DAVIDSON – Cydney Clanton will be coming back to play her home course at a good time.
When the Symetra Classic returns to River Run Country Club May 15-17, Clanton will get to play there for the first time as a professional after years of instruction there from her coach David Ross. And though there are benefits to her familiarity with the Davidson course, she said there are added pressures as well.
“It’s a good opportunity, it’s a tough course,” she said. “It’s good to stay in your own bed and cook your own food. But it’s tough to balance your expectations.”
Clanton, a Concord native and resident, is coming off a win April 26 at the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout – her second of the Symetra Tour, the official qualifying tour of the LPGA Tour.
“I hit the ball really well,” she said of her El Dorado win. “Thirty out of 54 holes I had putts inside of 40 feet, which is pretty freaking good. The ball striking was really good, which gave me the opportunities for lots of birdies and that helped a lot.”
Clanton will be among 144 professionals competing for the $175,000 purse. Golfers are set to compete in a 54-hole stroke-play format with a cut to the low 60 players and ties after 36 holes.
Tournament Director Jon Show said the experience at the Symetra Classic is much different from the PGA’s Wells Fargo Championship that was held last week in Charlotte.
“If you have kids, it’s really fun,” Show said. “At the Wells you get to see mass-ness. It’s just a totally different beast. This is a cool, intimate experience, where you get to watch professional athletes, unique in the golf world.”
This is the second year the tournament has been at River Run after making previous stops at Charlotte’s Raintree Country Club and in Atlanta.
Show said since there’s not as much name recognition for the players on the Symetra tour, Clanton is someone the locals can cheer for. The same goes for Davidson resident and Cannon School sophomore Amanda Sambach, who is one of two tournament players with sponsor exemptions.
Following her recent win Clanton is a step closer to a promotion to the LPGA, through the Battlefield Promotion. If a player gets three wins on the Symetra Tour, she moves up to the top ranks – all players in the top 10 at season’s end advance as well.
But Clanton, who has spent significant time in the LPGA since her rookie season in 2012, is simply focusing on the next task at hand.
“It’s just to stay patient,” she said. “I’m taking each day as it comes and try to capitalize as much as possible. Goal is to play in the present and not focus on the future.”
The Symetra Classic is free to the public. There will be outdoor concessions and a family happy hour event starting at 4 p.m. Friday, May 17, with food and drink specials.