DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Oct. 30, 2009 - The Duramed FUTURES Tour will kick off its 11th annual qualifying tournament on Monday, Nov. 2. A field of 292 players from 40 nations and 36 U.S. states will converge on Central Florida for the annual Q-School, which will be contested in five rounds on four different courses Monday through Friday next week.
The qualifying event will be staged on four courses in Polk County, Fla. They are: The Golf Club at Bridgewater in Lakeland, Fla.; Huntington Hills Golf & Country Club in Lakeland, Fla.; Lake Region Yacht & Country Club in Winter Haven, Fla.; and Ridgewood Lakes Golf & Country Club in Davenport, Fla. All four courses are located just off the I-4 corridor linking Orlando to Tampa.
Contestants will compete in an effort to gain or retain status for the Tour's 2010 season, playing one round at each of the four courses before a 72-hole cut is made. Players making the tournament cut will play the final round on Friday at Lake Region Yacht & Country Club.
Among the field at this year's Q-School will be Duramed FUTURES Tour rookie Tiffany Joh of San Diego, who has also advanced into the LPGA's Final Qualifying Tournament in early December. Joh has spent the last week playing practice rounds at the four sites in preparation for the event.
"This is definitely a good opportunity to play under pressure and I haven't played competitively since the LPGA sectional tournament," said Joh, 22, an All-American at UCLA who joined the Duramed FUTURES Tour earlier this summer. "This event is competitive and I want to play well."
Having played eight tournaments as a professional this summer, the two-time winner of the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links Championship said even her limited professional experience will be valuable.
"Playing on this tour this summer taught me how to scramble," said Joh, who was also a member of the 2008 U.S. Curtis Cup team. "Just being out there and playing a lot of golf gives you confidence."
Another young professional, Mallory Blackwelder of Versailles, Ky., also will play in the Duramed FUTURES Tour Q-School as she prepares for the LPGA's Final Q-School. Like Joh, she advanced from the sectionals into the LPGA's final stage of qualifying. And as an added confidence boost, she won a Florida mini-tour tournament a few weeks ago at Lake Region, where the final round of this Q-School will be held.
"It's good to stay competitive and this is a good warm-up for the [LPGA's] final stage," said Blackwelder, 22, daughter of University of Kentucky women's golf coach Myra Blackwelder and LPGA Tour caddie Worth Blackwelder, who works for LPGA Tour veteran Juli Inkster. "I grew up on the LPGA Tour because my mom played there and my dad's still out there. I've always known this is what I wanted to do. I'm excited."
And while Blackwelder has completed her collegiate eligibility at the University of Kentucky, current collegian Laura Kueny of Whitehall, Mich., will be competing in the field as an amateur, hoping to earn status on the Duramed FUTURES Tour for a place to play as a professional next spring as soon as the 2010 NCAA Women's Golf Championship has concluded. The Michigan State University senior is likely to follow such fellow Spartans as Allison Fouch and Emily Bastel, who also launched their respective professional careers on the LPGA's developmental tour.
"I'm pretty nervous and excited at the same time," said Kueny, 21, who played on an amateur exemption at this year's Duramed Championship in Mason, Ohio. "Playing in that [Duramed FUTURES Tour] tournament this summer made me realize that I can play with these girls. I've had a great fall season at school with a couple of runner-up finishes, so if everything goes as it's been going, I think I'll have a good shot at qualifying."
Rookie professional Caroline Westrup of Attus, Sweden, also will be in the field after four All-American seasons at Florida State University, where she won five college tournaments. Westrup was a member of the winning 2006 Women's World Amateur Team Championship for Sweden.
Other tournament contestants of special mention include Spaniard Azahara Munoz, who was the 2008 individual NCAA champion and 2008 U.S. Women's Amateur Championship runner-up. Munoz, 21, teamed with current LPGA Tour rookie Anna Nordqvist at Arizona State University, helping the Sun Devils win the 2009 NCAA Women's Golf Championship.
And in her professional debut in early October, Munoz went head to head against Nordqvist at the Ladies European Tour's Madrid Ladies Masters. Munoz claimed that victory against her former college teammate. Like many other players in the field, Munoz also has advanced into the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament and is using the Duramed FUTURES Tour's 90-hole qualifier as a competitive tune-up for the LPGA's final stage.
Top amateurs of note are: Jane Rah of Torrance, Calif., 18, a three-time U.S. Junior Solheim Cup Team member and a freshman at Oklahoma State University; Jenny Shin of Torrance, Calif., 16, winner of the 2006 U.S. Girls' Junior Championship; and Sarah N. Brown of Lopatcong, N.J., 17, a First-Team AJGA Rolex All-American and member of the 2009 U.S. Junior Solheim Cup team.
Professional Mariajo Uribe, 19, of Bucaramanga, Colombia, a rookie pro in 2009, also will be in the field. Uribe played collegiately at UCLA, was the 2007 U.S. Women's Amateur champion, and finished tied for 10th as an amateur at the 2008 U.S. Women's Open Championship.
Former Duramed FUTURES Tour tournament winner Salimah Mussani of Burlington, Ontario, will return to the Tour's Q-School in an effort to regain playing status. Mussani, 30, has most recently served as the assistant women's golf coach at her alma mater, Stanford University.
Two players who previously earned LPGA Tour membership through the urame FUTURES Tour are former Arizona State University collegian Miriam Nagl, 28, of Berlin, Germany, and former Duke University individual NCAA champion, Virada (Oui) Nirapathpongporn, 27, of Bangkok, Thailand. Both players are two-time FUTURES winners.
Of note, six nations not typically represented in the field will be Costa Rica, Egypt, Estonia, Indonesia, Kenya and American Samoa. Behind the United States, Canada boasts the most players with 18, followed by South Korea with 15, Australia with six, and Thailand and Mexico, each with five players. Of contestants from the U.S., Florida once again has the most players with 35, followed by California with 25, and Texas with 12 players.
For more information during tournament week, please visit duramedfuturestour.com.
Topics: Press Release