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El Dorado-based Murphy USA rolls out welcome mat for women's pro golfers

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Duramed FUTURES Tour
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Up-and-coming female professional golfers will descend on El Dorado next week for the next stop on the Symetra Tour, an LPGA qualifying event.

This is the first Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout with a field of 132 players from the U.S. and 24 countries. The Symetra Tour’s Brett Lasky says the 54-hole, stroke-play format tournament at Mystic Creek Golf Club is an opportunity to meet the next generation of LPGA tour stars, get their autographs, and pose for selfies.

“I think people can expect first-class golfers and also great role models for the next generation of golf,” Lasky said, from Garden City, Kansas, the current stop on the tour. “That’s one of the things that our golfers are really good at. If they see a young kid at the event, they’ll go up and chat and engage.”

It takes almost 300 volunteers to run one of these week-long tour events, according to Lasky, who says volunteers are the right hand for a dozen LPGA staffers on the tour.

Title sponsor Murphy USA put up the $100,000 purse and assigned a team of employees to plan the tournament and two pro-ams for corporate sponsors. This is the first Symetra Tour event in Arkansas and the 21st in its season. Murphy USA senior vice president and general counsel John Moore says organizers are working hard to ensure the first year doesn’t have any rough patches.

“As in every event like this, you want to look back after it’s over and see how things have gone and see what you can do better for next year. But, we’ve committed to do this for a few years and we hope it becomes an annual event in El Dorado,” Moore said, adding it will showcase Mystic Creek that opened in 2013 for other professional golf events.

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Credit Symetra Tour
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Annie Park, 20, from Levittown, N.Y., won the Prairie Band Casino & Resort Charity Classic on Sunday for her third victory in nine Symetra Tour starts this season.

El Dorado native Amanda McCurdy, a golf pro in Arlington, Texas, has special permission to play in this event.

The El Dorado Shootout is raising money for local domestic violence shelter Turning Point of South Arkansas. Moore anticipates the donation will exceed $20,000 with more than 25 tournament sponsors and growing.

Tournament play gets underway Friday, Sept. 25, at 7:30 a.m. and ends with a championship round Sunday, Sept. 27. Spectator admission is free.

The top 10 money winners each season earn their LPGA tour card the following year.