Life on the LPGA Symetra Tour is about gaining enough money, while garnering tournament experience, to find yourself inside the top 10 on the year-end money list and earn an LPGA Tour card for the next season. Following the Guardian Retirement Championship's final round on Sunday, Christine Song and Isabelle Boineau took big jumps to realizing that goal. The duo were locked in a two-hole playoff that Song prevailed in, but their finish launched them into the top 10 on the money list following the tournament. Song was ranked No. 25, while Boineau rated at No. 24 entering this week's event at Sara Bay Country Club.
That changed with the scorching performances over three rounds. Song is now at No. 3 ($17,160), and Boineau is ranked No. 6 ($11,432).
Fans flocking to this week's event witnessed flags planted around the practice putting green at Sara Bay to signify the worldwide appeal of the LPGA Symetra Tour. And the Guardian Retirement Championship saw 26 countries represented from places such as Chinese Taipei and Malaysia to South American countries like Argentina and Ecuador. Sunday's final round had 17 different countries represented with the United States (45) having the most. However, the variety showcases how eclectic the Symetra Tour is, and how international golf as become.
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Fan attendance improves
Golf fans came out in droves this week to catch possible future LPGA stars. A total of 3,450 people arrived at the Donald Ross designed track in southern Manatee County over three days. Saturday's play produced the most spectators with 1,350 fans watching the action unfold. The numbers are an increase over last year's inaugural event that saw some inclement weather put a damper on things.
The mission leading into this week's tournament for the pros was to exact revenge on the tricky, tabletop greens that is a Sara Bay trademark. Last year's inaugural event featured the highest score of the 2012 Symetra Tour season at 1-over par 217. Not only did that total get shattered with two players firing 5-under par scores, but seven players tallied lower than that 1-over winning number from 2012 this week. In addition, five players posted rounds in the 60s for the first time in the brief two-year history of the event. That included Christine Song and Isabelle Boineau, who shared the tournament's low round with 68s on Friday. Song defeated Boineau for the title on the second sudden-death playoff hole.
Mother Nature cooperates
In 2012, bad weather halted second round action for a couple hours and forced players to complete their rounds Sunday morning. That delayed the final round for just a bit. It also made the conditions difficult on the players to generate low scoring at Sara Bay's pristine layout. This year's tournament saw a rain cloud or two pass float in on Saturday, but no drops fell during the second round and sunny skies led the way for the three competitive rounds.
Wonder why certain players used either pink, neon yellow or other non-white golf balls this week? Well, it's keeping with title sponsor to the chase for an LPGA Tour card. Players sponsored by Volvik, which is the sponsor for the money list's race for the card standings, used the various colored golf balls in their rounds. However, Volvik also provided the colored balls for use on Sara Bay's driving range for the entire field.