Industry News

2 Indianans gain entry into Symetra event

May 30, 2019

French Lick Resort - Golfers with Local Ties Receive Sponsor Exemptions into Symetra Tour’s Donald Ross Classic

FRENCH LICK, IN – When the French Lick Resort hosts the Symetra Tour’s Donald Ross Classic this July, two rising golf stars from Indiana will be in the field of 144 LPGA hopefuls. These invitations echo a rich tradition as the famed resort continues its six-decade history of hosting prominent women’s tournaments, beginning with the LPGA’s 1958 French Lick Open.

French Lick (Ind.) Resort's Donald Ross Course

French Lick (Ind.) Resort's Donald Ross Course

Receiving one exemption into the third annual Donald Ross Classic (July 11-13, 2019) is Greenwood’s Erica Shepherd, an 18-year-old Duke University golf commit who won the 2017 U.S. Girls' Junior Championship and the 2019 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship (with teammate Megan Furtney).

“There’s nothing like playing a ‘hometown’ event in front of a lot familiar faces. I look forward to competing with professionals who are experienced players—including some Duke alums-- and comparing my game to theirs,” says Shepherd, no stranger to large galleries, having competed in two U.S. Women’s Opens and this spring’s inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur.

Evansville resident and second-year professional Taylor Howerton, a former standout player at Indiana University and the University of Southern Indiana, will also be in the field. Howerton, who worked as an assistant professional at French Lick in 2018 before turning pro, recently finished tied for ninth at the Eggland’s Best Ladies Professional Tour’s Stoneybrook East tournament. “I’m really blessed to have an opportunity to play in front of friends and family on the Donald Ross Course where I have such familiarity and experience,” Howerton says.

“Taylor and Erica are both great competitors. Having them in the field is another terrific way to build on the wonderful legacy of world-class women’s golf here at French Lick Resort,” Harner said. “When you come to this event, you see the future stars of women’s golf, so every year brings a lot of excitement on our decorated Donald Ross Course.”

The acclaimed Donald Ross Course at French Lick Resort will host 144 of the top rising talents in women’s golf as they compete for a share of the 54-hole stroke-play tournament’s $225,000 prize purse (The winner’s share is $33,750). After 36 holes of championship play, the top 60 players and ties will compete for a share of the third-highest purse on the 2019 Symetra Tour schedule.

The three-round tournament is the signature event of a week-long celebration of women’s golf hosted by Resort Charities, the charitable foundation of French Lick Resort, with proceeds from the festivities benefiting the Orange County Habitat for Humanity. The week kicks off with a pairings party Tuesday, July 10 followed by the popular Symetra Tour Pro-Am on Wednesday July 11.

The Orange County Habitat for Humanity provides a major impact on the French Lick community and the surrounding region by providing home ownership opportunities to low income families through the building of new single-family dwellings using donated materials and labor. Since 1992, the organization has developed and constructed 27 new homes for Orange County residents.

To learn more about this event, visit



French Lick Resort is a Midwest travel destination that includes West Baden Springs Hotel, French Lick Springs Hotel and the French Lick Casino. Restored to its historic glory after a $560 million renovation, this resort in the rolling hills of Southern Indiana features 686 guest rooms and suites; a 51,000-square-foot casino; meeting and event space totaling 163,000 square feet; 45 holes of golf, including two of the state’s top-rated public courses in The Pete Dye Course at French Lick and The Donald Ross Course at French Lick; two full-service spas with a combined 36 treatment rooms; and an array of fine dining and family-friendly entertainment and recreation options. Visit


The Symetra Tour — Road to the LPGA is the official developmental tour of the LPGA and concluded its 36th competitive season in 2016. With the support of its umbrella partner, Symetra, the Tour’s mission is
to prepare the world’s best young women professional golfers for a successful career on the LPGA Tour. Since Symetra’s inaugural sponsorship year in 2012, the Symetra Tour has grown from 16 tournaments and $1.7M in prize money to $3.5M in prize money awarded over the course of 23 tournaments — the most events since 1988. With more than 600 alumnae moving on to the LPGA, former Symetra Tour players have won a total of 418 LPGA titles. Follow the Symetra Tour on the web at,,, and

Media Contacts:

Dyan Duncan, Public Relations Manager, French Lick Resort,, 812-936-5926

Kevin Frisch, Kevin Frisch PR,, 989-614-0241

Carl Mickelson, Kevin Frisch PR,, 512-797-2673