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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

LPGA Symetra Tour: Race for the Card

On Monday, this blog examined how the 2012 season was going for LPGA Tour pros that are based in Manatee County.

Today, we'll look at how players from the area are faring on the LPGA Symetra Tour, which is one step below the main tour.

The top 10 players on the season-ending money list will earn an LPGA Tour card for the 2013 season.

And the Volvik Race For the Card is winding down, with just three tournaments left in the year.

Here's how the locals stand:

Jaclyn Sweeney

The former Arizona State University star is in the best shape among any players calling Manatee County home. Currently, Sweeney is No. 9 on the money list with just more than $28,000 in earnings out of 12 tournaments. And her lead over the 10th and 11th players on the money list is slim. So Sweeney will need three strong events to close out the season and avoid Q-School with a free pass to the LPGA Tour next year.

Ginger Howard

All eyes were on the budding phenom when she turned pro and ran through the local Q-School stage in Venice with ease. But Howard's rookie year on the Symetra Tour hasn't been all glitz and glamor like some top talents have had on the LPGA Tour (see Lexi Thompson). Howard is ranked No. 32 on the money list with earnings just below $14,500. Nonetheless, the IMG Academies alum can still vault herself into the top 10 with a victory or two down the stretch. She'll need to improve her 73.97 scoring average first, though.

Rachel Connor

Connor is in a similar position to Howard. The Englishwoman hasn't marveled this year, with $14,811 in 11 tournaments. It ranks her No. 31 on the money list and crunch time is upon Connor to make a move toward earning her card. Otherwise, Q-School looms. Her major weakness is with the putter, where she ranks 76th in putting. But Connor has also generated five rounds in the 60s this season, good for a tie for 8th on the Symetra Tour and reason to believe she can string it all together with three events left.

Natalie Sheary

The former Wake Forest standout came through IMG's famous golf academy like Howard and Sweeney. But unlike Sweeney, Sheary isn't in a comfortable position with three tournaments remaining on the season.
She sits just below the $11,000 mark in earnings, and has to excel quickly in order to gain a card to the LPGA Tour in 2013. Sheary's driving accuracy (68 percent) and greens in regulation number (63 percent) must improve if she'll better her top finish this year (tie for fifth) by the end of the season.

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