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Concord golfer Cydney Clanton still driving for success on women’s tours

Concord native Cydney Clanton watches her drive off the third tee during the Symetra Classic's pro-am tournament, held Tuesday, May 19, 2015, at Raintree Country Club.
Concord native Cydney Clanton watches her drive off the third tee during the Symetra Classic's pro-am tournament, held Tuesday, May 19, 2015, at Raintree Country Club. Bill Kiser

Cydney Clanton is a little tired after a long stretch of traveling and playing on women’s professional golf tours.

But that grind brings Clanton to Raintree Country Club, where she will tee off Thursday in the opening round of the Symetra Classic. The Symetra Tour event is in its fourth year playing at Raintree, less than an hour’s drive from Clanton’s family home in Concord.

“This is my sixth week (in a row),” on the tour, Clanton said, “so I needed to make this week fun. My energy level’s going to be a touch lower, so I needed to keep this week light and fun. I really want to play well here.”

Now in her fifth year as a professional golfer, Clanton, 26,hasn’t had many fun moments. She’s bounced between the LPGA Tour and the Symetra Tour, the LPGA’s developmental series.

While she has had her share of success on the Symetra Tour – one win (in 2013 at South Bend, Ind.) and seven more top-10 finishes in 25 career starts – the LPGA Tour has proven to be more problematic for Clanton.

“It’s just a different level up there on the LPGA (Tour),” said Clanton, a 2007 Concord High graduate and former All-American at Auburn. “It’s a higher caliber of golf, and it takes time to get used to.”

Last year was a perfect example: Clanton missed the cut in 13 of 17 LPGA events, and her best finish was 48th.

But at the end of the 2014 season, she finished tied for seventh at the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic in Prattville, Ala. – Clanton’s best finish in an LPGA Tour event, and still her first and only top 10.

“It was a great week,” Clanton said. “I really played well all week. I made lots of birdies – the most I’d ever made in a whole week ever. I felt very comfortable up there. I just hated it was my last event, and couldn’t keep going from there.

“I wish it had come earlier, but it didn’t. I’m still glad I had that week, because I built confidence, and reminded myself that this is what I should be doing.”

With provisional status on the LPGA Tour this season, Clanton will spend her time on both tours – hence, the tough travel schedule.

She’s already played in five Symetra Tour events, with two top 10s, and made the cut in two of three LPGA events, including last week’s Kingsmill Championship in Williamsburg, Va.

“There’s a huge difference between playing on the Symetra Tour and the LPGA,” Clanton said. “There’s a different mindset. Your performance has to be so much better. But it’s good to know that if you have a good week on the LPGA, you can have a great week on the Symetra Tour.”

Symetra Classic: Women’s professional golf tournament on the Symetra Tour, the LPGA’s developmental tour.

Schedule: Thursday-Saturday

Course: Charlotte’s Raintree Country Club (6,229 yards, par 72)

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