BOSTON, Oct. 13, 2016 – Journeyman professional Nicole Jeray has a unique claim to fame in the fact that she is a regular competitor on all three women’s professional tours in the United States.
She competes with the young pros on the Symetra Tour, as well as on the LPGA Tour and alongside some of the greatest names in golf on The Legends Tour, for which she qualified last year for the first time after turning age 45.
Jeray earned a spot in last year’s Walgreens Charity Championship through a qualifying event on The Legends Tour and carded the tournament’s low round of 6-under 66 in the final round to finish as runner-up to winner Liselotte Neumann.
When The Legends Tour returns to The Seagate Country Club in Delray Beach, Fla., for this year’s championship Oct. 29-30, Jeray hopes for a chance to win against the players she has long admired.
“I’m looking forward to playing that golf course again and seeing all the legends of the LPGA,” said Jeray, 46, who earned her career-high paycheck of $18,000 with last year’s second-place finish. “I still get a big kick being around these players.”
Jeray admitted to being “pretty nervous” when she was paired in the championship’s final round last year with Michelle McGann – a former top-10 player when both competed on the LPGA Tour.
“I was just trying to keep up with her during that round,” said Jeray of Berwyn, Ill. “We both birdied a bunch of holes and had fun.”
Jeray said her original goal was simply to qualify for the tournament to make a paycheck. She never dreamed she would play well enough to nearly win.
“Finishing second was an extra bonus and it gave me some confidence when I had to go back to the LPGA Q-School last fall,” she added. “Plus, I got to play in two other Legends Tour events this year.”
Having spent most of her career trying to compete while suffering with narcolepsy, Jeray says she is the healthiest she has ever been and is now on a medicine that stabilizes the chronic disorder that causes untimely attacks of drowsiness and sleep.
“I’m more awake and I’m playing the best golf right now that I’ve ever played,” she added. “And while I feel a lot older than the other players on the Symetra Tour, I feel younger on the Legends Tour.”
But Jeray, who raises funds for her narcolepsy charity, “Swinging for Sleep,” with every birdie she makes, enjoys the wide spectrum of competition she regularly faces.
“I love everywhere I compete and with players of all ages,” she said. “You’d think I’d love competing more for $2 million purses than at tournaments that award a lot less, but I love them all, and I’m just happy to still be playing.”
This year’s third annual Walgreens Charity Championship will feature 52 legends of the LPGA with 2015 champion Liselotte Neumann returning to defend her title.
Ten LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame members plan to compete for $250,000, including Delray Beach resident Beth Daniel and 2015 and 2017 U.S. Solheim Cup Captain Juli Inkster, a two-time Legends Tour winner.
Eight Legends will compete for a separate purse in the Legends Honors Division for players age 63 and over.
Other Florida-based pros in this year’s championship will include: Helen Alfredsson, JoAnne Carner, Judy Dickinson, Wendy Doolan, Lorie Kane, Sally Little, Barb Mucha, Laurie Rinker, Barb Scherbak, Nancy Scranton and Jan Stephenson.
Miami teaching professional Paula Pearson Tucker and University of Miami women’s golf coach Patti Rizzo are also in the field.
Top senior women amateurs Pamela Kuong of Wellesley, Mass., the 2015 U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur runner-up, as well as Mary Jane Hiestand of Naples, Fla., the 2016 Florida State Senior Women’s Amateur champion, will also compete.
A local qualifying tournament will be held on Thursday, Oct. 27, starting at 8:30 a.m. The top two finishers will earn spots into the championship field.
Walgreens customers can save $5 per ticket off the $10 price at the gate by purchasing advance tickets at participating Walgreens stores. Single tickets are good for either the Saturday or Sunday rounds. In addition, kids 17 and under, as well as active military with I.D., get into the tournament free.
All ticket proceeds from the Walgreens Charity Championship benefit charity partners The Dan Marino Foundation and Achievement Centers for Children and Families.
Tee times for the Walgreens Charity Championship will start at 8:30 a.m. each day, with gates opening at 8 a.m.
Here is the current tournament field for the Walgreens Charity Championship:
Blalock, Jane (LHD)
Caponi, Donna (LHD)
Dickinson, Judy (LHD)
Hamlin, Shelley (LHD)
Haynie, Sandra (LHD)
Little, Sally (LHD)
Palmer, Sandra (LHD)
Pearson Tucker, Paula
Stephenson, Jan (LHD)
LHD - Legends Honors Division Player