HARRIS, Mich. -- An international field of 144 women golfers will descend on Michigan's Upper Peninsula next week to compete in the second Island Resort Championship, presented by the Delta County Chamber of Commerce, June 29 - July 1.
The 54-hole stroke-play Symetra Tour event has drawn professional golfers from 25 different countries and six continents to vie for a total $110,000 purse, from South Africa to Australia, Chile to Columbia, England to France, Norway to Japan, the Middle East to Thailand, and beyond.
"Several of the players from last year's inaugural event have already graduated to the LPGA Tour," says Susan Harris, co-chair and marketing director for the Island Resort & Casino, host site of the tournament. "Their spots have been filled with the next set of rising talent, ready to fight their way to the top."
This is the seventh tournament of the Symetra Tour's 2012 season, as Tour members play for the top 10 spots on the money list to win automatic entry to the LPGA Tour.
Players to Watch
Defending Champion Stephanie Kim will not be in the final field of 144, leaving the next generation of LPGA stars to capture the honors at Sweetgrass Golf Club, a Golfweek "America's Best Courses You Can Play" layout.
Marquette High School graduate and Michigan State rising sophomore Carley Saint-Onge, four-time Upper Peninsula Division 1 Champion, has again received an amateur local exemption to compete in the event. Saint-Onge currently plays on the Michigan State golf team.
She'll be joined by two native Michiganders in the 2012 field, including Laura Bayaird of Grosse Ile, Britney Hamilton of Lake Orion - both Western Michigan University graduates. Former Michigan State graduates Allison Duncan and Aimee Neff will also be found on the Friday roster of players.
Wisconsites will cheer for Kenosha's Carly Werwie, a Wisconsin-Madison graduate.
On the international front, Australian Kristie Smith won the Tate and Lyle Players Championship last week, carding three bogeyless rounds. She'll be in the Sweetgrass field, along with several players who have qualified for the U.S. Women's Open at Blackwolf Run in Wisconsin directly following the Island Resort Championship. Among them are Sue Kim of Canada, Veronica Felibert of Venezuela, Lili Alvarez of Mexico, and Mi Hyang Lee of South Korea.
"I was amazed at the number of under-par rounds I saw on the leaderboard last year," said Sweetgrass Director of Golf Dave Douglas. "For those who love golf, you'll enjoy watching the incredible talent in the field."
A complete list of players in the field has been posted at http://www.symetratour.com.
Tickets are still available for the Island Resort Championship; $10 three-day passes can be purchased at the Island Resort & Casino Showroom or by calling 877-ISL-SHOW, or through several local non-profit organizations who keep the profits from their tickets sales. A complete list can be found at http://www.sweetgrassgolfclub.com/lpga-2012.
About the Championship
Welcoming the world's brightest new talent in women's professional golf, the Island Resort Championship at Sweetgrass is a Symetra Tour - Road to the LPGA event held at Sweetgrass Golf Club in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The 54-hole stroke-play event will be held June 29-July 1, 2012, the second of a three-year commitment by the Symetra Tour. Located in Harris, Michigan, Sweetgrass Golf Club is situated at the Island Resort & Casino, and is owned and operated by the Hannahville Indian Community of the Potawatomi Nation. For more information, see sweetgrassgolfclub.com.
About the Symetra Tour
The Symetra Tour - Road to the LPGA, is the official developmental tour of the LPGA and enters its 32nd competitive season in 2012. With the support of its new umbrella sponsor, Symetra, the Tour's mission is to prepare the world's best young women professional golfers for a successful career on the LPGA Tour. 2012 marks the first season that the top-10 money winners will receive full, equal status for the following season on the LPGA Tour. The 2012 schedule includes 16 tournaments with stops in 11 U.S. states and Mexico and a total purse of $1.76 million. With more than 500 alumnae moving on to the LPGA, former Symetra Tour players have won a total of 362 LPGA titles, including 39 major championships. Symetra Tour events have contributed more than $5 million to charitable organizations throughout the nation since 1989. Follow the Symetra Tour on the web at www.SymetraTour.com, Facebook.com/RoadtotheLPGA, Twitter.com/Road2LPGA, and YouTube.com/Road2LPGA.
About Sweetgrass and the Island Resort & Casino
The Sweetgrass Golf Club, site of the 2011 Island Resort Championship at Sweetgrass (an LPGA Futures Tour stop), was designed by Michigan-native Paul Albanese and opened in 2008. It was named a Top 20 Courses You Can Play in Michigan by GOLF Magazine in 2010, and Best New Course by Golfweek magazine in 2009. For more information, see http://www.sweetgrassgolfclub.com or at facebook.com/sweetgrassgolfclub
Boasting more than 1,400 slot machines and 24/7 Vegas-style gaming, the Island Resort & Casino (www.islandresortandcasino.com) offers Craps, Blackjack, Roulette, Poker and more. The Island hosts top musical acts from a variety of musical genres. Dining options include the Firekeeper's Restaurant, Beachcomber Restaurant & Bar, Coral Reef Grille and Bingo Snack Bar. Live music in the lounge, the Club Four One nightclub, a swimming pool and conference center are other popular resort offerings. The property is easily accessible via a pair of regional airports in Escanaba and Marquette.