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The Epson Tour annually awards LPGA Tour Membership to the top players on the Epson Tour official money list, and the conclusion of the Epson Tour Championship ushers in the 2022 graduating class.
From 1999-2002, the official qualifying tour of the LPGA handed out three cards. Then from 2003-2007, that number increased to five before 10 cards started being distributed in 2008. Since that inaugural year, 182 players have graduated to the big stage including the top 10 from this season.
Please meet the 2022 Epson Tour graduates:
Sunday was Ström’s second Epson Tour graduation. She first earned her card in 2018 but lost it at the end of the 2021 season. It took her less than a full season on the qualifying tour to find her way back to the highest stage.
Ström on earning 2023 LPGA Tour Membership: “I’m obviously very excited to have earned my LPGA card back for next year.
After really struggling last season, my main goal for this season was to earn my card back, but it was also to find happiness again and
enjoy playing golf. I’m extremely proud that I achieved that goal this season.”
At 17 years, 10 months and 1 day old, Yin is the youngest player to clinch her card through the Epson Tour. The rookie from China earned her first professional wins in consecutive weeks to secure her spot in the LPGA Tour.
Yin on earning 2023 LPGA Tour Membership: “I’m so happy. Like really happy that I get to play the LPGA Tour next year. I’m
going to learn a lot from it. I’ve been getting more experience to get ready for my LPGA career. I’ve learned a lot on the Epson Tour, it’s
given me a lot of confidence.”
After spending three seasons on the Epson Tour, Li became the first player to mathematically clinch her card for the 2023 LPGA season. Since then, Li has been finding ways to play at the highest level – either through sponsorship exemptions or by Monday qualifying. This week, she was in California playing at the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship.
Li on earning 2023 LPGA Tour Membership: “It’s definitely been a big goal of mine for a long time. To finally be able to be out there and compete with the best in the world is very exciting. There’s a pretty big transition from amateur into professional golf and being on the Epson Tour was that pathway for me to make that transition. I think it’s huge for people turning pro.”
Since grabbing her first professional win at Ann Arbor’s Road to the LPGA powered by the A2 Sports Commission, Riihijarvi had bobbled in and out of the top 10 of the Epson Tour Official Money List. She turned up the heat at the end of September and carded two top-10 results to put herself just above the line.
Riihijarvi on earning 2023 LPGA Tour Membership: “It feels incredible. It's so cool. It feels very surreal. I don't really know what to do with myself right now, but it's really cool.”
Less than two months into her first Epson Tour season, Kim captured her first professional win. The 21-year-old set the scoring record at the 2022 IOA Golf Classic presented by LPT Realty with an 18-under par performance, highlighted by a 7-under final round.
Kim on earning 2023 LPGA Tour Membership: “It's sunk in now, and it’s definitely really cool. I’m just really excited for next year to be amongst my role models. I’m really stoked.”
Borge has been a member of the Epson Tour since 2019 and has shown marked improvement in the latter half of 2022. Prior to her first professional victory this season and a runner-up finish at the Guardian Championship, her best result was third place at the 2021 Island Resort Championship.
Borge on earning 2023 LPGA Tour Membership: “During the season I didn't think too much about the top 10. I wasn't very close either. Last week, I was suddenly in the top 10. Maybe it was good that it was late this season, so I hadn't to think about it a lot.”
The 26-year-old has been on the Epson Tour since 2017. Before the 2022 season, she had only cracked the top-20 twice in her career – both times during her rookie season. This year, Then recorded six top-20 finishes, including her first professional win at the Garden City Charity Classic at Buffalo Dunes
Then on earning 2023 LPGA Tour Membership: “I cannot believe I'm freaking here. You know, beginning of last year I literally had nothing. I didn't have status on any tour in the world. Now to have status on the biggest tour in the world, which has been my dream since I was 14 years old is absolutely surreal.”
Last year, Kim finished T35 at the 2021 LPGA Q-Series to earn both Epson and LPGA Tour membership for this season. Though she’s played in 12 LPGA events, she’ll use her stellar results in 13 tournaments on the Epson Tour to avoid Q-Series this time around.
Kim on earning 2023 LPGA Tour Membership: “It feels amazing, because I managed to get the firsthand experience of what it's like to not have a great status and having to Monday Q into a lot of these LPGA events. So just being able to go out there and have a good foundation to start off, I think it's a huge game changer, so I'm really excited for that.”
A member of the Epson Tour since 2020, Liu broke through in 2022 to clinch an LPGA berth in 2023. Through 2020 and 2021, Liu was unable to break into the top-10, but this season Liu was able to capture her first professional victory and push her into the mix.
Liu on earning 2023 LPGA Tour Membership: “I'm just very excited and hopefully I can play very well next year. But there’s no pressure, I just want to enjoy it.”
Jang joined the top-10 in the final week of competition. Entering the Epson Tour Championship, Jang only needed a solo 53rd finish to advance in the rankings. Instead, she turned in a T11 performance boosting her to No. 10.
Jang on earning 2023 LPGA Tour Membership: “I’m speechless. Like I literally have no words right now. It's just so overwhelming because I didn't expect this. I was not giving up, but I just felt like I was going to have to go to Q-Series. As soon as I heard from my friend that I got into top 10, I was just so happy and excited. I would love to go to Korea and talk about it with my family.”
The Epson Tour (formerly the Symetra Tour) is the official qualifying tour of the LPGA Tour and enters its 42nd competitive season in 2022.
With the support of entitlement partner Seiko
the Tour’s mission is to prepare the world’s best female professional golfers for a successful career on the LPGA Tour. In the last decade,
the Epson Tour has grown from 15 tournaments and $1.6 million in prize money to $4.41 million awarded across 20+ events in 2022. With
more than 600 graduates and alumnae moving on to the LPGA Tour, former Epson Tour players have won 459 LPGA titles.
Follow the Epson Tour at www.epsontour.com, as well as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Main Photo: The 2022 Epson Tour Graduates, from L-R: Hyo Joon Jang, Yan Liu, Gina Kim, Gabriella Then, Celine Borge, Grace Kim, Kiira Riihijarvi, Xiaowen Yin, Linnea Ström (Not pictured: Lucy Li)