Offers sponsors exemptions to local college programs
PONTE VEDRA, Fla., October 28, 2022 – Starting November 1, a strong field with some of the best rising-star professional women golfers and some of the world’s most elite amateurs will take on the Slammer & Squire Golf Course at World Golf Village for the six-day PXG Women’s Match Play Championship Match from November 1-6. In addition, tournament organizers have invited the top players from local National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) programs to play in the event.
Now in its second year, the PXGWMPC is a unique event in many respects. Created specifically for professional players not yet with LPGA Tour status, this is the only Match-Play tournament on the calendar and features one of the biggest purses of the season. Following a two-day qualifier November 1-2 paring the 90-player field to 64 players, the Match-Play portion is then divided into two parts over three days. First, those 64 players are divided into 16 “pods” of four players who will play each other once in a nine-hole match.
Called The Battle Round, and in a format unique to the PXGWMPC, rather than advancing through the best won-lost record, players earn a point for each hole won (and a half point for those halved) and a bonus point for winning the match. The player in each Pod with the most cumulative points advances to the Knockout Rounds, the traditional 18-hole Match-Play format. At $60,000, the Championship also features one of the largest total purses of the year for the developmental level. The $15,000 Champion’s Check is the biggest of the season, and especially significant when one considers the highest earning player this year made $35,000 – not enough to cover her expenses to compete over the course of a year.
The PXGWMC is now an official event on the East Coast Women’s Professional Golf Tour (ECWPGT), a newly launched women’s developmental tour whose dual mission is to create more accessible and better playing opportunities for women aspiring to the LPGA Tour. Headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, the ECWPGT, just launched in January, is one of only three tours in the country that either directly or indirectly feeds the Epson Tour, which directly feeds the LPGA Tour.
“This is high level professional golf and if it’s anything like last year, will create some high-level golf drama,” said Mark D. Berman, tournament creator and Founder of the East Coast Women’s Professional Golf Tour. Likening this level to Double A+ baseball, Berman continued, “These women have all played at the most elite levels of junior, college, and amateur golf. Most have status on the Epson Tour, which is like the LPGA’s AAA level, and many have played on or have conditional status on the LPGA Tour and are working their way back to full time status. Fans will get to know the names of these incredible players before they get to the LPGA Tour, and they will be able to watch them up close and personal.” The ECWPGT hosted 13 events in its first year and welcomed nearly 300 players, including two players who graduated to the LPGA Tour via the Epson Tour and seven who qualified for the 2022 US Women’s Open Championshop. There are also 67 ECWPGT players still in the mix at LPGA Tour Q-school, the second stage of which is just two weeks after the PXGWMPC and is pulling a lot of the best players into this year’s field.
With a big purse and a big stage, Berman is not surprised by the strength of the field that includes NCAA Champions, ECWPGT winners, Epson Tour Champions, US Women’ Open qualifiers and players who have “cashed checks at the LPGA level.” Some of more recongizeable names include:
- Bailey Tardy, who played her college golf at University of Georgia and finished 11th on this year’s Epson Tour Official Money List, just $1500 out of the coveted top 10
- Jessica Porvasnick, defending PXGWMPC Champion, and three time All-American at Ohio State University.
- Mariel Galdiano, UCLA, who, including this year, has five US Women’s Open appearances
- Shasta Averyhardt, Jackson State University, who has five LPGA starts
- JB Baik, Mississippi State University, and three-time winner on the ECWPGT, and who earned a paid exemption into the PXGWMPC as the Tour’s Winter Series Champion
- Laura Restrepo, University of Louisville, Epson Tour #48, and winner of the Epson Tour’s 2019 Garden State Charity Classic
- Roberta Liti, University of Arizona, Epson Tour #59
Exemptions were accepted by University of North Florida Senior, Christin Eissenbeiss and Flagler College senior, Fernanda Lacaz. Both players could turn professional after graduation. Said UNF Head Women’s Golf Coach Joanne Berglung, “The sponsors exemptions for the PXG Women’s Match Play Championship provide an incredible opportunity for local college players to showcase their talent against the next level of competition. We as coaches are very excited about this and thankful to the tournament board for stepping up and making this a possibility for our student-athletes.” She added, “The chance to take another step in building their golf careers is so important to their growth. It is also exciting to know we get a glimpse of the future stars of the game at the professional level.” Said Berman, “Most aspiring professionals are not going straight from college into the Epson Tour or the LPGA Tour. Our tour is the often the first step in their journey, so giving them a look at their future and tying the event more deeply into our local Community makes a lot of sense.”
