In its first year of sponsorship, the Seiko Epson Corporation has impacted the game of women’s golf in more ways than one. The Japanese multinational company has helped the women on the Epson Tour both personally and financially.
To make more dreams a reality, Epson has assisted the LPGA’s Official Qualifying Tour in lowering tournament entry fees from $500 to $450, saving players about $1000 if they compete in every event. They also worked with the LPGA to help increase purse sizes which now are a minimum of $200,000 for each tournament on the Epson Tour.
“I feel like the involvement with Epson has been outstanding,” said Gabby Lemieux. “It's just been an incredible experience this year, and I can't imagine what they're going to do in the years to come.”
Samantha Wagner agrees with Lemieux and has even encountered their involvement first-hand throughout the season. The Florida native was able to interact with members of the Seiko Epson Corporation during pro-am tournaments, elevating her experience on tour.
“Every season is great, but this season has been amazing,” said Wagner. “I've also been fortunate to play with Epson people in a lot of pro-ams, so it's been great to meet people. The company is just so invested in our tour and in bettering our lives and our game out here, so we're really appreciative of all their help.”
Epson Tour veteran, Laura Wearn has been on the tour since 2014 and is excited to see what else Epson can do for women’s golf. During her rookie year, the top money earner walked away from the tour with $75,348. This year, Linnea Ström finished with $119,190. With the help of Epson, the new standard winner’s check is only $11,381 short of what No. 10 on the official money list finished the 2014 season with.
“It's been really cool to see their commitment to the women's game,” said Wearn. “The level of play has gone up, so hopefully entry fees will continue to go down and the purses will continue to go up. I think over time all that will happen, especially with Epson's support.”
While they haven’t been around long enough to know different, rookies Alexa Pano and Gina Kim also felt the impact of the Seiko Epson Corporation sponsorship. Pano, who finished No. 13 on the money list and will compete in Q-Series for a second shot at LPGA membership, feels that she has grown on the course throughout the season – thanks to Epson.
“I think the Epson Tour has been so helpful in developing me for the next level,” said Pano. “I mean, I came in here having no expectations. I knew I could do well, but it's really taught me a lot more than I ever thought that it would.”
Like Pano, Kim thanks the Epson Tour for giving her confidence to compete against the best. The North Carolina native was a dual member during the 2022 season, splitting time between the LPGA Tour and Epson Tour. She says coming back to the Epson Tour helped remind her that she can reach her dreams of playing in the big leagues.
“When I was out on the LPGA I struggled a bit,” said Kim. “Just being able to come back to the Epson Tour has really helped me gain a lot of confidence to be able to do what I've done out there. I think they made a huge difference in my career already, and that only happened within a two-month span. I'm excited to see what they can do forward.”