The Symetra Tour will head north to Maryland next week for the final event of a six-week stretch for the inaugural Challenge at Musket Ridge. The Challenge marks first return of the Road to the LPGA since 2007 and brings the only current women’s professional golf tournament in the Old Line State. The Tour hosted two previous tournaments in Maryland, including one event in Queenstown, Md. from 2004-07 and one in Beltsville, Md. from 2004-05.
The Road to the LPGA will bring in its best talent for the three-day event which will unfold at Musket Ridge Golf Club in Myersville from August 24-26. Musket Ridge has been one of Golfweek’s top-10 courses in Maryland for the past 6 years and was recently named the #2 Public Course Within an Hour of Congressional CC by Golf Digest. The field will be competing for a $100,000 purse, with $15,000 going to this year’s winner.
With four events left on the 2012 schedule, the Challenge at Musket Ridge will be a pivotal stop in the Volvik Race for the Card, as players have only a few more chances to move into the top-10 by the season’s end.
Nine out of the ten players in the current Volvik Race for the Card top 10 are slated to play next week in Myersville. The Volvik Race for the Card spotlights movement on the Tour’s 2012 season money list as players jockey for position among the top-10 money winners. Players finishing in the top-10 at the conclusion of the tournament season will earn exempt status on the 2013 LPGA Tour.
Players in the top 10 in the Volvik Race for the Card rankings who will be contending next week include: No. 2 Victoria Elizabeth, No. 3 Paola Moreno, No. 4 Julia Boland, No. 6 Jenny Gleason, No. 7 Sara Brown, No. 8 Jaclyn Sweeney, No. 9 Jean Chua and No. 10 Nicole Smith,
Nine out of the 11 winners so far on Tour in 2012 are scheduled to be in action in Myersville. Megan McChrystal (Florida’s Natural Charity Classic), Sara Brown (My Marsh Golf Classic), Lauren Doughtie (Ladies Titan Tire Challenge), Kristie Smith (Tate & Lyle Players Championship), Jenny Gleason (Northeast Delta Dental International), Victoria Elizabeth (Credit Union Classic), Jaclyn Sweeney (Credit Union Challenge), Julia Boland (Four Winds Invitational) and Paola Moreno (Eagle Classic) will all be in the field at Musket Ridge Golf Club playing for their second victories this year.
Three Maryland natives will be in action this week as Stephanie Connelly (Pasadena, Md.), Ashley Grier (Hagerstown, Md.) and Elyse Smidinger (Crofton, Md.) will tee it up in front of their home-state crowd.
Connelly, a fourth-year Symetra Tour pro, was a two-time winner of the Baltimore Women's Amateur Championship (2003, 2004) and won the 2006 Maryland Women's Amateur Championship.
Grier is a former Symetra Tour member and will be making her first return to the Road to the LPGA since 2010. The University of Central Florida product won the 2000 Maryland Girls High School State Championship and was the winner of the Maryland Women’s Open in 2006.
Smidinger, a recent Arundel High School graduate, will be making her debut in a professional event as an amateur. The future University of Denver golfer is a two-time Maryland Girls High School State Champion (2010 & 2011) and was a two-time MSGA Junior Girls’ State Champion (2009 & 2011).
The event has partnered with the Frederick County Commission for Women (FCCW) to run the tournament, which will help support local women’s and children’s charities.