The field is competing for a tournament purse of $100,000 and a winner’s payout of $15,000 to move up the Volvik Race for the Card money list. At the conclusion of the season (October 8), the top 10 on the final money list will earn LPGA Tour membership for the 2018 season.
Play will begin at 7:30 a.m. all three days of the tournament and a split tee format will be used. There will be a cut to the low 60 and ties following second round play on Saturday.
The Symetra Tour has found a home in Northern California for the first time since 2001 when Beth Bauer won the California FUTURES Classic in Patterson at Diablo Grande. The current West Coast Swing started in Beaumont, California with the IOA Championship two weeks ago and then last week transitioned to Mesa, Arizona for the Gateway Classic at Longbow Golf Club.
HEARING IMPAIRED YOST BACK FOR POC MED CLASSIC AND DEAF OLYMPICS
Spend any amount of time with Kaylin Yost (Fernandina Beach, Fla.) and you’ll quickly understand why she exudes excitement and a zest for life.
She’s back in the game of golf.
Following the 2015 season, she quit at the tender age of 23 and took a job with a startup company called JetSmarter, an Uber-for-jets operation, which competes with the likes of Wheels Up. Yost had your typical 9-5 job where she was responsible for arranging charter flights for wealthy pockets in South Florida. The hours got long, the 2 a.m. phone calls from clients got old and she would sit in her office, which was located on the 16th floor, see the sunshine and wish she was still on a golf course.
She had enough and in April of 2016, she quit JetSmarter and started on her path back to the LPGA.
Yost, who got into the POC Med Golf Classic this week off the alternate list, is now no different than any Symetra Tour professional. She wants to be on the LPGA Tour in 2018.
Except, there is one difference, maybe two to be exact. She has been hearing impaired since she was two years old and wears hearing aids in both ears on the golf course.
Two weeks ago, Yost made national golf headlines by Monday Qualifying for the Bank of Hope Founders Cup on the LPGA and played well enough to make the cut. The entire week reaffirmed her decision to give golf another chance. It also gave her an amazing new platform with the wide-ranging attention she received. Following the tournament, she wrote LPGA tournament directors for sponsor exemptions and has lined up at least one more opportunity to play on the LPGA that will be announced later this month.
“It’s amazing how many deaf and hard of hearing people reached out to me after the LPGA event,” said Yost. “I got an email from a doctor in the Netherlands who said it was so inspirational that I’m chasing my dream by not letting my disability hold me back. It was a whirlwind week, I had so much support. I even had some deaf people out watching me over the weekend.”
She also had a dad of a daughter that is hard of hearing reach out and many deaf groups on social media. Yost was also contacted by Clark Schools for Hearing in Jacksonville and is going to speak to the students in May. Further, she’s assisting with a junior deaf golf clinic that Rob Strano of Golf Channel puts on at TPC Jacksonville.
“I just want people to know that just because you are hard of hearing, which can be lonely at times when you can’t hear, it doesn’t mean you can’t do stuff,” said Yost, who was paired with Juli Inkster on the Saturday of the tournament. “The LPGA event (Bank of Hope Founders Cup) confirmed that not only am I happy to be back in golf, but that I can be out here competing, especially opening with a 67.”
The story doesn’t end here. A month ago, Yost got the call to represent the United States in the 2017 Deaf Olympics, which will be held in Samsun, Turkey. The more Yost researched the Deaf Olympics, the more excited she became. It’s no different than the Olympics held every four years that captivates the sporting world. There is an opening and closing ceremonies, team uniforms, an Olympic village and everything in between.
Yost will be in Turkey from July 15-30. The format for golf is two days of stroke play and four days of match play.
The only downside of the Deaf Olympics is that she has to fund her own way to Turkey. In order to do so, she started a gofundme page (https://www.gofundme.com/KaylinYostDeaflympics) and has raised nearly $4,000 of her goal of $6,000.
“I’m so excited because who knows if I’ll ever have this opportunity again,” said Yost of going to Turkey. “My goal is to bring back a gold medal and I think that is realistic.”
For the first time in her career, she will have to play the entire Deaf Olympics without her hearing aids. She normally plays with them in unless it is raining.
Since returning to golf, Yost has been amazed at the amount of golf organizations devoted to deaf and hearing impaired golfers. In June of 2016, she played in a Southeast Deaf Golf Association tournament and won by 13 shots.
“Everything happens in God’s timing and I’m just so happy to be back.”
For someone that spent the first year and a half of her life in a body cast, Yost is opening up and excited to share her story and inspire those that need a lift.
“I’m more confident now and I want to help,” said Yost. “I want kids and people with hearing aids to know that it is not the end of the world. I want people in my situation to try and be positive.”