Former Arkansas standout ready to make pro debut
EL DORADO – A golfer since the age of five, Conway native Summar Roachell credits the sport for teaching her valuable life lessons and skills that have helped her land a coveted position that will take her one step closer toward jump-starting her professional career.
The former Razorback, who graduated from the University of Arkansas in May with a bachelor's degree in marketing, has earned a sponsor's exemption for the 2017 Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout, a Symetra Tour event that is set to begin today at Mystic Creek Golf Club.
The Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout is an LPGA-qualifier that fields up-and-coming players from around the world. It is the only Symetra Tour stop in the four-state region of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma.
For the third annual Shootout, Roachell will join a field of 132 golfers, the largest ever for the Symetra Tour at Mystic Creek, in competing for a $100,000 purse and a chance to obtain her LPGA card for the 2018 season.
Tournament sponsor Murphy USA selected Roachell as an exemption player out of a pool of applicants who did not initially qualify for the Symetra tournament.
Roachell learned several weeks ago that she had been added to the tour roster at Mystic Creek, following two state opens in which she has competed since making the decision to turn pro.
Receiving the notification about the Murphy USA sponsor exemption not only boosted Roachell's spirits, but it also inducted her into a select group of exemption players who went on to post impressive numbers in the El Dorado Shootout and clinch more opportunities to develop their professional golf game.
One of those players was friend Ally McDonald, a Mississippi State University alum who parlayed her exemption status into a second-place finish in 2015.
McDonald earned her LPGA membership for the 2016 season, and during her rookie year, she posted eight top-10 finishes on the Symetra Tour.
"Ally McDonald is one of my friends. We have played in so many junior golf tournaments together. I like the record of exemption players in the tournament," Roachell said.
Roachell was an impact player for the Lady Razorbacks women's golf team from 2013 until 2017.
She finished tied for eighth in the Lady Puerto Rico Classic in 2015, and played
in every spring event during her senior year, tying for 24th in the SEC Championship.
Roachell was also selected for the SEC Community Service Team for 2015, 2016 and 2017. Making the transition from collegiate to professional player has required some adjustment, but Roachell said she is gaining her bearings and playing confidently.
She said she is ready to take on the challenges and demands of the Mystic Creek golf course, having played there twice and familiarized herself with the contours, slopes and layout of the land.
"I want to go out there and have fun with the other girls around and my family and friends there to support me," Roachell said. "I am so thankful to get this opportunity to play in front of people in my home state, and I'm super excited to begin my (professional) career in Arkansas!"