LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament
LPGA International- Jones & Hills Courses
Daytona Beach, Florida
Final-round News and Notes
December 8, 2013
Symetra Tour rookie Jaye Marie Green completed a wire-to-wire victory at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament on Sunday to earn medalist honors and earn LPGA Tour status for the 2014 season. The 19-year-old finished the five-day, 90-hole event at 29-under-par 331 with a 10 shot victory over South Korean Mi Rim Lee.
Green set the record for the lowest score at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament since it moved to a 90-hole event in 2004. Eight-time LPGA Tour winner Stacy Lewis set the previous record in 2008 when she posted an 18-under 342.
“This is going to be a week that I’ll always remember,” said Green. “I was the most nervous on that last green when I didn’t have to be but I really was. But when that putt fell I was just speechless and I think I was just seeing stars really. It was a cool feeling. I just felt really relieved.”
Green finished 4-under for the day with six birdies and two bogeys on the Jones Course. She opened her round with a bogey on the par-3 third hole, ending a 59-hole run without a bogey. She quickly recovered with back-to-back birdies on holes five and six to make the turn at 1-under. She went on to record two more birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 with her second bogey of the day coming on the par-3 14th hole.
The Boca Raton, Fla. native closed out Sunday’s round with birdies on the final two holes, securing her LPGA Tour card for the 2014 season.
“It’s been a dream come true really,” said Green. “Since I was a little girl it’s what I’ve always wanted to do. Having my dad beside me, couldn’t have been a better feeling really. Having all my family here is just awesome. I’m so overwhelmed right now, I don’t how to react.”
Green, who placed second to New Zealand star Lydia Ko at the 2012 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, played on the Symetra Tour this season and tallied three top-10 finishes to end the season ranked 29th on the Volvik Race for the Card. She said the experience couldn’t have prepared her more for this week.
“It really is the stepping stone to getting into the LPGA Tour,” said Green. “Just the things that I’ve learned, like the key elements that you need to be out there was a huge help. For that to happen so fast, like me being here today after my first season, I wasn’t expecting it to come that fast.”
Finishing runner-up at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament is South Korea’s Mi Rim Lee, a two-time winner on the Korean LPGA Tour, who finished with a 3-under 69 and 19-under for the tournament.
Two-year LPGA Tour veteran Tiffany Joh finished third with a 15-under 354 total to improve her status for the 2014 season. The Californian, who is also celebrating her 27th birthday, said the solid finish was quite the present today.
“Pressure-wise, there’s nothing that compares to this week,” said Joh. “With it coinciding with my birthday, half the time I think it’s a jinx and the other half I think it’s awesome. It’s definitely up there with my top golf accomplishments.”
In fourth-place at 14-under 346 is North Dakota State’s Amy Anderson, who was the medalist at the Stage II LPGA Qualifying Tournament and the winningest collegiate golfer with 20 victories. After posting rounds of 68-69-70-70-69, Anderson said she was surprised with her performance in the pressure-packed event.
“This is not what I expected at all,” said Anderson. “The week or so leading up I was actually struggling with my game quite a bit. So I was thinking I would sneak in by the skin of my teeth. To come out here and just play well all week was really exciting and took the stress out of it.”
Canadian Jennifer Kirby finished jumped from a tie for ninth to solo fifth place with a final-round 4-under 68to sit one shot ahead of South Korean Seon Hwa Lee (71).
Vanderbilt graduate and Ladies European Tour rookie Meghan Grehan (71) and the 2011 Symetra Tour player of the Year Kathleen Ekey (72) sit in a tie for seventh at 10-under 350.
Four players ended week in a tie for ninth at 8-under 352 and includes 17-year-old China native Xiyu Lin (70), Spain native Maria Hernandez (71), Denmark’s Line Vedel (71) and University of Tennessee standout Erica Popson (73).
Sitting one stroke back is a group of six who finished T13 includes LPGA Tour rookies Paz Echeverria (70) and Victoria Elizabeth (67), Malaysia amateur Kelly Tan (68), five-year LPGA Tour veteran Lisa Ferrero (69), South African Paula Reto (70) and Italian Silvia Cavalleri (70).
A four-way tie for 19th put Japan native Haru Nomura (69), Symetra Tour members Megan McChrystal (70) and Jenny Suh (71) and South African Ashleigh Simon (74) in a playoff for the final two spots to round out the top 20 for the week. The group battled in a three-hole aggregate on Nos. 9, 10 and 18. Simon birdied No. 18 to earn the first spot.
Nomura, McChrystal and Suh forced a sudden death playoff for the remaining spot and it only took one hole for Nomura to claim it.
Twenty-six additional players also earned 2014 LGPA membership and will fall in Category 17. Others who finished T49 and below and made the 72-hole cut earned Symetra Tour status.
Ready for next year… Jaye Marie Green picked the perfect week to play her best golf she’s ever played. Opening with the second-lowest round of 10-under 62 and ending with the lowest score since the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament moved to 90 holes since 2004 at 29-under 331, Green couldn’t shake the smile from her face.
After making such a big statement at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament this year, 19-year-old Green said next year can’t come soon enough.
“I was telling my dad around the 13th hole that I couldn’t wait to go home and practice even more,” said Green. “This is more motivating and kind of showed what I was doing before was really working. I’ve seen some shots that I’ve struggled with a little bit this week. I just want to keep working hard this off-season so that I know I’ll be ready.”
Happy birthday to me! Two-year LPGA Tour veteran Tiffany Joh was smothered in cupcakes after sinking a birdie putt on the final hole to not only secure full LPGA status for next year, but also celebrate her 27th birthday today.
Fellow LPGA pro and friend Christina Kim glazed Joh’s face with frosting to celebrate the big day.
“Every year, Q School is on my birthday,” said Joh. “This is actually the first time I earned a fully-exempt card. The first time I got my card I finished like 21st or 22nd for conditional status. It’s definitely nice to actually be able to celebrate for the first time.”
Of note… LPGA Tour rookie Victoria Elizabeth fired the low round of the day 5-under 67 to jump from a T27 to T13…. 2005 U.S. Women’s Open champion Birdie Kim shot a final-round 2-under 70, but sat 2-shots off from entering the playoff for the final spots in the top 20. She earned Category 17 status for 2014… Nicole Jeray shot her second consecutive 3-over 75 to end in a T54 to earn Symetra Tour status… four-time LPGA Tour winner Lorie Kane moved from a T56 to T44 with a 2-under 70 to earn conditional status.