Longbow Golf Club to host the second-annual tournament Feb. 21 - 23 

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA, JANUARY 30, 2014 - The season-long quest to earn an LPGA Tour card via the Symetra Tour - Road to the LPGA will begin next month in Mesa, Ariz. with the season-opening Visit Mesa Gateway Classic at Longbow Golf Club. The second-annual event will kick off a 2014 schedule that features 20 official tournaments - the most events on the Symetra Tour since 2001. 

Longbow Golf Club will play host to the Visit Mesa Gateway Classic on February 17-23. The 120-player event will feature a $100,000 purse and will award $15,000 to the winner; giving them the lead in the Volvik Race for the Card. Admission to the professional tournament is free on behalf of tournament sponsor, Visit Mesa.  

"We are very excited to be opening up our season again in beautiful Mesa, AZ with the Visit Mesa Gateway Classic at Longbow Golf Club," said Mike Nichols, Chief Business Officer of the Symetra Tour. "Visit Mesa has been a wonderful partner for the Symetra Tour and has aided us in our goal to grow our schedule and the playing opportunities for our future LPGA stars. Thanks to Visit Mesa, Arizona's passionate LPGA fans continue to have a great opportunity to see some of the best up-and-coming professional women golfers at no cost right in their backyard."

This year's Visit Mesa Gateway Classic at Longbow Golf Club will be the first of two official Symetra Tour events played on the West Coast. The second-annual Volvik Championship will move from Kissimmee, Fla. to Los Angeles, Calif. this year and is set to play the Feb. 24 - March 2 at the Pacific Palms Resort, home to the 2011 Kia Classic on the LPGA Tour. 

Tournament week begins in Mesa, Ariz. with two official Pro-Am tournaments scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 19 and Thursday, Feb. 20.  Competitive rounds for the 54-hole stroke play tournament will begin Friday, Feb. 21. 

"This excellent event affords Visit Mesa the opportunity to show our support of the LPGA and for this incredible group of young athletes while showing off our destination's features - perfect weather, scenic beauty and most of all, pristine golf conditions in the winter. Hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the world come to Arizona each year to play on our golf courses and in our sun," said Marc Garcia, President and CEO of Visit Mesa. "Our vision has always been clear and we see the Visit Mesa Gateway Classic at Longbow Golf Club as a regular Symetra Tour event that fans, golfers, and their friends and family can look forward to each year in Mesa."

Known as the world's largest international women's developmental tour, the Symetra Tour is committed to prepare young women professional golfers for a successful career on the LPGA Tour. Last year's Visit Mesa Gateway Classic champion Jaclyn Sweeney managed to land inside the top-10 of the Volvik Race for the Card to earn fully exempt status on the LPGA Tour this season.

"The opportunity to start the 2013 Symetra Tour in Mesa at Longbow Golf Club with a win provided the impetus to a great season for me," said Sweeney. "Had it not been for that tournament, I would not have fulfilled my dreams of becoming a full-time member of the LPGA Tour this year."

The 2014 season will mark the third year in the Tour's 34-year history that the top 10 Symetra Tour players on the season-ending Volvik Race for the Card standings will earn fully-exempt LPGA Tour status for the following year.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED!  Get inside the ropes with the future stars of the LPGA.  Please visit www.visitmesa.com/lpga/ for further tournament information.


About Visit Mesa

Visit Mesa is responsible for marketing Mesa, Arizona as a leading vacation, small meeting and sports travel destination to regional and national target audiences, including travel agents and group tour operators, meeting planners, leisure visitors and media. 


About Mesa, Arizona

Mesa has fast become one of the largest metropolitan cities in the state of Arizona offering a variety of lifestyle and leisure pursuits that are in high demand by visitors and residents alike. Now boasting nearly 450,000 residents, Mesa's population is greater than such well-known cities as Minneapolis, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Miami. Mesa is embraced by the Sonoran Desert - a playground for incredible, sought-after outdoor recreation and one-of-a-kind attractions. Pair this with fabulous weather, world-class golf, premier shopping, and unlimited recreational opportunities and you have the makings for incredible discoveries in the desert Southwest. 


About Longbow Golf Club

Longbow Golf Club is a nationally recognized daily fee golf course located in Mesa, Arizona within Longbow Business Park. Often described as the "Essence of Arizona Golf," Longbow Golf Club serves up a desert golf experience that is firmly tied to the traditions of the game. Home of the 2010 AJGA Tournament of the Year, Winn Grips Heather Farr Classic, Longbow is consistently rated top notch by leading golf writers and publications, and was honored as one of the Top 100 Resort Courses in the Country, Golfweek magazine 2009; Top 20 Best Public Access Courses in Arizona, Golfweek magazine 2010; Top 25 Courses in Arizona, Golf Magazine 2010 and has received numerous other awards and top rankings. 


About the Symetra Tour 

The Symetra Tour, the official Road to the LPGA, will enter its 34th competitive season in 2014. With the support of its umbrella sponsor, Symetra, the Tour's mission is to prepare the world's best young women professional golfers for a successful career on the LPGA Tour. The top-10 money winners each season earn memberships on the LPGA Tour for the following season. With more than 500 alumnae moving on to the LPGA, former Symetra Tour players have won a total of 379 LPGA titles, including 43 major championships. Symetra Tour events have contributed more than $5 million to charitable organizations throughout the nation since 1989. Follow the Symetra Tour on the web at www.SymetraTour.com, Facebook.com/RoadtotheLPGA, Twitter.com/Road2LPGA, and YouTube.com/Road2LPGA.



Kelly Thesier, LPGA Director, Media Communications, kelly.thesier@lpga.com, +1 386-274-6276