The NE Delta Dental International will mark the return of the Volvik Race for the Card standings leader Esther Choe from a two-month hiatus as she was competing in Europe on the Ladies European Tour throughout May and June. Choe won back-to-back events earlier in the season at the Sara Bay Classic in Sarasota, Fla. and the Riviera Nayarit Classic in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico which pushed her to the top of the Tour’s money list at $33,750.
Last year’s champion Jessica Shepley has moved on to the LPGA Tour where she has made six starts this season, but six out of the top-10 finishers from a year ago are slated to return to New Hampshire for another shot. Top finishers who are set to return this year include Lauren Doughtie (2nd), Hanna Kang (5th), Jackie Barenborg (T6), Seul-Ki Park (T8), Yu-Ling Hsieh (T8) and Saehee Son (T8).
Four of the six winners so far on Tour in 2012 are scheduled to be in action in Concord. In addition to Choe, who is the Tour’s only two-time winner this season, Megan McChrystal (Florida’s Natural Charity Classic), Lauren Doughtie (Ladies Titan Tire Challenge) and Kristie Smith (Tate & Lyle Players Championship) will all be in the field at Beaver Meadow playing for their second victory this year.
Players in the top 10 in the Volvik Race for the Card rankings who will be contending next week include: No. 1 Esther Choe, No. 3 Megan McChrystal, No. 4 Jean Chua, No. 5 Victoria Elizabeth, No. 7 Lauren Doughtie, No. 8 Krisite Smith, No. 9 Mi Hyang Lee and No. 10 Sara-Maude Juneau. The top-10 players on the 2012 Symetra Tour season-ending money list will receive their 2013 LPGA Tour card.
With the LPGA Tour on a two-week break after the U.S. Women’s Open, LPGA players will be finding ways to keep their games sharp during the down-time before the Evian Masters Presented by Société Générale. Kathleen Ekey, Sydnee Michaels, Kris Tamulis and Rebecca Lee-Bentham, and will all be in the field in Concord. LPGA players who are in Categories 1-11 on the LPGA Tour priority list are able to play in a maximum of three Symetra Tour event in a season. Ekey was named the 2011 Symetra Tour Player of the Year and notched two wins en route to her No. 1 finish on the season-ending money list. Michaels finished No. 4 in the Race for the Card a year ago and was named the 2011 Rookie of the Year after notching two wins last season. Tamulis is in her eighth season on the LPGA Tour and has recorded three top-20 finishes in 2012. Lee-Bentham is in her rookie season on the LPGA Tour and recorded a career-best T47 finish at the ISPS Handa Australian Open.