July 28, 2014
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Michigan State women's golfer Lindsey McPherson has been awarded a sponsor exemption from Meijer into the field of professionals playing in the Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft, which will be held Aug. 4-10 at Blythefield Country Club in Grand Rapids.
Grace Choi of Michigan also will receive an exemption from Meijer into the tournament.
"We are thrilled to invite Lindsey and Grace to play in this spectacular tournament," Meijer President J.K. Symancyk said. "We hope that by providing this opportunity, it will encourage them to grow in their careers if they choose to join the professional ranks. As a retailer focused on the community, we are also very excited to bring local talent to the field of professionals."
McPherson, who will be entering her senior season at Michigan State in 2014-15, competed in a career-high seven tournament this past season for the Spartans and recorded a 77.19 scoring average. She tied a career-best ninth at the Big Ten Championships to help lead the Spartans to their third Big Ten title in four years.
An Academic All-Big Ten selection, McPherson will earn her bachelor's degree in accounting from MSU later this summer. She will start a second degree in the fall semester in statistics before beginning a master's program in business analytics next spring.
"When Coach first started telling me about the tournament, I thought she was asking to see if I wanted to go help out or to go watch the tournament, because it would be a great event," said McPherson, who is a native of Flushing, Michigan. "When she said I was actually going to be playing in it as a sponsor exemption, it was unbelievable. I'm incredibly excited and want to thank everyone at Meijer for this amazing opportunity to be able to represent Michigan State and my family, who have believed in me this whole time, at a professional tournament playing the game that I love."
Following the collegiate season, McPherson has been having a successful summer preparing for her final year in the Green and White. She finished runner-up in the GAM (Golf Association of Michigan) Championship (July 7-8) at Spring Lake Country Club in Spring Lake with a 145 (73-72), and had a strong showing at the Michigan PGA Women's Open (June 23-25) at Crystal Mountain Resort, finishing second among amateurs and 11th overall after firing an even-par 216 (71-75-70). McPherson also nearly qualified for the U.S. Women's Open, placing just one shot back of automatically qualifying with a 149 at the sectional tournament on May 19 at Indian Hill Club in Winnetka, Illinois.
"I feel really confident in my abilities and my golf game right now," McPherson said. "Especially after this past year, where I really felt like I came into my own. I played in more tournaments at Michigan State than I ever did before, and I think that's prepped me for this moment."
"We've been smiling for weeks about this," said MSU women's golf head coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll. "First of all, having this in Grand Rapids, in our state, in my hometown, I've been wishing this for years. We had a Futures Tour event here before, but the hope was always to have an LPGA Tour event in Grand Rapids, so it's just wonderful.
"For Meijer to give Lindsey an exemption into the tournament is an incredible opportunity. She told me a couple of weeks ago she's going to turn pro after her college career, which is something that she's been thinking about for a long time. To be able to do this before her senior year starts, so she knows what it's really like to play on the LPGA, is a special opportunity for all of us."
For McPherson, who didn't started playing golf competitively until the age of 15, it's been a quick ascension from high school to the biggest stage in the world for women's golf.
"I first started hitting a few shots when I was 7, but I really didn't start playing until my sophomore year of high school," she said. "I think it's a little bit of an underdog story, but I would rather be the underdog any day."
McPherson caught on quickly, placing third at the 2009 Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) Division 4 Finals as a senior to earn first-team all-state honors. She walked on at Michigan State, and after redshirting her first year in 2010-11, played in just three tournaments the next two seasons before her breakthrough as a junior in 2013-14.
Last week, McPherson had a chance to soak in the moment of playing at a professional tournament during a publicity event at Blythefield Country Club, taking part in a photo shoot, performing media interviews, officially receiving her sponsor exemption award from Meijer, and meeting LPGA Tour star Morgan Pressel.
"It was definitely surreal coming to the course and getting to meet Morgan Pressel and a few other big names," McPherson remarked.
Each title sponsor of an LPGA event is able to award sponsor exemptions into the tournament. The $1.5 million Meijer LPGA Classic presented by Kraft will host a full-field of 144 players playing 72 holes of stroke play over four days of competition. Tickets are still available via the website www.MeijerLPGAClassic.com.
"The advice I have is the same advice I give to every player every round we play - it's just another tournament," said Slobodnik-Stoll. "If this is where she wants to be in a year, she's going to have to learn how to deal with everything that's going on around her, and really set that aside and play one shot at a time. She's going to get to interact with some of the best players in the world, but I also want her to understand that she's been given an opportunity by Meijer to be a player in this field, and I want her to make her goal of making the cut and representing Michigan State to the best of her ability, as well as the state of Michigan. Certainly we hope that we're going to have many, many Spartans following Lindsey throughout the week."
About Blythefield Country Club
Located just north of Grand Rapids, Blythefield has been providing families the best golf and social experience in West Michigan since 1928. With the Rogue River flowing through, Blythefield boasts one of the most beautiful championship layouts in Michigan. Previously, Blythefield has hosted the 1953 Western Amateur, the 1961 Western Open, won by Arnold Palmer, and the 2005 Western Junior won by Rickie Fowler. Beginning in 2014 Blythefield is honored to host the Meijer LPGA Classic. Learn more about Blythefield Country Club at www.blythefieldcc.org.
About the LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association)
The LPGA is the world's leading professional golf organization for women. Founded in 1950, the association celebrates a diverse and storied membership with more than 2,300 members representing more than 30 different countries. With a Vision to inspire, empower, educate and entertain by showcasing the very best of women's golf, LPGA Tour Professionals compete across the globe, while dedicated LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals (T&CP) directly impact the game through teaching, coaching and management. The Symetra Tour consistently produces a pipeline of talent ready for the world stage. The LPGA is headquartered in Daytona Beach, Florida. Follow the LPGA on its television home, Golf Channel, and on the web via: www.LPGA.com, www.facebook.com/lpga.official, www.twitter.com/lpga, and www.youtube.com/lpgavideo.