PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – South Africa’s Paula Reto took the first-round lead at the Symetra Tour Championship Thursday with a 5-under-par 67on LPGA International’s Jones Course.
Reto finished one shot ahead of Megan McChrystal of Stuart, Fla., and Kendra Little of Eugene, Ore.
They’re among 120 players trying to win status to play the LPGA next year in this season-finale to the Volvik Race for the Card. The top 10 on the final Symetra Tour money-winnings list after Sunday’s conclusion to the Tour Championship will be awarded fully exempt status for LPGA play next year.
A Purdue graduate, Reto didn’t join the Symetra Tour until late July. She’s 63rd on the money list. While she can’t crack the top 10 this week, winning the $18,750 first-place prize would put her among the top 20 in money winnings and that would win her conditional status to play the LPGA next season. McChrystal is 58th on the money list and Little 72nd. Both are also seeking to crack the top 20.
Only Thailand’s P.K. Kongkraphan and American Christine Song have locked up LPGA tour cards for next year as the Symetra Tour’s top two money leaders, respectively. The next 31 players on the money list all have mathematical chances to secure the eight remaining cards this week.