The field also includes a handful of the best amateur players in the world, all of them just teenagers, including Rolex Junior World Number One and Alabama commit, Kaitlyn Schroeder of Jacksonville, Chloe Kovelesky (Boca Raton) who played in the 2021 US Women’s Open at just 14 and qualified for this year’s LPGA Portland Classic, Paris Hilinski (Palm Beach Gardens) and recent LSU commit Jordan Fischer (North Fort Meyers), both of whom have played in the US Women’s Amateur Championship and the US Women’s Open.
As much a celebration of women’s initiatives outside the ropes and an equally important part of the week is the women’s initiatives collaboration with women’s empowerment organization Generation W. All players are invited to the Generation W Links to Leadership Summit presented by Circle K and Baptist Health, a full day of women’s initiatives designed by Genearaton W CEO Donna Orender just for the PXG Women’s Match Play Championship. The event is being held at World Golf Village in the St. John’s County Convention Center on November 3, in between the stroke-play qualifier and the Match Play Championship.
In addition to Title Sponsor PXG, supporting the tournament and the 90-player field are a committed family of corporate partners. Returning from last year are Founding Partners Murgado Automotive Group/Bentley & Maserati Jacksonville, Baptist Health Jacksonville and Kessler Creative. Coming on board for the 2022 event are new Founding Partners Access Golf of Jacksonville and St. Augustine’s Vitis Energy, the only woman-owned and operated energy company in the United States. Hospitality Partners include Manifest Distilling, Maestro Dobel Tequila and Murray Bros. Caddy Shack.
Daily general admission tickets are just $10.00, making it affordable for the entire family to enjoy a day on the course to see dozens of upcoming LPGA stars. Admission includes a complimentary beverage courtesy of Manifest Distilling and Maestro Dobel Tequila. Tickets are available on the tournament website at www.pxgwmpc.com, where fans can purchase and print their ticket. Ticket holders will check in at the main gate with their click-and-print ticket and receive a wristband for the day. Ticket proceeds will benefit Investing in Kids (INK!), a St. Johns County non-profit that raises money for underserved public schools. Social media handles include @PXGWMPC, #PXGWomensMatchPlay, @ECWPGT, #AintNoMiniTour and #MakeGolfYourThing
Founded by entrepreneur and self-proclaimed golf nut Bob Parsons, PXG embodies his belief that every new product – from golf clubs to sport fashion apparel – should be markedly better. Every innovation should noticeably improve your performance. And every moment of impact should elevate your enjoyment. Today, PXG offers a complete lineup of right- and left-handed golf clubs, including drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, irons, wedges, and putters, as well as high-performance, sport fashion apparel and accessories. For more information visit PXG.com.
About the East Coast Women’s Professional Golf Tour
The ECWPGT has a dual mission of creating more and better playing opportunities for women aspiring to the LPGA Tour and to create career connections and pathways outside the ropes for female athletes. Based in Florida, the ECWPGT is one of only three women’s developmental tours in the U.S and serves the eastern part of the country with 15 events each year and its Q-School prep events in California. Players come from 26 states and more than a dozen countries. Seeing through his own daughter’s eyes the limited opportunity for women to chase their professional dreams, particularly in comparison to their male peers who have more than 30 “mini tours” leading to the PGA TOUR, Mark Berman, with more than 25 years of golf industry marketing experience, launched the Tour in January The ECWPGT is open to developmental professional players including those on the Epson Tour and Ladies European Tours and is also open to elite level amateurs and college players. Website www.ECWPGT.com. Follow at @ecwpgt.
Charlene Shirk, CSPR
Mark D. Berman, Tournament Director