Patti Rizzo and Song Twins to Compete in Season Opener


LAKELAND, Fla. -- As the beginning of the 2003 Futures Tour season draws closer, a full field of global talent is set to compete in the second annual Lakeland Futures Golf Classic to benefit Special Olympics Florida, Polk County, March 14 - 16. International players from 19 countries including Argentina, Ecuador, Finland, and Zimbabwe, comprise close to 31 percent of the field for the 54-hole tournament, to be held at The Club at Eaglebrooke in Lakeland, Fla.
Among the competitors are 10 current non-exempt LPGA Tour players, including Patti Rizzo of Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Joining Rizzo will be fellow non-exempt LPGA Tour member Michele Vinieratos of Altamonte Springs, Fla., Lisa Hall of Stoke-on-Trent, England, and 11 other top-20 players from the 2002 Futures Tour Money List.
Rizzo, a four-time LPGA Tour winner and nine-time JLPGA champion, has been a member of the LPGA since 1982. In her first season, she recorded five top-10 finishes and earned Rookie of the Year honors. The University of Miami alumna was a 1981 collegiate All-American and that same year was named Golf Magazine's top-ranked collegiate player. Rizzo played in 12 events on last year's LPGA Tour and her best finish was a tie for 20th at the Bank of Montreal Canadian Women's Open Championship.
Vinieratos, a three-time runner-up last season, added four additional top-10 finishes to her record last year and ended the season ranked fifth on the Futures Tour's Money List $32,185. Hall, a two-time member of the European Solheim Cup Team and the 1997 LPGA Rookie of the Year, finished the season in sixth on the money list with $31,458. She recorded one win and five other top-10 finishes in 2002.
Other notable players in the field include last year's Futures Tour Qualifying Tournament co-medalists, non-exempt LPGA Tour player Soo Young Moon of Keumsan, Korea, and amateur Aree Song of Bradenton, Fla. Moon tied for 38th at last year's LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament with a 290 (+2) and earned non-exempt status for the 2003 season. This year, she will compete as a rookie with the Futures Tour and the LPGA Tour.
Song, who competed previously as Aree Wongluekiet, will be accompanied by her twin sister Naree for the season-opener. Last season, Aree played in five LPGA Tour events, including the U.S. Women's Open Championship, and her best finish was a tie for 30th at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, both LPGA majors. Naree's best finish in three LPGA tournaments was a tie for 29th at the Wegman's Rochester LPGA.
Amateur Pamela Keggans of Ayr, Scotland, will be the local exemption for the tournament. Keggans, who is attending Florida Southern University, was the individual runner-up at the 2001 NJCAA National Championship and was a two-time captain for the Scotland Junior International squad in 1999 and 2000.
Last year's champion Sue Ginter-Brooker of Appleton, Wis., will not return to defend her title. Ginter-Brooker, a non-exempt LPGA Tour member since 1998, will be competing in the Welch's/Fry's Championship in Tucson, Ariz., the second official event of the 2003 LPGA Tour.