Charity Classic golf tourney set to begin

The Garden City Charity Classic golf tournament begins this week at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course in Garden City. This is the fourth year for the tournament, which is a qualifier for the LPGA.

The fourth annual Garden City Charity Classic kicks off this week at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course as part of the Symetra Tour, the official qualifying tour for the LPGA.

Festivities begin today with a Pro-Am and a second practice round day on Thursday. The 54-hole tournament begins Friday and concludes on Sunday. A field of 132 players from the United States and 29 countries will compete for a $150,000 total tournament purse with the winner earning $22,500, according to a news release.

Play begins at 8 a.m. each day and is expected to wrap up around 3 p.m. on Sunday. Seventeen of the top players on the Volvik Race for the Card money list are scheduled to compete. The top 10 money earners at the end of the season, which has five events left this year, earn LPGA Tour membership for the 2018 season. Nine of the top 10 are scheduled to compete here, and less than $5,000 separates No. 10 from No. 13.

The Garden City Charity Classic is the second tournament in a six-week stretch that concludes with the Symetra Tour Championship in Florida in October. All three past winners of the Charity Classic – Min Lee, Vicky Hurst and Dana Finkelstein – are currently playing on the LPGA Tour.

Two players have mathematically secured LPGA Tour cards: No. 1 Benyapa Niphatsophon, Bangkok, Thailand, who became the third player in Tour history to crack $100,000 in single-season earnings, and No. 2 Celine Boutier, Montrouge, France, who won last week. Christine Song, who won the second week of the Classic last year, is looking forward to this year’s event.

“I think this course suits my game because it’s not a long hitters golf course,” she said. “I like tough conditions and it can get windy out there. I remember I made a bunch of putts that week and coming down the stretch I birdied 16 and made a 50-footer on 17, which was pretty awesome. I had a lot of fun here last year.”

Song ranks 21st on the money list this year. A victory this week could move her has high as sixth on the money list.

The Garden City Charity Classic began in 2014. Buffalo Dunes is a par-72 course.