W.B. Mason Championship
Thorny Lea Golf Club
May 23, 2016
BROCKTON, Mass., May 23, 2016 - The Symetra Tour, Road to the LPGA, returns to Brockton for the 2nd annual W.B. Mason Championship at Thorny Lea Golf Club from May 27-29. The top 132 professionals from the United States and 28 countries around the globe will compete for a $125,000 purse, which is up $25,000 over 2015.
Play gets underway on Friday, May 27 at 7:30 a.m. There will be a cut made to the low 60 and ties following second-round play on Saturday, May 28. The trophy ceremony will take place on the 18th green at approximately 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 29.
The winner of the W.B. Mason Championship will earn $18,750 and move up the Volvik Race for the Card money list. The top 10 on the final Symetra Tour money list will earn LPGA Tour membership for the 2017 season.
This is the eighth event of the season and the fourth in a five-week stretch that started in Greenwood, South Carolina. The Tour visited Charlotte, North Carolina and was in Milton, Georgia last week. The stretch
concludes next week in Albany, New York with the Fuccillo Kia Championship at Capital Hills. The 23rd and final event of the year is the Symetra Tour Championship from Oct. 13-16.
In 2015, Vicky Hurst won the inaugural W.B. Mason Championship at 13-under, 200, three strokes clear of Alejandra Llaneza and Brittany Benvenuto. Hurst’s first win since 2008 triggered a second victory later in the year and stamped her ticket to the LPGA by finishing 9th on the money list. Hurst has had an up-and-down year on the LPGA thus far with three cuts made in ten events.
The field for this year’s W.B. Mason Championship is strong with seven of the top ten and 11 of the top 15 on the current Volvik Race for the Card money list scheduled to compete. The field also features 13 members of the LPGA Tour.
MASSACHUSETTS NATIVE KAITLIN COONS READY: Kaitlin Coons is the lone Massachusetts professional in the field this week. The Wilbraham native is a second-year player on Tour.
The former Minechaug (‘09) standout and 2-time Western Massachusetts individual champion has had a rough go in 2016, but knows it only takes one week.
“It feels really good to be in my home state this week,” said Coons. “To be surrounded by family and familiarity makes playing more comfortable and exciting.”
Coons’ dad will be on her bag this week.
“I know he is excited to be on the bag,” said Coons, who will stay with her aunt and uncle in Concord. “I haven’t had a chance to go to a Red Sox game this year yet, so I know I’m going to squeeze that in too along with the preparation for the W.B. Mason Championship.”
BROOKLINE RESIDENT HANNEMANN EXCITED: Candy Hannemann, who lives in Brookline with her husband Adam Grossman, the Chief Marketing Officer of the Boston Red Sox, and two daughters (Stella and Luiza) is in the W.B. Mason Championship for a second straight year.
“I am very excited to be home and playing in the Boston area,” said Hannemann. “It is a great feeling to sleep in your own bed and for the girls to have an opportunity to come watch. I am just thrilled that the Symetra Tour has a stop here.”
Hannemann has made five starts on the Symetra Tour this year and after missing the cut in the first two events, she has made the cut in her last three including a T38 finish at the Symetra Classic in Charlotte two weeks ago.
Hannemann played full-time on the LPGA Tour from 2004-2008 and posted six top 10 finishes. She left the game due to injury and then started a family. Hannemann returned to golf in 2014 in order to attempt to qualify for the Olympics and has until July 11 to try and qualify. She is currently the third highest ranked Brazilian professional and likely one or two from Brazil will qualify.
LOCAL AMATEURS IN THE FIELD: Two local amateurs, Jacquelyn Eleey and Tara Joy-Connelly, are in the field on sponsor exemptions this year. Eleey played in the W.B. Mason Championship last year and missed the cut (80-76) while Joy-Connelly is in for the first time.
Eleey, a Quincy native, is a rising junior at Georgetown. The former Taft School star had a tremendous freshman campaign earning BIG EAST Freshman of the Year honors and winning the 2015 BIG EAST individual championship. Eleey tied for 15th at the BIG EAST Championship this year. Eleey was a medalist at the WGAM (Women’s Golf Association of Massachusetts) State Amateur in 2015.
Joy-Connelly finished fourth in the 2015 WGAM Player of the Year Standings (won by Megan Khang). She is a five-time winner of the New England Women’s Golf Association Championship and a two-time WGAM State Amateur Champion. In 2004, she was named an assistant women’s golf coach at Boston College. Her husband, J.P. Connelly, is the Director of Golf Operations at Cohasset Golf Club.
SHREWSBURY’S ALTOMARE NOW ENJOYING SUCCESS ON LPGA: Shrewsbury, Mass. native Brittany Altomare played in the W.B. Mason Championship last year and is now enjoying success on the LPGA Tour. Altomare has made the cut in her last three LPGA events including a T18 finish this past week at the Kingsmill Championship.
She won the Symetra Tour’s Guardian Retirement Championship at Sara Bay just before getting reshuffled on the LPGA. Altomare finished T26 at LPGA Qualifying Tournament in 2015 to earn partial status and is now taking full advantage.
Altomare ranks 89th on the LPGA Tour money list in just five starts. Most of the players around her on the money list have had 10-12 starts.
WITH FAMILY IN DEDHAM, SEPMOREE EXCITED FOR RETURN: Katelyn Sepmoree may have Tyler, Texas next to her name on the pairings sheet this week, but Dedham and the Boston area have a special place in her heart. A large portion of her family lives in Dedham and she is a huge Boston Red Sox fan.
“Having an event in Massachusetts is like having a home event for me,” said Sepmoree. “My family up here are huge supporters of me and my career. It will be a great week having them out to cheer me on and go Sox!”
Sepmoree also likes Thorny Lea Golf Club as evident by her T8 finish in 2015 with rounds of 69-69-68.
“I love the old style classic golf course,” said Sepmoree. “Oddly enough, it reminds me of my home course in Texas.”
Sepmoree currently ranks 31st on the Volvik Race for the Card money list. She finished T13 last week at the Gosling’s Dark ‘n Stormy® Classic in Georgia. Her best finish this year is a T7 at the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic.
WHO’S PLAYING WELL ON TOUR: No. 1 on the Volvik Race for the Card money list, Madelene Sagstrom, who set the single-season earnings record last week and has been the talk of the Tour, is not in the field this week so here is a look at who else has been playing well heading into the W.B. Mason Championship.
Erica Popson (No. 3 on money list) – Popson has moved from 45th to third over the last two events. Two weeks ago, she captured her first win at the Symetra Classic in Charlotte and then last week she finished T7. Popson won eight times in college at the University of Tennessee.
Marissa Steen (No. 7 on money list) – Steen carded a 6-under, 66 in the final-round of the Gosling’s Dark ‘n Stormy® Classic to finish T11 last week. She has finished inside the top 20 in all seven events and already has three top 10 finishes. Steen is a three-time Symetra Tour winner.
Augusta James (No. 8 on money list) – James has finished inside the top 11 in three consecutive events and has three top 10 finishes this season. She ranks second on Tour in driving accuracy and third in total birdies made. She won the 2014 Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial.
Kendall Dye (No. 14 on money list) - Dye missed the cut in two of the first three events, but has turned it on of late. She led going into the final-round two weeks ago and has back-to-back top 10 finishes. She has moved from 43rd to 14th on the money list over the last two weeks. Dye won the 2014 IOA Golf Championship and earned her LPGA card through the Tour that season.