ALPG will have six of our members teeing it up tomorrow morning at the Final Stage of Qualifying for the 2016 LPGA Tour. Su Oh, Rebecca Artis, Stacey Keating, Emma De Groot, Bree Elliott and Liv Cheng will be amongst 157 players in the field from 26 different nationalities chasing the dream of a place on the 2016 Tour.
The event will be played over five rounds at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Florida, over both the Jones and Hills Courses and will conclude on Sunday, December 6. The players will be competing for LPGA Tour membership in category 12 and 17 on the 2016 LPGA priority list.
The top 20 finishers (no ties) come Sunday will earn category 12 membership while players who finish 21 through 45 plus ties will earn membership through category 17. In layman’s terms, the top 20 finishers will have “full” LPGA membership while those that finish 21-45 will have “conditional” status. Players that finish a minimum of 72 holes will earn Symetra Tour membership in category D.
Players will rotate between the Jones and Hills courses over the first four days. There will be a 72-hole cut made on Saturday to the top 70 and ties. The final round will take place on the Hills Course.
Although secondary to earning LPGA membership, there is a $50,000 purse for the event with the medalist earning $5,000.
There might never be another Qualifying Tournament class that had as much success the following year on the LPGA as the 2014 class. Co-medalist’s, ALPG member Minjee Lee and Alison Lee finished 16th and 23rd on the LPGA Tour official money list and they weren’t even the most impressive members of the class!
For perspective, Alison Lee and Minjee Lee, played in 23 and 29 LPGA events respectively in 2015. Minjee finished 16th on the official LPGA money list with a win at the Kingsmill Championship while Alison finished 23rd on the money list with six top 10 results. Julie Yang, who finished T21 at 2014 Final Stage, made 12 starts on the LPGA in 2015.
Sei Young Kim, who finished T6 at Final Stage, was the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year in 2015. She won three times and posted a total of 12 top 10 finishes. Kim is now the No. 4 ranked player in the world. Don’t forget about Ha Na Jang, who placed T6 with Kim and went onto to finish 15th on the LPGA money list this year with nine top 10 results. Six of the 20 players from the 2014 Q-School class finished in the top 50 on the 2015 LPGA money list - No. 4 Sei Young Kim, No. 15 Ha Na Jang, No. 16 Minjee Lee, No. 23 Alison Lee, No. 35 Ariya Jutanugarn and No. 44 Sakura Yokomine.
The field this week is also an incredibly strong one, with 18 players in the top 250 on the Rolex Women’s World rankings.
The top ranked player in the field is No. 75 Nicole Broch Larsen (Copenhagen, Denmark) with a further six players ranked in the top 150, No. 90 Holly Clyburn (Cleethorpes, United Kingdom). No. 103 Jeongeun Lee (Seoul, South Korea), No. 107 Ssu Chia Cheng (New Taipei City, Taiwan), No. 126 Amy Boulden (Conwy, United Kingdom), No. 128 ALPG’s Rebecca Artis (Coonabarabran, Australia) and No. 141 Jing Yan (Shanghai, China).
The field also features three past LPGA Tour winners in Heather Bowie Young (2005 Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic), Silvia Cavalleri (2007 Corona Championship) and Lorie Kane (4, 2000 Michelob Light Classic, 2000 New Albany Golf Classic, 2000 Mizuno Classic and 2001 LPGA Takefuji Classic).
There are seven 2015 Symetra Tour winners the field this week including ALPG member Breanna Elliott (Fuccillo Kia Championship) Augusta James (Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial), Katie Kempter (Volvik Championship), Sue Kim (Florida’s Natural Charity Classic), Madeleine Sheils (FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship), Caroline Westrup (Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge), Jackie Stoelting (Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout & IOA Golf Classic) and Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong (Symetra Tour Championship)
The event also boasts four LET winners including ALPG members Su Oh (RACV Ladies Masters) and Rebecca Artis (Scottish Open) along with Celine Herbin (Lacoste Ladies Open de France), and Nicole Broch Larsen (The Helsinborg Open).
There is also a 2015 KLPGA winner in the field - Jeongeun Lee. She won once and is 15th on the official KLPGA money list.
One of the most recognizable names in the field is Belen Mozo, who was part of the victorious Team Spain at the inaugural International Crown in 2014. Mozo finished No. 101 on the LPGA money list in 2015 and is in Final Stage to try and improve her status for 2016. Mozo has three career top 10 finishes on the LPGA and over $700,000 in career earnings. Mozo’s best year on the LPGA was her rookie 2011 season when she finished 67th on the money list. Mozo qualified for the LPGA by finishing T8 at 2010 Q-School.
2014 RACV Ladies Masters champion Cheyenne Woods (Phoenix, Arizona), the niece of Tiger, finished No. 125 on the money list in her rookies season to retain status (category 17). She is in the field this week to try to improve her status to category 12. Woods played in 17 events and made eight cuts with her best finish a tie for 24th at the JTBC Founders Cup.
Woods earned her LPGA Tour card by finishing T11 at 2014 Final Stage with scores of 68-79-67-71-70 to finish at 5-under.
The youngest player in the field is Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras of Thailand, who doesn’t turn 18 until December 27. There are six players that just turned 18 this year (Ssu Chia Cheng, Megan Khang, Kana Nagai, Benyapa Niphatsophon, Budsabakorn Sukapan and Ziqi Ye). Lori Kane is the oldest player in the field at 50.
To keep up to date go to http://www.lpga.com/tournaments/qualifying-tournament