LPGA Final Qualifying Tournamen
LPGA International, Legends and Champions Course
Daytona Beach, Fla.
Dec. 7, 2009
Blumenherst earns medalist honors at LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Dec. 7, 2009 – Amanda Blumenherst started the final round tied for second and was able to close out the 2009 LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament with medalist honors at 9-under-par 351 (72-71-73-67-68). For the 2010 LPGA Tour season, Blumenherst will fall under Priority List Category 11.
Blumenherst, a three-time NCAA Player of the Year (2006-08) out of Duke University and the winner of 12 collegiate tournaments, recorded a bogey-free, four-birdie final round on the Champions Course to secure her the victory this week. The 23-year-old feels relieved to be done with such a long week of golf.
“Of course coming to q-school is extremely nerve-racking,” said Blumenherst. “It's kind of a one shot deal for the whole year. I was confident in my game, but still, you never know what can happen. Golf is a funny game. Coming into the last few days I was very confident in how I was playing. I just stayed in the fairway and got onto the greens and my putts were close. It was a winning combination.”
A four-time American Junior Golf Association (ALGA) Rolex All-American with 14 victories, Blumenherst had quite a successful amateur background. She was the U.S. Women's Amateur champion in 2008 and runner-up in 2007, a member of the U.S. Curtis Cup Team in 2006 and 2008, and part of the U.S. World Amateur Team Championship in 2006 and 2008 as well.
Katie Kempter, who played her collegiate golf at the University of Denver, finished tied for second at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament, along with Marianne Skarpnord of Norway, and they will each have Priority List Category 11 for the 2010 LPGA Tour season. Kempter recorded a 4-under-par 68 in her final round on the Champions Course at LPGA International, for an overall mark of 7-under-par 353 (70-69-73-73-68).
“I don't think it has settled yet,” said Kempter. “I could go play another 20 holes of golf right now. I had so much fun this whole week, even with the rain delays and everything. I got lucky enough. So, just the whole week, you know, I had a blast. My whole goal this week was to come out and win and lets enjoy the experience, because you never know if you're going to get this chance again.”
Playing in the final group with Blumenherst, and with Kempter in a tie for second place was Skarpnord (76-66-70-70-71). The Norwegian finished with a steady 1-under-par 71 in the final round, recording two birdies on holes seven and 18 and a bogey on 15. The Ladies European Tour (LET) member is a two-time winner overseas, winning this year's Deutsche Bank Ladies Open and the Carta Ladies Italian Open. Overall in her time on the LET, she has played in 60 tournaments, won twice, finished in the top-10 14 times, and carded a career-low 66 on four different occasions.
To determine the final two spots for Priority List Category 11, a three-hole playoff among two players, Texan Christi Cano and Il Hee Lee of South Korea, took place after regulation. Holes nine, 10 and 18 were played with the cumulative scores used. Cano made par all three holes, while Lee made par on nine and 10, before birdying 18 to secure her status for 2010.
This week's 90-hole qualifier got underway Wednesday with round one and Thursday with round two, then the rains came early Friday morning just in time for round three. On Friday, third-round play was suspended at 10:20 a.m. due to unplayable course conditions caused by inclement weather, and play was scheduled to resume first thing Saturday morning. Unfortunately Mother Nature had other plans. With more heavy rains in the forecast overnight and Saturday morning, the decision was made to cancel play on Saturday, so no golf was played. Sunday's weather, despite a chill in the air, worked out fine and allowed the rest of round three and all of round four to be played. The final, decisive round was played in full on Monday, and granted the top finishers status for the 2010 LPGA Tour season.
The 90-hole qualifier was played on both the Legends and Champions courses at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla. The 105-player field had a chance to tackle both the Champions and Legends courses for two rounds each then the field was cut to the low-70 and ties after the fourth round. The Champions course was used for the final round.
Q. How was it this week at q-school?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: Of course coming into q-school is extremely nerve-racking. It's kind of a one shot deal for the whole deal. I was confident in my game, but still, you never know what can happen. Golf is a funny game. Coming into the last few days I was very confident in how I was playing. I just stayed in the fairway and got onto the greens and my putts were close. It was a winning combination.
Q. What was your mindset today?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: It was. I was hitting the ball so well the last few days that I had this great confidence in my game, and I was just very focused. I just stayed focus the whole time.
Q. Did you feel pressure?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: I did feel pressure from myself and media and even my peers and sponsors, but that's just a part of it. It's part of playing a professional sport and having to deal with it and the energy. That is what makes a great athlete.
Q. Did you have any bogeys?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: I didn't have any bogeys, bogey-free. I birdied 17 and 18, both about the same length, about five feet. I had four birdies. I birdied 10. That was the longest of my birdies, probably about 15 feet. Then I birdied the par-5 on the front. That one was probably about 10 feet off the fringe.
Q. What was the strength of your game this week? What got you here?
AMANDA BLUMENHERST: My irons. My driver I hit really well today and it really didn't get me in very much trouble, but my irons were just like radar. They were just flying right at the pin. Today my short game really picked up the slack.
Q. Well, congratulations on a long week of nice golf. Talk about how it feels to be done and to have played so well.
KATIE KEMPTER: I don't think it has settled yet. I could go play another 20 holes of golf right now. I had so much fun this whole week, even the rain delays and everything. I got lucky enough. My swing coach was on the bag with me this week until yesterday when he went to Mexico this morning. So my dad jumped on my bag. When we were on the rain delay on Saturday, my caddy went up 50 minutes north and played nine holes of golf. Anytime I can play with him, which is a lot when I'm home, I get a little bit more confidence, even when he kicks my butt. So, just the whole week, you know, I had a blast. My whole goal this week was to come out and win and lets enjoy the experience, because you never know if you're going to get this chance again.
Q. This is your first time at qualifying school. Has it sunk in yet that you will be playing on the LPGA Tour next season?
KATIE KEMPTER: I don't know. I don't think it had sunk in quite yet. It has been a dream and a goal since I picked a club competitively. To actually think it is going to happen, I don't think it has hit me yet.