DAVIDSON, NC — The sixth stop on the 2021 “Road to the LPGA” takes the Epson Tour to River Run Country Club in the Tarheel State for the tenth-annual Epson Classic, May 14-16.
Greeting the 144-player field in Davidson, NC is a total purse of $175,000. Players 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 $26,250.
Defending champion Peiyun Chien (Pingtung, Chinese Taipei) is among the competitors. The victory was one of her three top-25 results last season and her second career win on the Epson Tour. Chien finished the 2021 season No. 9 in the “Race for the Card.”
The first and second round action gets underway on Friday at 7:30 a.m. ET off No. 1 and No. 10 tees. The final round players will all tee off No. 1. Following the final group on Sunday, the trophy presentation will take place on No. 18 green.
COLLEGE TIES RUN DEEP AT SIXTH STOP
A total of seven North Carolina institutions for higher education are featured among competition teeing it up in the Epson Classic with names to keep an eye on once the event starts on Friday.
North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina, Wilmington, and North Carolina A&T State University each have one representative in Brittany Marchand (Orangeville, Ontario, Canada), Tar Heel State native Lori Beth Adams (Burlington, North Carolina) and Epson Tour MVP Invite Christyn Carr (Atlanta, Georgia), respectively.
East Carolina University and University of North Carolina each have two representatives this week in Carley Cox (China Grove, North Carolina) and Lisa Pettersson (Taby, Sweden), and former Tar Heel’s Leslie Cloots (Antwerp, Belgium) and Allie White (Lancaster, Ohio).
Meanwhile, Duke University has three Blue Devils competing in Laetitia Beck (Caesarea, Israel), Ana Belac (Portoroz, Slovenia) and Sandy Choi (Seoul, People’s Republic of Korea). Wake Forest University leads the way as four Demon Deacons have ventured to Davidson, N.C., including Sierra Sims (Tampa, Florida), Allison Emrey (Charlotte, North Carolina), Nannette Hill (Palm Beach Gardens, Florida) and Cheyenne Woods (Phoenix, Arizona).
COUNTRIES (AND STATES) OF THE EPSON CLASSIC
A total of 29 countries are represented this week at the Epson Classic, led by the United States with 73 players and followed by Sweden having the next highest of nine competitors.
“Life on Tour is a journey and I’m so happy to have friends and fellow Swedes to travel and practice with,” said Linnea Johannson (Bastad, Sweden). “It is a privilege to represent my native country on the Epson and LPGA Tours, the biggest stage in women’s professional golf. We always make sure to cheer each other on and this week will be no different.”
Individuals from 25 different states are also set to tee it up at River Run Country Club. Five players hail from the host state, while California has the most with thirteen.
“I am so excited to play close to home again this year. It means a lot to be able to stay at home and sleep in my own bed,” said Allison Emrey. “Being on the road competing for nearly half the year truly makes you cherish the time you have at home, so to have a tournament week in Charlotte makes it that much sweeter.”
ROOKIES TRAVEL TO THE EAST COAST
Numerous professionals in their first year on the Epson Tour have made the trek to Mecklenburg County, as 21 rookies are in the field and eager for the sixth event of the Epson Tour season.
Among them is Carley Cox who was a three-time Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) All-American scholar. She also was named to the 2018 All-ACC Team as a junior while competing for the East Carolina University pirates. This week is Cox’s fifth career start on the Epson Tour.
“What a blessing it is to be able to play so close to home,” said Cox. “River Run Country Club is such an amazing course, and I am so appreciative of them allowing me the opportunity to compete this week. The local support from my friends and family will makes this event even more special.”
RACE FOR THE CARD UPDATE
The Epson Tour annually awards LPGA Tour membership to the top players on the season-ending money list. With five tournaments in the books, the top-10 starts to take form following the Garden City Charity Classic. All 10 members from the group are in Davidson including current No. 7, Haylee Harford (Leavittsburg, Ohio).
“I am happy with the position I’m in after the first five weeks,” said Harford, who qualified for the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open last week. “I’ve been enjoying myself, learning a lot, and I feel great about where my game is currently. I am looking forward to keeping the momentum going throughout our next swing of events on the east coast.”
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 162 players have graduated to the big stage.