DEFENDING CHAMP INBEE PARK FORCED TO WITHDRAW WITH INJURY
Defending Volunteers of America Texas Shootout Presented by JTBC champion Inbee Park was forced to withdraw from this year’s event due to an injury.
“I’m sorry I’m not going to be able to defend my title in Texas this year,” Park said. “It’s a fantastic event and one that has always been on my must plays ever since the event started in 2013. As you may have heard I’ve had to withdraw from this year’s event as I’ve had an ongoing Thumb injury since late last year. After a long discussion with my team we decided it was best to take the next month off and get it right. I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the best for this year’s event and I look forward to returning again next year.”
Last season, Park issued notice early on a crowded Sunday leaderboard that this tournament was going to be hers for the taking as she birdied the second and third holes Sunday to climb out to a lead in which she’d never relinquish, firing a 6-under-par 65 on Sunday to take the title by three shots.
Park also captured the title at Las Colinas in 2013.
SHOOTOUT WINNERS LOOKING TO SHOW THEIR STUFF
On March 16, 100 of the top collegiate and high school amateur golfers teed it up for a chance to earn a spot in the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout Presented by JTBC. The 100 players were narrowed down to four as two high school and two college ams qualified for the event.
On the college side, Texas A&M’s Maddie Szeryk and Alabama’s Cheyenne Knight made it through the qualifying with scores of 73.
While for the high school players, Kristen Gillman and Karah Sanford each carded rounds of 72 to earn their way into the field.
Szeryk won the high school shootout two years ago and competed in the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout field in 2014. While the Allen, Texas product missed the cut at Las Colinas she gained valuable experience playing alongside Major Champion Karen Stupples.
“I learned a lot playing with her, she was great,” Szeryk told local media following her qualifier. “I think the biggest thing I learned that week was how important chipping and putting is. The short game is what wins golf tournaments.”
The Canadian national also competed in her home Open, the CP Women’s Open, on the LPGA in 2015.
Szeryk won’t be the only shootout qualifier with LPGA experience under her belt as Gillman has competed in four LPGA events including three last season - the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic, the U.S. Women’s Open and the RICOH Women’s British Open.
Both Knight and Sanford will be making their LPGA debuts this week.
BRITTANY ALTOMARE COMING OFF WIN ON SYMETRA TOUR
Brittany Altomare will head to the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout on a high note after picking up her first major professional win on the Symetra Tour, the Road to the LPGA, last weekend at the Guardian Retirement Championship at Sara Bay.
“This win gives me an incredible amount of confidence,” said Altomare. “I know my game is ready, and I know I can do it so I am just excited.”
The victory came in dramatic fashion as Altomare had outlasted Nicole Broch Larson in a five-hole playoff. After both players had made par on the first four playoff holes, Altomare stuck her approach to 4-feet above the hole on the fifth and calmly made the putt after Broch Larsen missed her long birdie attempt.
“The moment that ball went in, it was almost like a relief like ‘I did it’ finally,” said Altomare. “This is my fourth year as a professional, and it is exciting, it is a relief and a confidence booster.”
Altomare, who started the season with conditional status on the LPGA Tour, earned her way into the field at Las Colinas through the LPGA reshuffle. The University of Virginia grad finished T21 at the Pure-Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic and earned a shade under $14,000 to help her get reshuffled. In her only other LPGA action in 2016, Altomare missed the cut last week at the LOTTE Championship. Altomare has played in three U.S. Women’s Open’s, but as an amateur. She expects to get into the next six LPGA events with her new status.
TEXAS UNIVERISTIES WELL REPRESENTED AT VOA TEXAS SHOOTOUT
Texas universities will be well-represented this week as five players in the field competed collegiately in the Lone Star state. Below is the breakdown of those players.
TCU - Angela Stanford
Texas A&M - Maddie Szeryk (a)
Texas - Bertine Strauss
Texas Tech - Kim Kaufman
UTEP = Gerina Piller