The 2017 LPGA final Qualifying Tournament will get underway this evening at LPGA International, Daytona Beach, Florida, with ALPG members Rebecca Artis, Emma de Groot and Hannah Green all in with a chance of securing their LPGA Tour Cards for the 2017 season.
The tournament will be played over five gruelling rounds, with a field of 157 players are competing for 20 full LPGA Tour cards and 25 partial LPGA cards.
Players will alternate over the first four rounds between the Jones and Hills courses at LPGA International. There will be a cut to the top 70 and ties after the fourth round. The final-round will be contested on the Hills course. Play will begin at 8:00 a.m. all five days.
Players that finish in the top 20 - no ties - will earn LPGA Tour status in category 12 on the 2017 priority list while those that finish 21 through 45 - including ties - will earn status in category 17. Players that finish a minimum of 72 holes, but don’t earn LPGA Tour status, will receive Symetra Tour status in category E on the Symetra Tour priority list.
Although the most significant prize is leaving with a 2017 Tour card, there is a $50,000 purse and the medalist will earn $5,000.
This coming week is the culmination of a three-stage Qualifying Tournament process that started in late August with Stage I in Rancho Mirage, California. A total of 92 players advanced out of Stage I to Stage II, which was held in October in Venice, Florida. A total of 84 players passed through Stage II to get to where we are now.
While Green and Artis had to fight their way through stage II to make it through to final stage, Emma de Groot made it by virtue of her play in 2016 on the LPGA Symetra Tour.
With only 20 full Tour cards up for grabs in what looks on paper the most competitive LPGA final qualifying tournament in recent history, all three APG members will need to be at their best if they are to reach their dream of a full-time career on the LPGA Tour in 2017.
Green, who only recently turned professional after a successful amateur career, looks to have the credentials to follow her former teammates Minjee Lee and Su Oh onto the LPGA Tour, while Artis, winner of the Helsingborg Masters in 2014 and the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in 2015 has the knack of playing well on the big stage which she proved at the International Crown in Chicago in June when she partnered Minjee Lee and Karrie Webb.
DeGroot, who has stuck solid to her plan of using the Symetra Tour as her pathway to the LPGA, has shown on occasion that she has the ability to succeed at the highest level, however it is her consistency which has been lacking at times and that is something that will be tested if she is to battle through five tough rounds at LPGA International this week.
The field features 78 players representing the United States and 79 international players from 32 different countries. Canada has the most representatives with nine followed by England with seven and both Thailand and the Philippines have six players apiece.
The highest ranked player in the field according to the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings is Beth Allen (San Diego, Calif.), who ranks 63rd. Allen currently plays on the Ladies European Tour and leads the Order of Merit. There are eight players ranked in the top 200 in the world (Allen - 63, Nicole Broch Larsen (Hillerod, Denmark) - 90, Emily Pedersen (Smoerum, Denmark) - 109, JeongEun Lee (Seoul, South Korea) - 123, Mel Reid (Loughborough, England) - 135, Nasa Hataoka (Ibaraki, Japan) - 145, Holly Clyburn (Cleethorpes, England) and Aditi Ashok (Bangalore, India) - 198.
As has also been the case on the LPGA Tour in recent years youth will definitely be served this week, with 14 teenagers in the field and 25 players 21 years old and younger. There are just 12 players over the age of 30.
Follow the scores from the 2017 LPGA final Qualifying Tournament
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