MAINEVILLE, Ohio — The 13th stop on the 2019 “Road to the LPGA” takes the Epson Tour to TPC River’s Bend in the Buckeye State for the second annual Prasco Charity Championship from June 28-30.
Greeting the 144-player field in Maineville, Ohio is a total purse of $125,000. Individuals are set to compete in a 54-hole stroke play format with a cut to the low 60 players and ties after 36 holes. The winner’s share for the event is $18,750.
Defending champion Muni He (Chengdu, China) is not among the competitors, as she finished tied for 27th at the inaugural LPGA Q-Series to earn Priority List Category 14 status for the 2019 LPGA Tour season. The victory was one of four top-25 results for He last season.
Action gets underway at 7:30 a.m. ET all three days with play starting off No. 1 and No. 10 tees in the first and second round. Meanwhile, all groups will head off No. 1 tee in twosomes for the final round with a trophy presentation to follow on No. 18 green.
SEVERAL COLLEGIATE TIES AT 13TH STOP
Five individuals with ties to Ohio institutions for higher education are featured among the competition in the Buckeye State and are names to keep an eye on once the event starts Friday.
Kent State University has one lone representative in Jennifer Ha (Calgary, Alberta, Canada). Meanwhile, the Ohio State University leads the way with four alumnae in the field. That includes Katja Pogacar (Ljubljana, Slovenia), Rachel Rohanna (Marianna, Pennsylvania) and tournament sponsor exemption Emma Jandel (Dayton, Ohio), as well as 2019 Big Ten Conference Championship individual title winner Nikolette Schroeder (Avon Lake, Ohio).
“I am really excited to be playing in the Buckeye state,” said Rohanna, a two-time All-Big Ten First Team performer for the Buckeyes in 2010 and 2012. “Between the LPGA and Epson Tour, there was only ever the Marathon Classic that was in Ohio. Having added another event last year and get the chance to play in front of some loyal Ohio State fans is pretty awesome. We’ve always had TBDFITL!”
COUNTRIES (AND STATES) OF THE PRASCO CHARITY CHAMPIONSHIP
A total of 34 countries are represented this week at the Prasco Charity Championship, led by the United States with 77 players then followed by Canada and the Republic of Korea having the next highest of seven competitors apiece.
“No matter where I go and where I play, my heart will always beat for Hungary,” said Csicsi Rozsa (Budapest, Hungary), a 2017 rookie and the first Hungarian-born player to ever compete on the Epson Tour. “It’s an honor to lead the way for future Hungarians hoping to become professional. Golf back home might be small right now, but they are just as supportive through the good and bad. I recently received an article from an independent writer I’ve known since I was little, talking about how they are with me and supporting me from across the ocean no matter what. It’s great to have that support.”
Individuals from 26 different states are also set to tee it up at TPC River’s Bend. Seven players hail from the host state, while California boasts the most with 16.
“I know many folks think of golf as an individual sport, but I’ve received so much support through the years especially from people here in Ohio and that is a team effort to me,” said Allie White (Lancaster, Ohio), who has played the weekend eight times in 12 starts this season. “I am so thankful and proud to represent my state and my team from everywhere, whenever I play. I am extra pumped this week to defend the Ohio turf. It’s about time we had a home game.”
ROOKIES APLENTY IN THE BUCKEYE STATE
Numerous professionals in their first year on the Epson Tour have made the trek to Warren County, as 38 rookies are in the field and eager for the 13th event of the Epson Tour season.
Among them is Alice Chen (Princeton, New Jersey), who made her professional debut this year at the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout. The Furman University alumna has played six tournaments so far in her rookie campaign and made three cuts with a best showing of tied for 11th at the Epson Classic.
“I had a late start to the season because I didn’t play the best at Stage II of Q-School and also kept my amateur status so I could compete at the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur,” Chen said. “I was the last person to get into the Epson Classic field after getting a call late in the afternoon before the first round. Being an alternate at the beginning of the year has taught me to always be prepared and never take an opportunity for granted. My main focus is to learn and grow as much as I can.”
VOLVIK RACE FOR THE CARD UPDATE
The Epson Tour annually awards LPGA Tour membership to the top players on the Volvik Race for the Card money list at the end of the season and will usher in the next graduating class after 24 events on the 2019 calendar.
With 12 tournaments in the books, the top-10 underwent some shifting following the Island Resort Championship. Seven of the 10 members from the group are in Maineville including Jillian Hollis (Rocky River, Ohio), the current No. 1 coming off a tied for fourth result in the Upper Peninsula.
“A lot of tournaments are usually far away from home and this one is only about three hours, so it will be nice having family and friends come watch,” said Hollis, who has four top-five results in her last five starts including one victory. “I’m going to keep playing the same way I’ve been playing and simply try to improve a little more every week. Keep working on fundamentals, focusing on the task at hand and look forward to a fun week in my home state.”
From 1999-2002, the official qualifying tour of the LPGA handed out three cards. Then from 2003-2007, that number increased to five before 10 were distributed starting in 2008. Since the inaugural year, a total of 147 players have graduated to the big stage.