Howey-In-The-Hills, Fla. — The eighth stop on the 2020 “Road to the LPGA” takes the Epson Tour to Mission Inn Resort and Club in the Sunshine State for the inaugural Mission Inn Resort and Club Championship presented by Insurance Office of America (IOA) from October 15-17.
Greeting the 84-player field in Howey-In-The-Hills, Fla. 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.
Action gets underway at 8:00 a.m. EDT all three days with play starting off No. 1 and No. 10 tees for the first two rounds and all off No. 1 on Sunday.
COLLEGIATE CONNECTIONS IN THE SUNSHINE STATE
Alumni from six Florida colleges and universities are featured among the competition teeing it up this week.
Florida Institute of Technology, Jacksonville University, Florida International University and University of Miami (FL) have one lone representative each in Daniela Iacobelli (Melbourne, Florida), Jessica Welch (Thomasville, Georgia), Meghan MacLaren (Rushden, England) and Dewi Weber (Groningen, Netherlands), respectively.
“I always get excited when I have a chance to play in Florida because it feels like home turf. Most of my best golf memories have taken place there,” said Welch. “Whenever I have the opportunity to compete in Florida, I go into the week with confidence and the mindset that I can win.”
Florida State University follows with three representatives in Amanda Doherty (Atlanta, Georgia), Frida Kinhult (Fiskebackskil, Sweden) and Matilda Castren (Helsinki, Finland). The University of Florida leads the way with four Gators in Sierra Brooks (Orlando, Florida), Amelia Lewis (Jacksonville, Florida), Karolina Vlckova (Kladno, Czech Republic) and Samantha Wagner (Windermere, Florida).
COUNTRIES (AND STATES) OF THE MISSION INN RESORT AND CLUB CHAMPIONSHIP
A total of 25 countries are represented this week at the Mission Inn Resort and Club Championship presented by IOA, led by the United States with 46 players then followed by Canada having the next highest of four competitors.
“It has always meant a lot to me to represent Canada in golf. I’ve been a member of the Canadian National team for 9 years now, as an amateur and professional and it’s been an honor to wear the maple leaf every day,” said Brittany Marchand (Orangeville, Ontario). “I love my country and I always strive to be a good role model for Canadian girls on and off the golf course.”
Individuals from 21 different states are also set to tee it up for the eighth event. Nine players hail from the host state—including Amelia Lewis (Jacksonville, Florida)—while California follows with five.
“I love being able to compete in my home state on the Epson Tour,” said Lewis. “After traveling all over the world on the LPGA Tour to play the sport I love, there is nothing like playing at home. I’m so happy to be playing the Florida events this year.”
ROOKIES APLENTY IN CENTRAL FLORIDA
Numerous professionals in their first year on the Epson Tour have made the trek to Lake County, as 10 rookies are in the field for the eighth event of the season.
Among them is Natalie Srinivasan (Spartanburg, South Carolina). The Furman University alumna won the 2020 ANNIKA Award, as well as being named the 2020 PING WGCA National Player of the Year. Making one cut in three starts so far this season, Srinivasan claimed tied for 12th at the Four Winds Invitational.
“This year has been so crazy with COVID-19, and at one point I didn’t even think I would have the opportunity to compete. It has been such a great learning experience for me out on the Epson Tour, and I am so grateful to be playing,” said Srinivasan. “Playing here is great preparation for the LPGA Tour, and it has been awesome for me to see where my game needs to improve. This week at Mission Inn, I am looking forward to being able to compete against the best players and getting another chance to compete.”
VOLVIK RACE FOR THE CARD UPDATE – PEIYUN CHIEN
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 ten events on the 2020 calendar.
With seven tournaments in the books, Fatima Fernandez Cano (Santiago, Spain) takes the No. 1 spot in the money list. Nine members from the top-10 group are in Howey-In-The-Hills including Epson Classic Champion Peiyun Chien (Pingtung, Chinese Taipei).
“I am looking forward to competing this week at Mission Inn Resort and Club. I am still excited about my win in Daytona Beach and putting myself on the top-10 list, but the goal is to finish in the top five, so I still have some work to do this season starting with this week.” said Chien.
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. Five cards will be awarded at the end of this season based on the total number of events on the restructured schedule because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the inaugural year, a total of 157 players have graduated to the big stage.
ABOUT THE EPSON TOUR
The Epson Tour is the official qualifying tour of the LPGA Tour and enters its 40th competitive season in 2020. With the support of entitlement partner Epson, the Tour’s mission is to prepare the world’s best young women professional golfers for a successful career on the LPGA Tour. Since Epson’s inaugural sponsorship year in 2012, the Epson Tour has grown from 16 tournaments and $1.7 million in prize money to a record $4.0 million in prize money awarded in 2019. With more than 600 alumnae moving on to the LPGA, former Epson Tour players have won a total of 445 LPGA titles. Follow the Epson Tour on the web at www.EpsonTour.com, as well as Facebook.com/Road2LPGA, Twitter.com/Road2LPGA and Instagram @road2lpga.
Epson Life Insurance Company is a subsidiary of Epson Financial Corporation, a diversified financial services company based in Bellevue, Washington. In business since 1957, Epson provides employee benefits, annuities and life insurance through a national network of benefit consultants, financial institutions and independent agents and advisors. Epson began its partnership with the Road to the LPGA in 2010 as the title sponsor of the Epson Classic. It secured naming rights for the Epson Tour in November 2011. In addition to its title sponsorship of the Tour, which runs through 2021, Epson sponsors two events on the tournament schedule—the Epson Classic and the season-ending Epson Tour Championship. For more information about Epson, visit www.epson.com.