1st Round News & Notes - LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament

LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament
LPGA International- Jones & Hills Courses
Daytona Beach, Florida
First-round Notes and Interviews
December 4, 2013

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Jaye Marie Green fired a 10-under-par 62 on the Jones Course at LPGA International to break the course record and take the first-round lead at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament. The 19-year-old takes a four-shot lead over LPGA Tour veterans Tiffany Joh and Seon Hwa Lee heading into Thursday’s second round of the 90-hole event.

As a 2013 Symetra Tour rookie, Green tallied four top-10 finishes in 15 events to end the season ranked 29th on the Volvik Race for the Card. On Wednesday, she sent an early statement that she’s more than ready for the LPGA Tour as she carded 11 birdies and one bogey to leave her mark on the Jones Course at LPGA International.

“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Green of her record-breaking round. “I switched my irons back to my old ones because of the shafts. But it was really just everything. I really only just missed one fairway and two greens. You know how people say, ‘if I just made putts I would have shot this?’ Well it was just one of those days that the putts went in and I did shoot it. It was cool. The putting was just on point.”

Green began her first round on the 10th tee and rattled off consecutive birdies on her first four holes. With two more birdies on the 16th and 18th holes, Green made the turn at 6-under. Her lone bogey of the day came on the par-3 sixth hole following birdies on three of the first five holes, and managed to finish her round with birdies on the final two holes. She says posting a 10-under-par score was much easier than expected.

“It was weird because I looked over at my dad and I was seven under through ten holes and I was like, I don’t feel like I’m 7-under,” said Green. “I’m just hitting it, finding the ball and then putting it. It was like, I don’t understand, like what’s going on?”

San Diego, Calif. native Joh, who also played the Jones Course, teed off on No. 1 and began the day with a bogey on the fourth hole but quickly recovered with two birdies on the fifth and seventh holes. Joh admits after seeing the leaderboard while making the turn, an aggression set in for the back-nine as she went on to record five birdies to end the day in second place at 6-under 66.

“I wasn’t really making a ton of putts on the front-nine and I think I was just a little more aggressive on the back-nine,” said Joh. “I think at Q School you kind of come into it with a mentality of just trying to play solid instead of taking it deep. I think it was just that and changing my mindset and being more aggressive.”

Sitting one stroke back at 5-under is a group of five which includes Ladies European Tour players Megan Grehan and Line Vedel, Japan native Haru Nomura, 2011 Symetra Tour Player of the Year Kathleen Ekey and 19-year LPGA veteran Nicole Jeray.

The 90-hole tournament is staged at LPGA International, where 153 players will play the Jones and Hills courses twice, hoping to be among the top-70 and ties to advance to Sunday.  After Sunday’s final round, the top-20 finishers will earn Category 12 status for the 2014 LPGA Tour season, while those who finish 21st through 45th and ties will earn Category 17. 

Answered Prayers… Jaye Marie Green didn’t enter the week expecting to break any records. She also didn’t expect to have a 4-shot lead at one of the most nerve-wracking events of the season. In fact, she came into the Final Qualifying Tournament more nervous than she has ever been.

But on the Jones Course at LPGA International, Green couldn’t have looked more relaxed as she fired a 10-under 62 to break the course record and take the first-round lead.

“I was having a tough time and had some anxiety, really,” said Green of preparing for the tournament. “I just kind of shot up and didn’t really know what to do. So I really just got back into the word and the Bible and prayed a lot. I’ve never felt more calm in my life. I was like, ‘I’m not stressing, what tournament is this?’ It was pretty cool. So when I walked out today I’m like, ‘wow, what an answered prayer that is.’”

The Boca Raton, Fla. native was a rookie on the Symetra Tour this season, accompanied by her father, Dominic, who was on her bag. Together they amassed 4 top-10 finishes en route to finishing 29th on the season-ending Volvik Race for the Card. It was a year of discovery for the 19-year-old and her dad, but says she’s finally  seeing the results of all their hard work this season.   

“I don’t think anything could have prepared me better than being on the Symetra Tour this year,” said Green. “Just all the things I’ve learned with me and my dad and getting that relationship there really helped me out on the golf course. Just every little piece has been making a puzzle and leading up to this. I feel like it’s actually starting to make a picture.”

You know the drill… Two-year LPGA Tour veteran Tiffany Joh fired a 6-under 66 to take a share of second place during the first round of the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament. While it may be a safe spot on the leaderboard today, Joh knows that plenty of golf is left to play this week.

“The first four days it’s really just getting yourself in position,” said Joh. “Like, yea I played really solid today but I’m not making it into more than it is.”

In 2010, Joh earned LPGA status for the 2011 season when she finished T22 at the Final Qualifying Tournament, but is back at Q School for the third time this week looking to improve her status for the 2014 season. 

“I think what I’ve learned, my first couple years I came in just thinking that it was such a big deal and building it up in your mind and thinking that this totally determines where I play for the next year,” said Joh. “But in reality it’s just another tournament. For me it’s all about putting yourself in position to play a solid round on the fifth day. I think that’s the biggest thing is not making it into a bigger deal than it is.”

Topics: LPGA Qualifying Tournament, News and Notes

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