GREENWOOD, South Carolina, May 10, 2017 - The Symetra Tour, the official qualifying Tour for the LPGA, returns to action after a week off with the fourth annual Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic at The Links at Stoney Point from Thursday, May 11 through Sunday, May 14. This is the seventh tournament of the 2017 season.
Play begins Thursday, May 11 at 7:30 a.m. from the first and tenth tees. There will be a cut made to the low 60 and ties following Friday’s second round. Play will begin at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
The field of 144 players from the United States and 29 countries around the globe will compete for a $200,000 tournament purse, the second largest on Tour. The winner will earn $30,000 and will likely move into the top five on the Volvik Race for the Card money list. The top 10 on the final money list after the Symetra Tour Championship (October 5-8) will earn LPGA membership for the 2018 season.
The Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic is one of the most important events because of the purse. Based on the current money list, anyone in the top 45 could move to No. 1 on the money list with a win this week.
SYMETRA TOUR PRO FISH & LPGA LEGEND RARICK MEET AGAIN: Shannon Fish, now in her fifth year on the Symetra Tour, remembers the day like it was yesterday. She was eight years old and her mom, Yvonne Fish, who played in two U.S. Women’s Open’s and played the mini tours, took her to an LPGA event in Austin, Texas at Onion Creek Club. They followed Cindy Rarick, who spent 25 years on the LPGA and is in Greenwood this week to participate in the Legends pro-am during the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic.
“I was just starting to play tournament golf and watching them (Cindy and other LPGA players) and seeing how women were coming up in golf was super cool,” said Fish, who had the chance to catch up with Rarick at the pro-am party on Tuesday. “I didn’t really understand how close my mom and Cindy were until I got older and realized they travelled together.”
After the round, 8-year-old Fish eagerly ran up to Rarick, who was wearing a straw hat to grab a picture with the budding star. The picture quickly went in a frame and is still displayed in the Fish’s Houston home 20 years later.
The day on the course clearly had an indelible impact on Fish. She even remembers a nifty shot Rarick pulled off.
“She went left off the tee and was in the woods and there was this little itty bitty hole between the trees,” recalled Fish. “She took an iron and put it right in between the trees onto the green and made the putt for birdie and I was just going bananas.”
Before there was a “Symetra Tour”, Yvonne and Cindy travelled the mini tours together for about a year. Fish’s father, Jim, even caddied for Rarick in a U.S. Women’s Open one year when she needed a replacement.
“I remember seeing her for the first time as an adult and I told her who I was and she was like ‘I can’t believe you are Yvonne Fish’s daughter and you are playing golf’ and she was talking about how everything has come full circle,” said Fish. “I look forward to this event because I get to see her. To be able to catch up with her and talk about my mom on mother’s day weekend is a really cool experience.”
While Yvonne decided to start a family and her priorities shifted, Cindy had a long LPGA career and captured five wins. She even finished 10th on the money list in 1990.
“She is absolutely a legend,” said Fish. “She’s (Cindy) such a nice person and I’m really lucky. I owe it all to my mom.”
Shannon and Cindy make a point to snap a picture every year at the pro-am party in Greenwood and send it to Yvonne.
“I wished Shannon the best of luck out here because I know what a fight it is (Symetra Tour),” said Rarick about her conversation with Fish yesterday. “It is so neat to see that she has pursued this following in her mother’s footsteps. I’m really hoping that this will be her breakthrough year because I know she has been close to getting her LPGA card.”
Fish is currently 23rd on the Volvik Race for the Card money list and finished a career-best 24th in 2016.
Rarick can also relate to the grind as she “buddied up” with a friend (like she did with Yvonne) to save
money on travel costs just like Tour players do today while chasing the LPGA dream.
“Way back when, before cellphones, we would dial up the citizens band (CB radios) and find out what
everyone’s handles were to figure out where we were stopping on the road trips,” explained Rarick. "I remember travelling with her mom for a year and it was great. It is neat to see how life happens.”
The former travel buddies will reunite this summer in French Lick when Shannon and Cindy play in the Symetra Tour event and the Senior LPGA Championship respectively at the French Lick Resort. No chance Yvonne would miss an opportunity to see her daughter and her former travel buddy play in tournaments at the same venue.