The Symetra Tour returns to action this week with the inaugural Founders Tribute, an event new to the schedule this season.
Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, Arizona, is host of the event. It was on that course in 2015 that Hannah O’Sullivan at 16 years, 9 months, 11 days old became the youngest winner in Symetra Tour history, a distinction she still holds.
The Founders Tribute, a 54-hole event that starts Friday, is the second tournament of the Symetra Tour’s return to play following a four-month hiatus due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The tournament is named in honor of the 13 women who established the LPGA in 1950.
Notables in the field
Sophia Popov, who won three times on the Cactus Tour in Arizona, is in the event.
Leigh Chien defended her title at the KPMG Stacy Lewis Junior All-Star Invitational earlier this summer, earning an AJGA sponsor exemption in the process. The 14-year-old will cash it in this week in Arizona.
For Janie Jackson, the Symetra Tour season was called off at a bad time in March. She had just won the season-opening Florida’s Natural Charity Classic, and thus spent the off-season atop the Volvik Race for the Card standings. She finished third at the tour’s restart event in Michigan last month.
Gigi Stoll was a member of Arizona’s 2018 NCAA title team while in college. She memorably defeated UCLA’s Lilia Vu in the quarterfinals to help the Wildcats keep advancing.
Sierra Brooks is just starting her professional career, having earned Symetra Tour status at last fall’s Q-School. The former Florida player was T-11 at last month’s Firekeepers Casino Hotel Championship.
Frida Kinhult is in a similar position to Brooks. She authored a strong freshman season for Florida State, finding herself in the conversation for player-of-the-year honors, and left last fall to pursue her professional career.
Ana Belac is a former Duke standout who was part of the Blue Devils’ 2019 NCAA title team. She will be making her second Symetra start this week after turning professional earlier in the spring.
Sophia Schubert is coming off a notable TV gig after offering analysis and commentary during last week’s U.S. Women’s Amateur broadcast on the Golf Channel. Schubert won the Women’s Amateur in 2017 while playing for the University of Texas.
Local sponsor exemptions
Sydney Bryan and Ariana Macioce, two golfers with Arizona ties, are in the 144-woman field on sponsor exemptions. Macioce played at Xavier College Prep in Phoenix before attending Georgia Southern and the University of Tennessee. Bryan is a senior at Mesa Red Mountain High School and is set to attend UNLV in 2021. Her mother Stacie Bryan and step-father Jeff Fisher are the co-founders of the Fisher Bryan Golf Academy at Longbow.