Gabrielle and Sarah Shipley were each given a sponsors exemption to this weeks Symetra Tour event in Battle Creek. Important to each for different reasons.
For Gabrielle, she hasn't played a Symetra event since last August and doesn't currently have status on the tour.
"I had some life events that set me back towards the end of last year and it really impacted my status this year," Gabrielle, who finished tied for 50th at last years FireKeepers Casiino Hotel Championship said. "So just this opportunity that FireKeepers and Kathy George and the Battle Creek Country Club has blessed me with is huge and I'm very thankful for this."
For Sarah, an amateur who will get one more year at the University of Kentucky next season, she had originally planned to turn pro this summer before COVID-19 hit.
"If I were to turn pro this summer you can't gain any status, you can't move up so it would have been a really difficult summer for me as it is for a lot of these girls," Sarah, who is playing the FireKeepers Casiino Hotel Championship for the third time said. "So to be able to get the exemption with all of this going on is incredible and I am very grateful for it."
The sisters from Hastings have played a lot of golf together over the years, but this week at the Battle Creek Country Club they will do something that they've never done at any level, play in the same group in a tournament setting.
"We were in separate rooms in the house I was upstairs and she was downstairs and I saw it and I was like 'what!'" Gabrielle said when asked about her reaction when she found out she was paired with her sister. "She was like 'I know!' So we were yelling back and forth between the house when we found out we were paired together."
"It was a mix of emotions," Sarah added. "At first I think I kind of laughed, holy cow this is exciting, this is fun!"
The in-tournament on-course dynamic between the sisters might be somewhat difficult to predict at this point.
"We joke around when we play together," Gabrielle said. "But I think this atmosphere will be a little different. She's like 'I'm not going to be talking to you.'"
"I think she'll want to talk a lot to me," Sarah said. "But I'm a little more reserved especially when I am playing golf so we'll see, hopefully there won't be any fights, just kidding but we'll probably have a couple bets just to keep it fun."
Gabrielle and Sarah tee it up for the first round Friday starting on the tenth hole at 2:20 p.m. playing with Anita Uwadia of England.