Epson Tour Championship — Celine Borge Interview — Must-click women’s golf links
The IX: Golf Thursday with Addie Parker, Oct. 6, 2022
Happy Golf Thursday everyone! This week marks the conclusion of the 2022 season for the ladies on the Epson Tour, formally known as the Symetra Tour. In January of this year, the LPGA and Epson announced their new partnership, which will extend through 2026.
(Editor’s note: Eleni and Hockey Friday are off this week, and will return next Friday. We’ll be back in your inboxes with Lela Moore and Gymnastics Saturday.)
Epson is a global technology company based in Japan, that specializes in printers and other image-related equipment.
With their sponsorship, the tour has been able to increase all tournament purses to a minimum of $200,000, lower entry fees by 10% per tournament for each player throughout the season, as well as granting $10,000 to each of the 2021 Epson Tour graduates before the 2022 season began.
Epson has already taken great strides towards ensuring a better future for women’s golf by providing the necessary funding for these athletes. But beyond signing checks, Epson has also began an initiative called the Epson Tour Ambassador Program. Fatima Fernandez Cano, an Epson Tour graduate in 2020 and 2021 is the first representative of the program, “It’s really incredible to see the impact that Epson is making right from the start of their partnership with the LPGA. They aren’t just putting their name on the Epson Tour, but truly walking the walk and backing women’s futures.”
With all that in mind, it makes me excited to follow the Epson Tour Championship this weekend.
108 players are gathered in Daytona Beach, Florida, just days after Hurricane Ian devastated the shores of the Sunshine state, displacing over 40,000 people. It speaks to the resiliency of those in the surrounding area of the championship to host such an event while trying to rebuild their community.
Among those in the field is defending champion, Prima Thammaraks. Last year was make or break for Thammaraks, if she played well she wouldn’t have to play in stage II of Q School, and big surprise— she played well, so well that she was the low 54-hole record holder.
When asked about returning, Thammaraks praised the course and the tournament. “It feels great to defend. LPGA International is a special place for me, and this tournament is an iconic way to close out the season. I’m happy to be part of the tradition, and the win here will always be one close to the heart for me.”
This week at LPGA International is sort of a last chance effort for some trying to earn their 2023 LPGA tour cards. The top three players on the money list: Xiaowen Yin, Lucy Li, and Linnea Strom have already clinched their cards, but for the rest of the top 10, they must come with their A-game.
Alexa Pano, the 18 year old standout who bypassed college golf to go pro, sits at the 10th spot on the list. She had success earlier in the season, but over the last nine starts she’s only managed two, top-10 finishes and missed a cut.
Other players to lookout for are Celine Borge, this week’s Five at The IX subject and most recent Epson Tour winner, and Hyo Joon Jang who came in second behind Borge last week, but she has also played her best golf of the season in this final stretch.
Graduating from the Epson Tour is no small order, it’s a grind, but I can imagine it’s rewarding. Some of our favorite players to watch on the LPGA tour are Epson grads like Nelly Korda, Inbee Park, and a few others. I’m sure that each of these women believed they were capable of “making it”, but it’s difficult to ever really quantify what reaching your ultimate goal truly means.
Since its inception in 1999, 172 players have graduated from the Epson Tour.
After Sunday, it’ll be 182.
This week in women’s golf
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Five at The IX: Celine Borge, wins in Tuscaloosa and has momentum for tour champ
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