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Cheyenne Woods headlines Symetra Tour opener

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Tiger Woods takes a drop after hitting in the water on the 11th hole during the first round of the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide at Muirfield Village Golf Club on June 4, 2015 in Dublin, Ohio. (Photo by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR)  - 

The Symetra Tour launches its “Road to the LPGA” this week with Cheyenne Woods as the marquee attraction in the season opener.

Woods’ first victory on a major tour was good timing for the Symetra Tour, the LPGA’s developmental circuit. Woods, 23, broke through two weeks ago to win the Australian Ladies Masters, a Ladies European Tour event, and then followed that up last week tying for 23rd at the Women’s Australian Open, an event co-sanctioned by the LET and LPGA. It was Woods’ best finish in seven LPGA starts as a pro.

The Symetra Tour’s season-opening Visit Mesa Gateway Classic will serve as a sort of homecoming for Woods in her return to the United States. She grew up in Phoenix and still lives there. The Mesa event is just down the road from her home.

The Symetra Tour is the LPGA’s version of the Tour. The top-10 money winners at year’s end earn fully exempt status to play the LPGA in 2015. This season’s circuit is considerably larger than last year’s, with the schedule expanded from 15 events to 20. The women will play for the largest total purses in Symetra Tour history, exceeding $2 million in prize money with the year’s largest purse ($200,000) up for grabs at the new Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Charity Classic in Greenwood, S.C., May 8-11.

Here’s the full schedule: