ESCANABA - Four women who have won tournament championships on the Symetra Tour this season will likely play at Sweetgrass Golf Club next week when the Symetra Tour event makes its second stop to the Hannahville Indian Community course.
Although the field is not official until Monday, the preliminary list of players intending to play include Sara Brown, Lauren Doughtie, Megan McCrystal and Kristie Smith, an Australian who won the Tour's top event last week in Decatur, Ill.
Another major entrant is Birdie Kim, who won the U.S. Open in 2005.
Carley Saint-Onge of Marquette chips from the drop zone on the No. 15 island green on June 10, 2011 at Sweetgrass Golf Club during a practice round for the 2011 LPGA Futures Island Resort Championship. Saint-Onge is back again for the tour stop this year. (Escanaba Daily Press file photo by Dennis Grall)
The Island Resort Championship at Sweetgrass runs June 29-July 1, with players starting to arrive Monday for practice rounds.
Pro-am events will be held Wednesday and Thursday, and a youth clinic is planned Wednesday, with a full field of 48 area youngsters picking up tips from tourney players at the expansive Sweetgrass practice facility.
Smith won the Tate and Lyle Championship with a sparkling 13-under-par 203, finishing three strokes ahead of Leah Wigger, who is also on the preliminary entry list at Sweetgrass.
Brown won the My Marsh Classic earlier this month, then played in a European Tour event in Switzerland last week. The former Big Break contestant holds dual membership on both tours.
McChrystal won the season opening tournament, the Florida Natural Charity Classic, March 25. Doughtie took the Lady Titan Tire title June 10.
Esther Choe, who won consecutive tournaments in April, is not on the preliminary entry list.
Also not on the list is Stephanie Kim, who won the first Sweetgrass title last year. Kim has not made a single tour start this season due to an injury.
Several players who participated at Sweetgrass last year will return, including Laura Kueny and Victoria Elizabeth, who played promotional rounds at Sweetgrass last year and this year, respectively. Brown appeared at Sweetgrass in 2009 when the first tournament was announced, but did not play because the course was closed for the season.
Also returning is Carley Saint-Onge of Marquette, who was a redshirt freshman last spring for Big Ten champion Michigan State. She missed the cut last year at Sweetgrass.
Saint-Onge played a practice round earlier this month with Dan Ellis of Negaunee, Paul Schrader of Escanaba and Bryan Burak. Ellis, a two-time U.P. Golf Association champion and MSU golfer, shot a men's course-record 2-under-par 70. He broke the mark of 71 set by Matt Argall last year.
Another notable entrant is Allison Duncan, who has received the first Volvik Bright and Bold Performance Award. She will receive a $2,500 check at Sweetgrass for having the lowest scoring average using the trademark color Volvik ball through the opening five events of the Symetra Tour season.
Her 72.4 scoring average in 15 rounds beat Mi Hyang Lee, who had the save average over 12 rounds.
Lee is also entered at Sweetgrass.
The Korean company and title sponsor for the Symetra Tour produces specialized 3 and 4 piece multi-layer golf balls that feature patented dimple technology for golfers of all skill levels.