Over the next several weeks LPGA.com will take a look back at Symetra Tour players landing inside the top-10. This edition of the 'Meet the Symetra Tour Grads" features Marissa Steen. She had 10 top 10 finishes including three wins. She finished ranked No. 1 in the Volvik Race for the Card and earned LPGA membership for the 2015 season.
If you mention 79.1 to Marissa Steen, she’ll know exactly what you’re referring to. It’s her scoring average from freshman year of college at Memphis. In six years, she went from college afterthought to Symetra Tour Player of the Year. Pretty remarkable, right?
After two years on the Symetra Tour, Steen proved she could compete on Tour, but had never won. She was razor close to winning in 2012 and 2013, but fell short in two heartbreaking playoffs.
Her first opportunity to win in 2014 came in, you guessed it, a playoff at the Guardian Retirement Championship at Sara Bay against one of the top young players on Tour, Cindy Feng. This time, she prevailed to earn her first win.
The West Chester, Ohio native had a dream year on Tour with three wins and ten top 10 finishes, the most since Mo Martin posted 11 top 10 finishes in 2011. We all know what Martin did on the LPGA Tour and Steen comes from the same mold. She wasn’t highly recruited, wasn’t a top amateur or college all-american, but she’s a golf junkie and is constantly working on her craft.
It started in college when she lowered her scoring average fro 79.1 to 76.3 from freshman year to sophomore year. Steen played softball and basketball primarily growing up. Therefore, she didn’t focus on golf until she was 14-years-old.
The same pattern of improvement occured on the Symetra Tour. In her first year on Tour (2012), she had a scoring average of 73.49. It dropped to 72.64 in 2013 and then 71.24 in 2014, which led the Tour.
Although Steen will be a rookie in 2015, she had the chance to familiarize herself with the LPGA Tour in 2014. Her best result came in Toledo when she finished T32. Steen also qualified for the U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst.
Steen, who now lives in Lake Mary in the offseason with fellow Tour player Kim Kaufman, is the first Memphis graduate to play on the LPGA Tour. She is also the first player from the greater Cincinnati area to play on the big Tour since Natalie Tucker, who played on Tour from 2005-2008.
Off the course, Steen was always willing to give back to junior golfers and communities that the Symetra Tour visited.
When she won the Symetra Player of the Year award, she had the opportunity to make a $1,500 to the charity of her choice. She choose the Lupus Foundation of America in support of her mom, who was diagnosed with Lupus in 2012.
Steen is a great ambassador for the LPGA Tour and now ready to also be a great competitor on the course.