Symetra

NORTH PORT--The Symetra Tour, the qualifying tour for the LPGA, will be making its first stop at the Charlotte Harbor National Golf Club, with the SKYiGolf Championship, to be played March 7-10.

The tournament offers the second largest purse in Symetra Tour history, $250,000. The SKYiGOLF Championship is the first of 24 events on the Symetra Tour.

The Pro-Am tournament is Wednesday and will start at 8 a.m.

"We have our number one player (Ruixin Liu) from our money list here this week," said Zach Sepanik, Symetra Tour Media and Public Relations Official. "She can play on the LPGA for the rest of the year, this is kind of a warmup week for her between events."

People who participate in the Pro-Am will have an opportunity to experience what it's like to play in an LPGA event, said Sepanik.

"It's a great setup, a great venue and the course is immaculate," said Sepanik.

A deep field of 132 players will contest a challenging 72-hole stroke play format. The field will be reduced by more than half after the second round, to the players with the 60 lowest scores and ties.

"To have SKYiGOLF step on the gas right from the get go, is really special," said Sepanik.

The first and second round will start at 7:15 a.m., with golfers starting from the no. 1 and no. 10 tees. For the penultimate and final round, players will tee off from the no. 1 tee at 8 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. respectively.

Professional golfers from 32 countries compose the field, and 12 of those are from the state of Florida., with 26 rookies making their professional debut.

Greta Voelker, who spent the last 2 1/2 years playing collegiately at the University of Texas, will be making her professional debut in the SKYiGOLF championship this week.

It's the realization of a dream come true for the native of Witten, Germany. Voelker is no stranger to the Symetra Tour, having competed in three events in 2016 as an amateur, is one of two sponsor exemptions.

"The course is really pretty and challenging," said Voelker. "I'm excited to play it and it looks like it's going to be a fun week."

The 21-year-old welcomes the opportunity to compete against a deep field. She had six top-10 collegiate finishes, including a runner-up placing at the 2016 Las Vegas Collegiate Showdown. She's played Q-School, and playing professionally has been a priority, something she shared with her collegiate coach. She turned pro in January.

"He knew that I wasn't going to be there for four years, and I felt this was the right time to do it and take my chance," said the 2017 Big 12 Freshman of the Year. "I feel very fortunate to get the sponsor invitation to be here and play. I'm just happy to be here."

The public is welcome and general admission tickets are free.

For more information about the the SKYiGOLF Championship tournament, you can visit their website at skyigolfchampionship.com.

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