By THE NATION
In 2019, the top two points earners over a two-week series earned spots in Symetra Tour events. For the 2020 season, each WAPT tournament winner receives an exemption into a corresponding Symetra Tour tournament. As the official qualifying tour of the Symetra Tour, the WAPT will host 10 tournaments from March through July and each is set to be contested in a 72-hole, stroke play format.
“Last year’s alignment produced a number of WAPT winners who performed very well once they arrived on the Symetra Tour,” said Mike Nichols, the Chief Business Officer for the Symetra Tour. “Opportunities were aplenty for some of our members on the alternate list early in the season, as they used the WAPT to prepare themselves for once they finally gained entry. The overall success of these players challenged us to look at how to reward top WAPT performers with more access.”
Eight events on the 2020 Symetra Tour calendar will welcome a WAPT winner including IOA Invitational, Symetra Classic, The CDPHP Open, Four Winds Invitational, Donald Ross Classic, Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic, PHC Classic and Garden City Charity Classic. Meanwhile, the Windsor Golf Classic in early April will feature both of the first two WAPT tournament champions as exemptions.
“I am so appreciative of the WAPT and all they have done for me, as well as numerous women pursuing a professional golf career,” said Karah Sanford, a 2019 WAPT champ and two-time runner-up who went on to make 14 Symetra Tour starts last year. “The WAPT has made such a positive impact on my career and launched me into amazing opportunities. Through the exemptions, I worked my way up the Symetra Tour money list and advanced directly to Stage II of Q-School where I secured status for 2020. Playing in WAPT events is something I’ll always be thankful for because I am now pursuing my passion on the Symetra Tour, one of the highest levels in women’s professional golf.”
Also new for 2020, the top three individuals on the WAPT season-long points list bypass Stage I of Q-School and secure a trip to Stage II at Plantation Golf & Country Club in Venice, Fla., from October 12-15.
“Our schedule is set up where all events are in back-to-back weeks, strategically placed to emulate the LPGA Q-Series and best prepare the ladies for that next step,” said Gary DeSerrano, the President for the Women’s All Pro Tour. “The whole philosophy behind the changes is to attract the best players and have them competing consistently. We have long-term plans for growth with the LPGA Tour family and really look forward to expanded opportunities.”
The 2020 WAPT season begins March 11-14 in Alexandria, La., with the Coke Dr. Pepper Open and then followed by the Taco Bell Natchez Golf Classic in Natchez, Miss., from March 17-20. For the full schedule, go to https://wapt.bluegolf.com/bluegolf/wapt20/schedule/index.htm.