This year's Duramed FUTURES Tour graduates are, in order of finish: 1. Mina Harigae of Monterey, Calif.; 2. Jean Reynolds of Newnan, Ga.; 3. Misun Cho of Cheongju, South Korea; 4. Samantha Richdale of Kelowna, British Columbia; 5. Song Yi Choi of Seoul, South Korea; 6. Whitney Wade of Glasgow, Ky; 7. Angela Buzminski of Oshawa, Ontario; 8. Christine Song of Fullerton, Calif.; 9. Alison Walshe of Westford, Mass.; and 10. Dewi Claire Schreefel of Diepenveen, Netherlands.
The 2009 season is the eleventh year in the 29-year history of the Duramed FUTURES Tour that players have been able to earn automatic exemptions onto the LPGA Tour and the seventh year that at least five LPGA memberships have been awarded. From 1999 to 2002, three exemptions were offered to top money winners. The 2009 season marks the second time 10 LPGA memberships were awarded.
Also today, the next five players on the Tour's money list, excluding current LPGA members, earned automatic entry into the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla., set for Nov. 2-6. Those players, in order of finish, are as follows: Pernilla Lindberg of Bollnas, Sweden; Gerina Mendoza of Roswell, N.M.; Danah Ford of Indianapolis; Lisa Meldrum of Montreal, Quebec; Jenny Suh of Fairfax, Va.; and Liz Janangelo of West Hartford, Conn.
"My whole goal this year was to make top five and to get into the LPGA," said Harigae, 19, who finished on top of the Tour's season money list with single-season earnings of $88,386, and a rookie year that included three tournament wins. "But to come in first, it's just the icing on the cake. It's great."
Second-year Tour veteran Reynolds won two times this season and finished second on the Tour's money list with earnings of $76,647.
"It's awesome," said Reynolds. "I've been looking forward to this. It still hasn't sunk in yet. It will probably [sink in] around Christmas when I haven't had to go to Qualifying School. I'm looking forward to next year. It's going to be a fun journey.
Cho also was a two-time winner this season. She finished the season ranked third in earnings at $64,118. She looks forward to next year's LPGA season, when she'll play against several fellow South Koreans.
"It makes me comfortable that there are so many Korean players out there," said Cho. "I can relate to them. I'm just going to enjoy myself next year and just keep working hard."
Richdale's second win of the season at the Turkey Hill Classic in Harrisburg, Pa., sealed the Canadian's spot in the top 5. She finished in the No. 4 spot on the money list with earnings of $59,292.
"I definitely felt I need to make a big move towards the end," said Richdale. "The win in Harrisburg was huge for me. I was able to come out this week and just have fun."
Rounding out the top five with earnings of $42,939 was Choi. She started out the week ranked 11th on the season money list but her win at this week's ILOVENY Championship and her $15,400 winner's check vaulted her up the money list into the No. 5 spot.
"It's a very good feeling," said Choi of her first professional win. "I came into this week knowing I had to win and move up. I can't wait for next year."