Women’s Pro Golf in the US Returns with the Firekeepers This Weekend
The professional golf world is slowing getting back into their schedules with safety precautions. Another tour returns from a four-month hiatus and kicks it off in Battle Creek Friday.
The Symetra Tour-Road to the LPGA begins the first of their eight remaining events in their shortened 2020 season at Battle Creek Country Club with the Firekeepers Casino Hotel Championship. This is the seventh year of the event with a $175,000 purse spread among the top 60 players (plus ties). A total of 144 players will play the first two rounds of the three-day event, with the cut being made for Sunday's final round.
This year's event will be a little different in the fact that there will be no spectators allowed to this year's event. The live leaderboard will be updated as they day goes along for all three rounds. The first two rounds will have two sets of three players apiece teeing off at the 1st and 10th holes. The final round will also go off on the front and back, just in pairs.
Here are a couple of key groups for the first two rounds to keep an eye on -
Janie Jackson, Lauren Coughlin and Paula Reto (8:47 a.m. Friday-1st tee / 1:47 p.m. Saturday-10th)
The Symetra Tour's lone winner for 2020, Janie Jackson will be teamed up with Lauren Coughlin, who finished third in the Florida Natural Charity Classic in Winter Haven, Florida. Coughlin just missed out on making the LPGA last season after three top-10 finishes (I talked with her at last year's event). This is Coughlin's third time playing at the Firekeepers. Reto rounds out the trio and also makes her third appearance at BCCC, finishing runner-up the last two Firekeepers Championships.
Anita Uwadia, Sarah Shipley and Gabrielle Shipley (2:20 p.m. Friday-10th tee / 9:20 a.m. Saturday-1st tee)
Anita Uwadia is one of three players from England that is playing in the Championship and one of 51 international players playing this weekend. This is also her first event on the Symetra Tour. She will paired up with the Shipley sisters, who are from Hastings and received sponsor exemptions this week. Gabrielle (pictured above) continues to work on becoming a pro full-time in Florida after graduating from Grand Valley State. Sarah is one of two amateurs playing this weekend and will be returning to the University of Kentucky for her senior season of eligibility after the Spring season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
One other note about the tournament is the shortened Potawatomi Cup points that are available for the tournament. Players that score well through this tournament along with the Four Winds Invitational, rescheduled for Labor Day weekend in South Bend, Indiana, have an opportunity to earn bonus cash. The top five players in points will earn money $10,000 for the winner and $5,000 for the runner-up. The Cup normally includes the Island Resort Championship in Harris, Michigan, scheduled in May but was cancelled due to the pandemic.