Moriya Jutanugarn Captures First Stage of LPGA Qualifying Tournament

LPGA Qualifying Tournament – Stage I
LPGA International, Champions Course
Daytona Beach, Fla.
Final-round wrap
September 7, 2012


Moriya Jutanugarn Captures First Stage of LPGA Qualifying Tournament

DAYTONA BEACH, Florida – Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand opened up the final round of the first stage of LPGA Qualifying with back-to-back birdies on the first two holes and looked like she would be getting ready to run away with the win on Friday. But the 18-year old cooled off after the second as those birdies would be her last and shot even-par the rest of her round. And it turned out to be enough.

Jutanugarn carded a 2-under 70 on the Champions Course at LPGA International to clinch the first stage of the three-part tournament. She finished the week at 15-under 273 to edge Georgia native Garrett Phillips. Phillips, who played in Jutanugarn’s group the final two rounds, matched her 2-under 70 on Friday but finished 14-under 274 for the week and one shot back.

Jutanugarn admitted she felt confident after the opening two birdies but said some mistakes on the greens kept her from any more the rest of the round.

“After the first two holes I felt confident and I felt it was my day,” said Jutanugarn. “But I made some mistakes. I missed a lot of putts again.”

Jutanugarn found herself in some trouble as she tried to finish up her round on the par 5 18th. She pulled her drive into the water and was faced with a drop but knew she did not end on a bad note.

“I didn’t want to finish bogey,” said Jutanugarn.

She hit her 7-iron to lay up at 95 yards and then hit her wedge to two feet and the win.

“I finished under par, but I know I can do better,” said Jutanugarn.

The Thai teen knows she has work to do before next month’s second stage, but seems fully ready for the challenge that will come her way.

“It’ll get harder and harder,” said Jutanugarn of the following two stages of qualifying. “The second will be harder and the last will be tough.

“Everyone has to work so hard, and I try to really put a lot of work into my game and hopefully it will let me reach my goal,” said Jutaungarn.

The Bangkok native said knowing her dream can become a reality within a few months made her nerves obvious this week. But after a solid showing in the first stage, she’s hoping to get a chance to come back to Daytona Beach in December.

“Each time I played this week I was a little nervous,” said Jutanugarn. “Getting to the LPGA is my goal. It’s so cool. I really want to get to that final stage. I play golf because I want to play on the LPGA.”

Marta Silva (67) of Spain, Brooke Pancake (71) of Chattanooga, Tenn. and Jaye Marie Green (73) of Boca Raton, Fla. finished T3 at 10-under 278.

Twenty-two players finished under par and 29 players finished at even-par 288 or better after four rounds in the LPGA’s first stage of qualifying. A total of 61 players will advance to the second stage in Venice, Fla. next month.

This week’s tournament was the first of the three-part annual qualifying tournament held to determine 2013 membership on both the LPGA and Symetra Tour. This year marks the second time all of the qualifying events will be staged in the state of Florida.

The second stage of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament will be held Oct. 9-12, at Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice, Fla. The top 70 and ties from Stage II will advance into the final Qualifying Tournament Stage III.

The final Stage III Q-school will be contested over 90 holes Nov. 28 through Dec. 2, on both the Champions and Legends courses at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla. Top finishers in the final stage will earn 2013 LPGA membership (total number of cards TBD) and all others who make the cut will receive Symetra Tour status.

Topics: LPGA Qualifying Tournament

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