(Ponte Vedra Beach, FL) – During a week of firsts for the new East Coast Women’s Pro Golf Tour, Alyaa Abdul earned $10,000 today and etched her name in the history books as the first-ever ECWPGT Champion. From Newport Beach, CA, this is Abdul’s first professional win since graduating University of Southern California in 2021 and turning professional immediately after. After a tough opening round 7 (+6) in tough windy conditions at Black Bear Golf Club, she followed up with a 69 in round 2 and closed today’s final round with a 70 and a total 217 to stave off Alexandra Swayne by a single stroke.
Swayne, from St. Thomas, USVI and a Clemson graduate came out of the gate on absolute fire with a 6-under par 30 on the front nine to close the gap to a single stroke at the turn. She finished the day at 4-under (68) to cap off a week that started with an 80 in rough, windy conditions, and then posted a ten-shot turnaround (70) on day two. Pauline del Rosario (Garland, TX) and Mohan Du (Beijing, China) we’re just two back of the leader at 219 for T3. The round of the day belonged to Hexi Yuan of Hainan, China with a 67 for a T5 finish with Thailand’s Panitta Yusabai.
Just launched in late December, the ECWPGT is a professional women’s golf tour with the mission of creating more and better playing opportunities for those aspiring to play on the LPGA Tour and shining a light on women’s golf inside and outside the ropes. Yesterday was the final round of the Dare the Bear Women’s Championship, the 2022 Winter Series opener. There are seven more Winter Series events scheduled through March 30, before the Official Tour schedule kicks off at the end of April in Northeast Florida. The ECWPGT is owned and operated by Ponte Vedra Beach (FL) event and brand marketing company, MediaShare Consulting Group.
Black Bear Golf Club in Eustis (FL) played host to the Dare the Bear Women’s Championship. Owned by Sue and Roger Adams (PGA), Black Bear offered the test players asked for with small and fast greens and undulating fairways. The course was set at 6400 yards, but played much longer on the first day with winds gusting over 20 MPH. The final round gave way to much better scoring conditions with bright skies and temperatures in the low 70’s, yet still only yielded five rounds under par.
Said today’s winner, Abdul, “The conditions were tough, but the course was in great shape for tournament play. It tested us this week. The club really took great care of us and the ECWPGT put on a first class event, and I’ll be back for sure.”
Added Mark Berman, Tour Producer and owner of the ECWPGT, “This is what the players wanted: a course that challenges their game, a host venue that clearly cares about them and the women’s game, and an exciting prize purse.” Berman continued, “$10,000 is a season-maker for a developmental tour player and a big check for a developmental tour event. What a great first win for Alyaa. She played hard and earned every bit of it. In fact, as the sun was setting last night she was still on the range grinding it out. Hard work paying off for her and a great first step for our mission here at the ECWPGT.
Golf fans can follow the ECWPGT action on the Tour’s website, www.ecwpgt.com or via social media at @ecwpgt. The ECWPGT will move next week to Orlando for the Rio Pinar Women’s Championship being hosted at the historic Rio Pinar Golf & Country Club. Admission is free.
The East Coast Women’s Professional Golf Tour will also establish the Access Golf Fund to provide financial support for its players. The Access Golf Fund will help to ensure each tournament purse reflects the value and importance these women have to the game, making it worth their while to invest their time and money into pursuing their LPGA dreams. With the goal of becoming a foundation, the Access Golf Fund will also provide for scholarship dollars to assist players with entry fees and travel costs, the two biggest prohibitors to their success. While the tour itself will seek sponsors to cover operating costs and purses, the Access Golf Fund will be an opportunity for people to support women’s professional golf in either smaller increments or who don’t want to be in the bright lights of sponsorship.
The ECWPGT is open primarily to the developmental professional players those ranked below the Top 14 on the LPGA’s Symetra Tour. The tour will accept amateur players ages 16 and over on a waitlist basis as space permits, and plans to award WAGR points. Registration for the Winter Series is currently open on the tour’s website www.ECWPGT.com .