The Symetra Tour and newly formed Women’s All Pro Tour (WAPT) have announced a partnership for 2019 to promote and enhance opportunities for women to play professional golf.
As the official qualifying tour of the LPGA Tour, the Symetra Tour is known as the “Road to LPGA.” The agreement focuses on the WAPT serving in the same role, only for the Symetra Tour.
“There are so many deserving professional female golfers who are members of the Symetra Tour, but haven’t had access to our tournaments because we don’t host weekly qualifiers,” said Mike Nichols, the Chief Business Officer of the Symetra Tour. “Additionally, those players who are on the alternate list waiting for their opportunity to play often lack consistent tournament competition to be ready when their time comes.”
“Our hope is that Symetra Tour members will take advantage of this alliance which provides them with an avenue for tournament entry and consistent, high-level competition against their peers.”
Operated by K&G Sports LLC, the WAPT is a developmental tour that will host five-tournament series. Each series will feature two 72-hole championships for a full schedule of ten events in 2019. The top two competitors in each of the five series will receive an exemption into select Symetra Tour events.
While the 2019 Symetra Tour schedule has yet to be announced, it will once again feature greater than 20 tournaments and $3 million in total prize money for the season. Symetra Tour tournament exemptions will be granted for the following events based on results from series one through five, respectively: IOA Championship presented by Morongo Casino Resort and Spa, Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout, Valley Forge Invitational, Prasco Charity Championship and Janesville Golf Classic.
“We are very excited and honoured to partner with the Symetra Tour and more importantly, be a part of the growth of women's golf,” said WAPT president Gary DeSerrano. “As we have done with the APT, the goal of our new WAPT is to provide more playing opportunities for women in professional golf and prepare them for a life on the Symetra and LPGA Tours.”
“We look forward to the partnership in 2019 and hope to grow it in the years to come.”
K&G Sports is not new to professional golf. Since 2007 they have expanded the All-Pro Tour (APT) into the largest men’s developmental tour outside those within the PGA TOUR circuit. The APT hosts 14-15 events each year and have graduated a number of players to the PGA TOUR including first-time winners Andrew Landry, Brice Garnett and Austin Cook in 2018.
Meanwhile, the alliance is sure to open doors for female players and pay dividends immediately. The WAPT hosted three tournaments in 2018 that served as test events and promotion for the tour's kickoff in 2019. Summar Roachell (Conway, Arkansas) competed in all three of the APT women’s division tournaments with her best showing of second place in Mandeville, La. at the Business First Bank Classic.
The University of Arkansas alumna said the experience helped prepare her for the next step and that a great deal of potential exists with the two organizations joining forces.
“Not having status the past year on the Symetra Tour, this partnership would have shown me the level of competition I could expect week in and week out on the Symetra Tour,” said Roachell, who finished 144 holes at the inaugural LPGA Q-Series to gain Symetra Tour membership for next season. “Every WAPT event I played I knew exactly what I was going to get—quality competition, great golf course, challenging setup and tournament staff that cares about your development.”
“I am thrilled to see the Symetra Tour and WAPT join together. It is a step in the right direction.”