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Symetra pro women’s golf returning to Sweetgrass in Harris during June

Dani Holmqvist kisses the Island Resort Championship trophy after winning in 2015 in Harris at the Sweetgrass Golf Club. (Escanaba Daily Press file photo)

ESCANABA — After a year’s pause, the Symetra Tour is returning to the Sweetgrass Golf Club between Bark River and Harris.

The June 11-13 tournament will be the 10th edition of this popular event. The defending champion is Daniela Iacobelli, who won the 2019 event. The 2020 tourney was called off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Island Resort Championship at Sweetgrass will have a purse of $200,000, with the winner earning $30,000 and an automatic berth into the Evian Championship in France, one of the five LPGA major tournaments.

This will be the 10th edition of this popular event.

“This is very high quality golf,” tourney co-director Tony Mancilla said Monday during a zoom press conference. Also speaking virtually were Tim Kramer, vice president of the Symetra Tour, and two players who have received exempt status into the tournament, Sierra Brooks and Kaitlyn Papp.

“This is probably the highlight of the golf season in the Upper Peninsula,” Mancilla said.

“You are going to see some tremendous golf,” Kramer said.

Brooks, a former University of Florida golfer, made the cut six times in 10 Symetra events last year and was 17th in earnings with $29,507. She was runner-up at the NCAA Division I women’s golf championship in 2019 and played in the U.S. Open in 2016 and 2019.

Brooks said college golf “prepares you for the professional game. I am incredibly excited to play on the Symetra Tour.”

Papp is a two-time first-team All-American golfer at the University of Texas. She finished ninth in the 75th U.S. Women’s Open in December and will play in the 2021 Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco a week before arriving at Sweetgrass.

A third exempt entrant is Teresa Toscano Borrero, a native of Spain who has been playing at South Dakota State University since 2016.

Casey VanDamme, a native of Perkins, is the men’s and women’s golf coach at SDSU. Borrero played at Sweetgrass last year to prepare for the 2020 U.S. Women’s Amateur.

Borrero has won four times this spring and has eight wins for the Jackrabbits.

The Symetra Tour, billed as the official qualifying Tour for the LPGA, has grown to an average purse of $190,000 and three of the LPGA’s top 10 players are graduates.

A three-day ticket to the championship is $10 (kids are free).

Past champions include Daniela Iacobelli in 2019, Ruixin Liu in 2018, Emma Talley in 2017, Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong in 2016, Dani Holmqvist in 2015, Molly Aronsson in 2014, Kim Kauffman in 2013, Leah Wigger in 2012 and Stephanie Kim in 2011.

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