Professional golf returning to Auburn-Opelika area; RTJ Golf Trail adds third tournament in 2019

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Special to the Opelika Observer

The Symetra Tour, the official qualifying Tour for the LPGA, will be playing a professional golf tournament May 23-26 on the Lake Course at Opelika’s RTJ Grand National in Opelika, Alabama.  

A field of 144 female golfers will compete for the highest purse ever on the Symetra Tour, valued at nearly $300,000. A pro-am and other community events will be held earlier in the week.

“While we started the year with one tournament scheduled to be played on the Trail, we are delighted to welcome a second Symetra Tour event to the Trail in 2019, along with a new Web.com Tour event,” said John Cannon, president of the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. “These three events will showcase the quality of Alabama golf around the world. With such a quick turnaround, these new tournaments are a true testament to our staff and the world-class golf offered to the public along the trail all year long.”

RTJ Grand National first opened in 1992 and hosted its first professional tournament on the trail in 1997. This will be the sixth professional tournament played at Grand National and the second time for professional women’s golf. The PGA TOUR’s Barbasol Championship was held at RTJ Grand National in 2015, 2016 and 2017. The LPGA’s AFLAC Tournament of Champions was held in 1998 and the Nike Tour Championship was played at RTJ Grand National in 1997.

The Symetra Tour will return to the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail in September for the Guardian Championship in Prattville. This will be the third year for the Guardian Championship.

Here are the professional golf tournaments being played on the RTJ Golf Trail in 2019:

  • April 18 – 21 – New – Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Classic – Web.com TourSenator Course at RTJ Capitol Hill in Prattville, Alabama. This professional men’s event is new to the Trail and replaces the El Bosque Mexico Championship originally scheduled for Feb. 28 – March 3 in Leon, Mexico. The four-day tournament has a purse of $550,000. With a field of 156 international golfers, several men in the field will likely have strong connections to Alabama and the region.     
  • May 23 – 26 – New Symetra Tour event – Tournament Name and Sponsor to be announced at a later date Lake Course at RTJ Grand National in Opelika, Alabama – Tournament. This new Symetra event will have the highest purse on the Symetra Tour in 2019 at $300,000. With a field of 144 golfers, the tournament will be played May 23-26, Memorial Day weekend.
  • Sept. 20 – 22 –  Ongoing – Guardian Championship – Symetra TourSenator Course at RTJ Capitol Hill in Prattville, Alabama . In its third year, the Guardian Championship is quickly becoming one of the favorites on the Symetra Tour. Held late in the season, the Guardian Championship plays a key role in helping Symetra Tour golfers increase their earning and become members of the LPGA Tour the following year. Lindsey Weaver won the inaugural tournament in 2017 and Kendall Dye was the 2018 champion.

“We will have a strong need for volunteers and other community partners for these events,” said Cannon. “Both Opelika and Prattville have strong track records in hosting great events and offering exceptional hospitality. We look forward to welcoming these professional golfers and their fans to Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail,” said Cannon. “We encourage the fans to come back and play these courses for themselves.”

2019 SYMETRA TOUR PLAYERS WITH ALABAMA CONNECTIONS

  • Lakareber Abe – University of Alabama
  • Marta Sanz Barrio – Auburn University
  • Patricia Sanz Barrio – Auburn University
  • Carlie Carr – Auburn University
  • Cydney Clanton – Auburn University
  • Janie Jackson – University of Alabama
  • Cheyenne Knight – University of Alabama
  • Mia Landegren – University of Alabama
  • Camilla Lennarth – University of Alabama
  • Anna Lesher – University of South Alabama

ABOUT SYMETRA TOUR 

The Symetra Tour is the official qualifying tour of the LPGA Tour and enters its 39th competitive season in 2019. With the support of its entitlement partner Symetra, the Tour’s mission is to prepare the world’s best young women professional golfers for a successful career on the LPGA Tour. Since Symetra’s inaugural sponsorship year in 2012, the Symetra Tour has grown from 16 tournaments and $1.7 million in prize money to $4.0 million in prize money awarded over the course of 24 tournaments. With more than 600 alumnae moving on to the LPGA, former Symetra Tour players have won a total of 437 LPGA titles. Follow the Symetra Tour on the web at www.SymetraTour.com, Facebook.com/Road2LPGA, Twitter.com/Road2LPGA, and YouTube.com/Road2LPGA.

Additional information on these tournaments and how to become involved will be available online at rtjgolf.com.

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