Cindy LaCrosse, Liz Nagel, Jean Reynolds, Natalie Sheary, Victoria Tanco and Caroline Westrup.

The Legends Tour field is loaded with eight LPGA Tour Hall-of-Famers and the 30 players in the field have combined for 410 career LPGA wins. The eight Hall-of-Famers that will tee it up this week are Pat Bradley, Donna Caponi, JoAnne Carner, Beth Daniel, Sandra Haynie, Betsy King, Nancy Lopez and Hollis Stacy. The eight hall-of-famers captured a total of 31 LPGA Tour major championships. Bradley and King won six majors apiece.

A LONG TIME COMING: On November 11, 2014, the announcement was made live on Golf Channel that the Symetra Tour along with Chico’s would host a joint event with the Legends Tour. Legends Tour CEO Jane Blalock and Symetra Tour professional Caroline Powers joined Kelly Tilghman on Morning Drive to make the announcement.

Below are quotes from Chico’s, the Symetra Tour and the Legends Tour from the day of the announcement.

“We are excited to host the Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial for the second year!” states Liz Hodges, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Creative, Chico’s. “2015 will be bigger and better. Patty Berg was a mentor to young players, both on and off the course. This golf tournament embodies what she always stood for – women helping women. We’re proud to continue her legacy by partnering with the Symetra Tour and Legends Tour.”

“This is a unique opportunity to align the future stars of the LPGA Tour with living legends who produced countless LPGA Tour victories and memories,” said Mike Nichols, Chief Business Officer of the Symetra Tour. “This event will serve as an opportunity for our players to continue the development process by golfing alongside the best to ever play the game and for fans to experience an exciting new tournament format with two Tours competing at one venue.”

“The Legends Tour showcases the greatest names in women’s golf,” said Jane Blalock, CEO of the Legends Tour. “We are thrilled to be partnering with the Symetra Tour to align the historical best with the future’s brightest for the Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial. It will be a treat for golf fans everywhere to see our LPGA legends mentoring new talent on the fairways – not only by example, but also now with direct interaction in a competitive setting. This approach is currently unparalleled and we are pleased to introduce this unique and powerful combined format in women’s professional golf.”

CYPRESS LAKE COUNTRY CLUB, HOME OF PATTY BERG: It is fitting that the future of the LPGA and the past greats are playing this week at Cypress Lake Country Club, the home course of Patty Berg, who won 60 times on the LPGA including a record 15 major championships.

Berg was a three-time Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year in 1938, 1943 and 1955.

Berg was one of 13 women who helped to create the LPGA Tour and this tournament is named and played in her honor. She passed away in 2006 due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

Cypress Lake Country Club is a Dick Wilson designed course that opened in 1961. There are three World Golf Hall of Fame members that were members of the club at one time: Patty Berg, Gene Sarazen and Herb Graffis.

4 OF 23 FOR SYMETRA TOUR: This is the fourth of 23 events on the 2015 Symetra Tour schedule. The schedule features the most events in 27 years. Since 2013, the Tour schedule has grown from 15 events to 23 events.

The Symetra Tour total purse of $2.73 million is the largest in Tour history. The Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial is one of 11 events with a total purse that exceeds $100,000.

Following the Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial, the Tour will head to Sarasota for the Guardian Retirement Championship at Sara Bay.

WHO’S HOT ENTERING WEEK: On the Symetra Tour side, nobody has been more consistent than Brianna Do, who is the only player on Tour with top 10 finishes in each of the first three events. Do currently ranks sixth on the Volvik Race for the Card money list. Do has finished in a tie for fourth twice and finished in a tie for ninth at the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic.

Do’s former teammate at UCLA, Lee Lopez, has three top 15 finishes and two top 10 finishes so far this year. She ranks fourth on the Volvik Race for the Card money list. Lopez leads the Tour with a 71.11 scoring average.

Brittany Henderson of Smiths Falls, Ontario is coming off a tie for second at the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic. Henderson, who is the older sister of professional golfer Brooke, moved up to fifth on the money list.

On the Legends Tour side, this is the second event of the year. Kris Tschetter won the Walgreens Charity Classic in a playoff over Juli Inksterin early March. Jan Stephenson and Marilyn Lovander, who are both in the field, are one and two on the Legends Tour career money list.

STAND UP TO CANCER: Proceeds from the Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial will benefit Stand Up To Cancer. Stand Up To Cancer has raised over $260 million since its inception in 2008.

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