As the Epson Tour has just passed the season’s midway point, here are 5 things to know about 2024

In just three months, the Coachella Valley’s newest professional golf tournament will come to town.

That will be the Epson Tour Championship, the season finale for the LPGA’s developmental tour. At the end of the 72-hole tournament at the Indian Wells Golf Resort, 15 golfers will have earned at least some playing privileges on the LPGA for 2025.

Followers of the LPGA may have some understanding of the Epson Tour and what it offers, but casual golf fans might not know much about the developmental tour. Here are some important points as the Tour Championship is less than 100 days away on Oct. 3-6.

It’s an international tour

Jessica Porvasnik (right) discusses strategy with caddie Sam Geise on the 10th tee during the final round of the Epson Tour’s Atlantic Beach Classic on March 23, 2024, at the Atlantic Beach Country Club in Neptune Beach, Fla.

Yes, it is based in the United States, but so is the LPGA itself, and the LPGA features top women players from around the world. The same is true of the Epson Tour. Of the top 15 players at the top of the Race for the Card at the moment, only five are from the United States. The top two players in that chase right now, Fiona Xu and Cassie Porter, are both from New Zealand, a country growing in importance in women’s golf. Other countries represented in the top 15 at the moment are Taiwan, China, South Korea, South Africa, Colombia, the Netherlands and Slovenia.

The tour is in its final chase for 2024

Karen Chung of Budd Lake, N.J. tees off during the final round of the Epson Tour’s Atlantic Beach Classic on March 23, 2024 at the Atlantic Beach Country Club in Neptune Beach, Fla.

The Epson Tour has played 11 tournaments so far this year, meaning there are only seven regular season events remaining before the Tour Championship in Indian Wells. The Epson golfers will play twice in July, twice in August and three times in September. Those final tournaments will take golfers across the country, with starts in Connecticut, New York, Oregon and Indiana before two starts in Alabama.

There are past LPGA players nearing a return

Kim Kaufman - Symetra Tour
Kim Kaufman - Symetra Tour

Kim Kaufman at the Four Winds Invitational at Blackthorn in South Bend, Indiana. (Tribune photo/Matt Cashore)

The Epson Tour is not just about college players looking for their first taste of professional golf or international players looking to break through in the United States. Just like on the PGA Tour with the Korn Ferry Tour, there are golfers who are working on the Epson Tour to return to the LPGA. That list includes a player like Kim Kaufman, ranked 422nd in the Rolex World Ranking, currently 173rd in the Race to the CMW Globe on the LPGA Tour and third in the Epson Tour Race for the Card. As recently as 2019, Kaufmann played in 21 events on the LPGA, though she has played only a handful of events on the LPGA in recent years. At third in the Race for the Card, Kaufmann has a strong chance of returning to the LPGA in 2025.

The West Coast swing is over, and the tour is up north

Battle Creek’s Lauren Reed at the Epson Tour 2024 FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship at Battle Creek Country Club on Tuesday, June 4, 2024.

The Epson Tour played two events in Arizona, one in Utah and one in California earlier in the year. The California event was played in Beaumont at the Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon. The IOA Championship presented by Morongo Casino was traditionally played the last week of March but moved to the last weekend in April. Juliana Hung of Taiwan won the title in a rout, shooting 21-under par for the 54-hole event for a nine-shot victory over current points leader Fiona Xu. If you are looking for someone with success near the desert, Hung is the player. But the tour is Milfor, Connecticut, next before a stop in New York.

The Tour Championship has some differences

Indian Wells Golf Resort
Indian Wells Golf Resort

The par-3 17th hole at the Indian Wells Golf Resort in Indian Wells, California. (Photo: Jay Calderon/The Desert Sun)

The tournament at Indian Wells Golf Resort’s Player Course will be a 72-hole event, rather than the 54 holes played at other Epson Tour events. And while the purse for the Tour Championship won’t be the largest on the tour – still $287,500 – the key is the Tour Championship will offer 650 points to the winner. The other Epson Tour tournaments offer 500 points to the winner. So getting into the Tour Championship and having a great week could move a player up into the top 15 where playing exemptions for the 2025 LPGA Tour are available.

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek