Daytona Beach, Florida
December 12, 2010
Song Medals, Korda Turns Pro At LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Dec. 12, 2010 – Aree Song emerged today as the medalist in this year’s LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament on the Champions Course at LPGA International.
With consistent wind and gusts up to 30 mph, along with rain and raw temperatures in the mid-50s, the 24-year-old pro gutted out a one-over final-round score of 73 to win by two shots at 6-under 354. It was the best showing by Song since her runner-up finish at the 2004 Kraft Nabisco Championship, and the beginning of what she hopes will be a career rebound following a 2009 shoulder injury.
“Any time you enter a competition and come out on top, you feel pretty good,” said Song, of Seoul, South Korea, who makes her home in Orlando, Fla. “[With this weather], I couldn’t hit it as close as the I did in the last four days, but I still hit it well.”
Song recorded two birdies and three bogeys in the final round of the 90-hole marathon called Q-school. And it was Song, herself once a 17-year-old rising teen star on the LPGA Tour, who outpaced amateur Jessica Korda today. Korda struggled in the harsh weather elements, carding a 5-over 77 to finish second at 4-under 356.
“It was a tough, tough day because it was really windy, and I lost my balance about 20 times,” said Korda of Bradenton, Fla., who held the overnight lead heading into today’s final round. “But this is a dream come true.
“I knew I always wanted to turn pro, but I never thought I’d do it this year,” added Korda, a 2010 U.S. Curtis Cup team member and the runner-up in this year’s U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship. “I’ve had a really good year and I’m so glad I get to finish it out here, turning pro at LPGA Q-school.”
A Florida high school senior and daughter of former world-ranked, Australian Open tennis champion Petr Korda of the Czech Republic, the teen played as an amateur this week. When she completed her final round today, an LPGA rules official met her in the scoring tent, asked if she intended to turn professional, and the answer was a simple, “Yes.”
Walking out of the tent, the young Korda was greeted by her family, as well as by former tennis Grand Slam champion Ivan Lendl and three of his golf-playing daughters who grew up on the links in Florida with Korda.
Jimin Jeong of South Korea carded a final-round score of one-under 71 today to make a move up the leaderboard. The third-year LPGA Tour member and three-time winner on the LPGA Futures Tour moved from a tie for 11th into third place at 3-under 357.
Fifth-year LPGA Futures Tour member Dana Ford Bordner of Indianapolis carded the day’s best round with 4-under 68 to jump from a tie for 27th into a tie for fourth at 2-under 358 for five rounds. Joining her in a tie for fourth were Dewi Claire Schreefel (74) of The Netherlands and Pornanong Phatlum (74) of Thailand.
The five-round qualifier was cut to the low 70 players and ties on Saturday with the cut field returned to the Champions Course for today’s final round.
A field of 120 players began this week’s event, hoping to either earn membership or improve their current member status for the 2011 LPGA Tour. Sectional qualifiers, along with current LPGA Tour members attempting to improve their status for 2011, comprised the starting field. In addition, players finishing Nos. 6-10, and the next top 10 players on the 2010 LPGA Futures Tour money list (who do not already have LPGA status), also joined the field this week.
The top 20 players at the conclusion of the tournament will earn Priority in Category 11. Players finishing in the 21st-30th spots will earn Priority in Category 16, followed by 31st-40th, who will receive Priority in Category 20.
All players finishing in LPGA Priority Categories 1-14 are eligible for entry into full-field events (144 players) based on player tournament commitments. Players in categories 15-20 have access to LPGA Monday qualifying tournaments and possible entry into full-field events.
Category 16 is comprised of players finishing Nos. 21-30 from LPGA Final Q-School. Category 19 is comprised of players finishing Nos. 31-40 from LPGA Final Q-School.
For scores and stories from throughout the week, visit LPGA.com.