FireKeepers Casino Hotel is proud to announce their selections to fill two sponsorship exemption spots during next week’s FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship, a Symetra Tour – Road to the LPGA event. The spots have been awarded to sisters, Gabrielle and Sarah Shipley of Hastings, Mich. The Shipley sisters will be competing in a field of 145 players for a share of a $100,000 purse.
FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship Tournament Director, Kathy George stated “we are thrilled to award sponsor exemptions to Gabrielle and Sarah. We know Battle Creek area golf fans are excited to watch local up and coming players and the Shipleys definitely qualify.”
Gabrielle Shipley turned professional last year, and has played numerous professional events on a mini-tour called the National Women’s Golf Association, where she has 6 top 10 finishes and has also played in four Symetra Tour events. As an amateur, she qualified for the U.S Women’s Amateur twice, making it through to the top-32 in match play the summer of 2016. Gabrielle is a 2016 graduate from Grand Valley State University. While at Grand Valley, she was a two time All-American and a National Champion. Gabrielle spends her winters practicing in Tampa, Florida at Cheval Golf and Athletic Club.
“I am beyond thankful and blessed to have received this sponsor’s exemption. This tournament is one of the highlights of my summer schedule and I am glad to be playing alongside my little sister this year,” stated Gabrielle. “FireKeepers and the Battle Creek Country Club put on a top notch event every year and I can’t wait to get out there, play my game, trust the process and enjoy walking inside the ropes!”
Sarah Shipley is a sophomore at the University of Kentucky, and a proud member of the Wildcats Women’s Golf Team. Traveling and competing in every tournament her freshman year, Sarah also helped her team qualify for the NCAA Regional Championship in Columbus Ohio. Besides athletic success during her freshman year as a Wildcat, Sarah also made the Dean’s Academic Honor list in her second semester. During this past summer, she played in the Michigan Women’s Open, placing 20th overall amongst the professionals, and tied for third among the other amateurs. She also played in the Women’s Amateur Qualifier before leaving for a Nominated Mission Trip with Kentucky’s Athletic Department. Sarah and ten other athletes of different sports had the honor of being nominated by their coaches and Athletic Director to travel to Panama to serve the people living in poverty by building houses, and spending time with kids.
“I am beyond excited and thankful to be receiving this generous exemption by FireKeepers- especially since I will be playing with my older sister in it as well,” stated Sarah. “I am looking forward to play in such a tough field, see where I stand, learn all that I can, and bring my best performance and mental game that will glorify my God; all the while representing Kentucky Blue.”
The 4th Annual FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship will be held Friday, July 28 through Sunday, July 30, at Battle Creek Country Club. Spectators are welcome, passes are free with a donation to The Haven of Rest, the beneficiary of the 2017 tournament. The Symetra Tour – Road to the LPGA is the most established development tour in the world. Every year, the top 10 Symetra Tour players earn automatic membership to play on the LPGA Tour. The mission of the tour is to develop the skills and dreams of women professional golfers. Last year’s first and second place finishers, Laura Gonzales-Escallon and Ally McDonald earned spots in the Evian Championship for their finishes at the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship. Both also received 2017 LPGA Tour Cards.