Like many other young, aspiring women’s golfers, Mexico’s Alejandra Llaneza is trying to play her way onto the LPGA Tour.
It’s nothing new for Llaneza, who has played professionally both on the Symetra and LPGA Tours since 2012.
And similarly to what others have experienced, the road to the LPGA and the road to stay on the LPGA has been a rugged one for Llaneza.
Having played full-time on the LPGA Tour in 2013 and 2016, and earning full status with a top 10 money list finish in 2015 with her lone pro victory that season at the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic, Llaneza now finds herself back on the Symetra grind, with the hope of a strong finish at the end of the season to put her back on the road up.
“It’s been kind of an interesting place to be this year, and the process to work to get back,” Llaneza said recently prior to the start of the 5th Garden City Charity Classic on Friday at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course.
Llaneza will be joined by 131 other women professionals who will play 36 holes, 18 each on Friday and Saturday, and then have the field cut to the low 60 scores and ties for Sunday’s final round of the 54-hole tourney.
Tee times for both Friday and Saturday begin at 8 a.m.
The 2018 season hasn’t been particularly kind to Llaneza. She currently stands No. 82, with just more than $7,000 in earnings, having missed the cut in nine of her 16 events.
“The Tour has been improving and there’s more good players, so you just have to get back the confidence and remember what got you there in the first place,” Llaneza said. “I’ve made some changes, and I think they will make me a better player.”
Small in stature at just 5-feet-2-inches tall, Llaneza isn’t the longest hitter on the Tour, averaging just under 240 yards off the tee. In the past, she’s been noted as having a strong short game and deft putting touch. That allowed her to average just more than 71 strokes a round in 2015. Now, though, she’s just above the 73.00 range per round.
“I think the Symetra Tour is lengthening the courses to make them more similar to the LPGA, where the level of competition is better and the cuts are lower,” Llaneza said.
In her lone previous appearance at the Charity Classic, Llaneza finished in a tie for 27th at 2-over-par 218.
She hopes her previous trips around the layout will prove beneficial this time.
“Once I get to a course I can remember the holes, so you don’t have to play as many practice rounds and you can save energy,” Llaneza said. “What I remember of Buffalo Dunes is that I liked it and you have to use good course management. I remember the hospitality and the warm welcome. I think all of us are excited to be there.”
Llaneza has drawn the afternoon round on Friday’s opening day, teeing off No. 1 at 2:08 p.m.
The field is comprised of every single player in the top 20 money list with just five tournaments remaining this season. With the $22,500 winner’s check on the line in the $150,000 event, movement up and down the list is huge for any player in the top 30.
Of the 16 events played thus far, there have been 16 different winners, the most recent being Linnea Strom of Sweden at last week’s Sioux Falls (S.D.) GreatLIFE Challenge, where she won $31,500 and moved up 22 spots on the money chart.