It was another record-breaking day on the Jones Course at LPGA International as South Korean Mi Rim Lee produced the low-round of the week with an 11-under-par 61 to take sole possession of second place. The KLPGA standout broke Jaye Marie Green’s previous record of 10-under 62, which she posted during the opening round on Wednesday. Green still holds a 7-shot lead heading into Saturday’s fourth round.
Lee battled through high winds on the Jones Course Friday but it seemed play in her favor as she carded 10 birdies, an eagle and a bogey to jump from a tie for 25th at 2-under-par to second place. Lee said it didn’t feel like a record-breaking round, as her game just seemed to come together perfectly.
“Putter was good today,” said Lee. “First day and second day, not so much. I hit some really close for tap-ins. It was nice.”
The 23-year-old is a three-year member of the KLPGA. She captured her second-career victory in 2012 at the Korean Women’s Open.
Green, who also played the Jones Course, carded a 6-under 66 on a day that featured a bogey-free, six-birdie performance with a four birdies on the back nine. Her three-day total of 20-under 196 marks the lowest score since the Final Qualifying Tournament moved to a 90-hole event in 2004.
“I think being where I was at 14-under to start the day, I was like, ‘Ok, just make it through the day let’s put that behind you,’” said Green. “My goal was to get to 20-under before Sunday and it was cool that I did that today. So that was nice.”
Sitting 10 shots behind the lead at 10-under 206 is Californian Tiffany Joh, who posted her second-straight 2-under 70 on the Jones Course Friday. Joh says it’s not uncommon for weather to pick up during the Final Qualifying Tournament, and says her past experiences have helped her manipulate through the tough scoring conditions.
“One of my first Q Schools I think it was sleeting in the final round,” said Joh. “You just never know what you’re going to get this week. You just kind of have to go out there and not put too many expectations on yourself as far as numbers go and just try to do the best you can.”
North Dakota State’s Amy Anderson, who was the medalist at the Stage II LPGA Qualifying Tournament moved to fourth place with a 2-under 70 and is 9-under 207 for the tournament.
A field of 153 players are in this week’s event, hoping to either earn membership or improve their current member status for the 2014 LPGA Tour season. Qualifiers from Stage I and II along with current LPGA Tour members attempting to improve their status, are in the field. In addition, players who finished Nos. 11-20 on the 2013 Symetra Tour season-ending money list (who do not already have LPGA status), are also in the field.
The 90-hole, five-round qualifier will cut to the low 70 players and ties after 72 holes. Those who make the cut will compete in Sunday’s final round on the Jones Course.
Quite the confidence boost… North Dakota State’s Amy Anderson quickly moved from a small town hero to a spotlight player in this week’s LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament when she won the Stage II Qualifier in Venice, Fla in October. While the 21-year-old holds the record for most collegiate wins with 20, the victory at Q School only validated her goals of one day playing on the LPGA Tour.
“I think mostly the win just gave me a little bit of confidence coming in,” said Anderson. “All great players at that stage and to finish at the top of the leaderboard is obviously a confidence boost. At the same time, I didn’t really let myself get complacent because there were parts of my game that were good that week but I kind of struggled with the weeks after. I still worked hard. I’m really pleased to be where I’m at right now.”
Anderson posted rounds of 68-69-70 to sit at fourth place through day-three of the five-round event. Knowing that only 20 cards are available after the round on Sunday, Anderson says it’s tough to ignore the nerves but puts trust in her faith to keep her going strong through the weekend.
“You know it’s always a little bit of a struggle,” said Anderson of calming her nerves. “I guess the biggest thing is that I just trust the Lord because he knows what’s best for me more than I do. So, He’s in control and I’m just doing my best but I’m just going to be content and happy with whatever happens.”
Making history… Boca Raton, Fla. native Jaye Marie Green was grinning ear-to-ear after another solid day on the links after posting her third-straight round in the 60s at the Final Qualifying Tournament.
Unbeknownst to her, the 6-under 66 on Friday brought her to the lowest three-day total since the event moved to five-rounds in 2004 with a 20-under 196.
“You know, just hearing it makes it seem like it’s not real,” said Green. “That has to be the lowest, I think, ever in my rounds of golf combined. But I’m surprised but yet, I’ve been working really hard and my dad has always told me, ‘Jaye, one day you’re just going to shoot like 10-under and breakthrough.’ So, it’s cool to have my dad believe in me even when I haven’t believed in myself. It’s been awesome to have him and also see my game come together.”
LPGA Priority Categories…One common goal shared among players competing in this week’s LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament is to play well enough to earn a 2014 LPGA Tour card. The top-20 finishers will earn Category 12 status on the priority list, while players finishing Nos. 21-45 and ties will earn Category 17. All other players who complete 72 holes will receive Symetra Tour status.
Category 12 players will automatically gain entry into the majority of full-field events (fields of approximately 144 players), while players in Category 17 can gain possible entry into full-field events based on player tournament commitments. Category 17 players will also have access to LPGA Monday qualifying tournaments and will be able to gain entry into Symetra Tour events.