Jackson Wins Symetra Tour Opener, Szeryk Finishes T43

JACKSON WINS FIRST PROFESSIONAL TITLE

Janie Jackson. Photo: Symetra Tour.

A couple early birdies from Janie Jackson (Huntsville, Alabama)—one at No. 2 to take a four-shot lead and another at No. 4 to claim a five-stroke advantage—was all she needed to separate herself from the pack at the Country Club of Winter Haven and win the 12th annual Florida’s Natural Charity Classic.

Ed. Note: After leading with a first-round 67, London’s Maddie Szeryk battled tough conditions and finished T43 with a three-round score of 67-76-82–225 (+9).

“I’m kind of speechless, don’t have many words right now,” said Jackson, who fired a 3-under par 69 this afternoon en route to a six-shot victory. “That was a really, really tough week. I’m mentally drained, but super happy with my performance. I made some really big some swing changes in the offseason, worked hard the last few months and hit is so consistent this week, so it was nice to see all the changes pay off. It feels really good, not sure it feels real yet, but it feels really good.”

The University of Alabama alumna begins her fifth Symetra Tour season with her first professional title. With the $18,750 payday, Jackson also surpasses the $100,000 threshold in career earnings ($100,112). This result comes after she ended the 2019 season by setting a career-best result of tied for second at the Symetra Tour Championship.

“I texted my caddy [David Kelley] last week and said, ‘How do you feel about going and winning the first event next week,’” Jackson said. “Just felt like my game was in a good place. Conditions were not what I was expecting at all, but I’m super pleased with this.”

ABE BATTLES TO SYMETRA TOUR CAREER-BEST RESULT

A strong week from Lakareber Abe (The Woodlands, Texas) was capped by a final round 1-under par 71 and good enough for a career-best finish of tied for third, joining two others at 1-under overall.

Abe recorded four birdies this afternoon and even sat in solo second for a stretch. The performance tops her previous Symetra Tour best of tied for 11th at the 2018 Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic.

“It was a good way to start the year,” said Abe, also a University of Alabama alumna. “I worked hard this offseason and nice to see results, but also where I need to get better. I did a lot of short game work, and putting, pitching around the greens which ended up being really helpful this week because it was windy. I got back in the gym a little more than I had in the past and tried to get in good shape. This motivates me to go home and work harder, seeing that I’m closer than I thought I would be at the beginning of the season.”

VOLVIK RACE FOR THE CARD STANDINGS AFTER WEEK ONE

Following the first tournament of the 2020 Symetra Tour season, the Volvik Race for the Card welcomes its initial top-10.

The victory and $18,750 winner’s check move Janie Jackson into the No. 1 position, having earned that same amount through one event. Here is a look at the current top-10 heading into the fifth annual IOA Championship presented by Morongo Casino Resort & Spa hosted by the Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon in Beaumont, Calif. from March 27-29:

1. Janie Jackson – $18,750
2. Daniela Iacobelli (Melbourne, Florida) – $11,771
3. Lauren Coughlin (Charlottesville, Virginia) – $6,867
3. Yae Eun Hong (Seoul, Republic of Korea) – $6,867
3. Lakareber Abe – $6,867
6. Fatima Fernandez Cano (Santiago de Compostela, Spain) – $4,069
6. Ruixin Liu (Guangdong, People’s Republic of China) – $4,069
8. Julie Aime (Nice, France) – $3,111
8. Brittany Marchand (Orangeville, Ontario, Canada) – $3,111
10. Three players tied – $2,515

NOTABLE QUOTES

Daniela Iacobelli (-2, 2nd) on a runner-up finish:
“Second place is good money, second place in any tournament is not too bad. No complaints, hard to catch the leader and figured get as many pars as I could then try to capitalize when a birdie opportunity comes. It was a tough day, a really tough day out there. I have two months off now because I am not going to the West Coast. This was just really fun to get off the couch.”

Yae Eun Hong (-1, T3) on a top-five result in her Symetra Tour debut:

“I practiced with winds during the offseason and was a little more comfortable playing out here. I went to Australia and there was a lot of courses with heavy wind. I also talked with coach about controlling my ball’s trajectory. It was still cold here and many winds, so I tried to keep the ball flight low and stay calm in my mind. I really like this course, it was hard and changed a lot with the winds. The distance was pretty long, and it was good to play here.”

Lauren Coughlin (-1, T3) on shooting 3-under par today and having a good finish to start the season:

“Oh, for sure. It was really, really tough out there. The wind was blowing like crazy. I found a good shot on the range, nice little punch thingy I was hitting and pretty much hit it all day with my irons. I was able to keep it straight and on the green, but if I missed it was able to get up and down. This is probably some of the toughest conditions I’ve ever played. It’s crazy out there. On No. 18 especially, I had 110 yards [to the hole] and hit 9-iron which usually goes about 130, and was like 30 yards short, just barely on green.”

PLAYER NOTES

Janie Jackson

Jackson, 26, is a native of Huntsville, Alabama
Qualified for the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst No. 2 as an amateur
Became the first female in the history of Alabama to win three state championships
Three-time Alabama High School Class 6A individual title winner for Huntsville H.S.
Made the cut as an amateur at the 2011 Navistar LPGA Classic after earning spot in the field through the Monday Qualifier
Gained entry into 2012 Mobile Bay LPGA Classic and 2015 Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic as an amateur courtesy of the Monday Qualifier
Posted 74.55 scoring average with three top-10 results as a University of Arizona freshman in 2012-2013 earning All-Pac 12 Honorable Mention
Transferred to the University of Alabama where she spent final three years of collegiate career and was named to the All-SEC Second Team as a senior in 2016
Finished T107 at Stage I of the 2015 LPGA Qualifying Tournament to first earn Symetra Tour status
Made 14 cuts in 22 starts on the Symetra Tour in 2019 with a career-best of T2 at the Symetra Tour Championship
Total of 60 events played in Symetra Tour career through 2020 Florida’s Natural Charity Classic with seven top-10 performances

ABOUT THE SYMETRA TOUR

The Symetra Tour is the official qualifying tour of the LPGA Tour and enters its 40th competitive season in 2020. With the support of entitlement partner Symetra, the Tour’s mission is to prepare the world’s best young women professional golfers for a successful career on the LPGA Tour. Since Symetra’s inaugural sponsorship year in 2012, the Symetra Tour has grown from 16 tournaments and $1.7 million in prize money to a record $4.0 million in prize money awarded in 2019. With more than 600 alumnae moving on to the LPGA, former Symetra Tour players have won a total of 445 LPGA titles. Follow the Symetra Tour on the web at www.SymetraTour.com, as well as Facebook.com/Road2LPGA, Twitter.com/Road2LPGA and Instagram @road2lpga.

ABOUT SYMETRA

Symetra Life Insurance Company is a subsidiary of Symetra Financial Corporation, a diversified financial services company based in Bellevue, Washington. In business since 1957, Symetra provides employee benefits, annuities and life insurance through a national network of benefit consultants, financial institutions and independent agents and advisors. Symetra began its partnership with the Road to the LPGA in 2010 as the title sponsor of the Symetra Classic. It secured naming rights for the Symetra Tour in November 2011. In addition to its title sponsorship of the Tour, which runs through 2021, Symetra sponsors two events on the tournament schedule—the Symetra Classic and the season-ending Symetra Tour Championship. For more information about Symetra, visit www.symetra.com.

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