Altvater: Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial offers unique formatWritten by Fred Altvater | | BackNine@toledofreepress.com
There was a new golf tournament contested last week in Ft. Myers, Florida, with a unique format. The LPGA’s minor golf league, the Symetra Tour, teamed up with the ladies from the Legends Tour for the Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial. It was the first time the Symetra Tour and Legends Tour combined for a women’s professional golf tournament.
Toledo area golf fans have a very good reason to follow the Symetra Tour as Bowling Green native Caroline Powers is trying to make it to the LPGA Tour via the Symetra Tour.
The inaugural Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial was held last year and featured a 144-woman field battling for a total purse of $100,000. This year the total prize money was bumped to $150,000 for the Symetra Tour portion and the ladies from the Legends Tour contended for a separate purse of $150,000.
The Legends Tour is comprised of LPGA Tour professionals aged 45 and older and the 30 women in the field at the Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial, included eight LPGA Tour Hall-of-Famers that combined for 31 major championship titles and 410 career LPGA Tour wins. Familiar names like Pat Bradley, Donna Caponi, JoAnne Carner, Beth Daniels, Sandra Haynie, Betsy King, Nancy Lopez and Hollis Stacy played in the event.
The Legends Tour played a 36 hole-no-cut tournament alongside the younger women from the Symetra Tour. Laurie Rinker fired an opening round 67 — these ladies can still play — and posted a second round, even-par 72 to win by three shots over Rosie Jones. Rinker earned $19,000 in the first-place check and captured her fourth Legends title.
The 22-year-old Augusta James from Kingston, Ontario, posted 10-under-par for the four rounds and earned $22,500 for winning the Symetra Tour portion by four shots.
James was a three-time All-ACC performer and two-time All-American at North Carolina State. This is her first season as a professional. She now leads the Symetra Tour money list, and this win will put her well on the way to capturing one of the 10 LPGA Tour cards that will be issued to the Top-10 money earners on the Symetra Tour at the end of the season.
This tournament allows the legends players to interact and play alongside the up and coming women players, but more importantly the young women aspiring to make it to the LPGA Tour get to learn from the best women golfers of the previous era.
What an opportunity for them to ask Lopez, Daniels, King, Bradley or Jan Stephenson questions and learn the lessons they need to make it to the big tour.
The LPGA Tour is definitely one of the best sports leagues in the world and certainly the fastest growing sports league. The Symetra Tour has grown to 23 events this year and the LPGA Tour has a full schedule offering increased the total prize money to their members.
What a unique concept combining the women that have been there, done that with the young ladies trying to make their own way.
Tags: Augusta James, Beth Daniels, Betsy King, Caroline Powers, Donna Caponi, Fred Altvater, Hollis Stacy, Jan Stephenson, JoAnne Carner, Laurie Rinker, Legends Tour, LPGA, Nancy Lopez, Pat Bradley, Patty Berg Memorial, Rosie Jones., Sandra Haynie, Symetra Tour, The Back Nine