For­mer Arkansas stand­out ready to make pro de­but

El Dorado News-Times - - Sports -

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!"

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