Daytona Beach, Florida
December 11, 2010
Amateur Korda Takes Lead Into Final Round Of LPGA Final Q-School
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Dec. 11, 2010 – Superteen Jessica Korda has moved one step closer to becoming only the second amateur to medal at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament. Korda grabbed the outright lead in today’s fourth round with a score of 3-under 69 to take a two-shot cushion into Sunday’s final round at 9-under 279.
She leads Aree Song of Seoul, South Korea, who carded a one-under 71 today to move into second at 7-under 281. Song is one shot ahead of third-round leader Libby Smith (73) of Essex Junction, Vt., in third at 6-under 282.
“My iron shots today weren’t as tight as yesterday, but you just have to keep moving forward,” said Korda, 17, of Bradenton, Fla., who played on the Champions Course today. “Tomorrow’s a brand new day and this is a matter of who makes the least mistakes.”
The teen birdied her first two holes and tallied five birdies and two bogeys in today’s round. She put the punctuation mark on her day with an eight-foot eagle chance on the 18th green, but settled for birdie when her putt slid by the hole.
Korda has chased her way up the leaderboard all week at the annual LPGA Q-school, staged at
LPGA International on both the Legends and Champions courses. And the 2010 U.S. Women’s Amateur runner-up came into the week hoping to repeat the path taken by Paula Creamer in 2004, when Creamer became the first amateur to win LPGA Q-School.
In a round that was delayed by one hour for fog, the teen went toe to toe with Song, who also was once a 17-year-old David Leadbetter Golf Academy prodigy lobbying for early LPGA membership. Song received special permission by the LPGA Commissioner in 2003 to join the LPGA at age 17, and was followed by then-17-year-old Morgan Pressel in 2005.
“We’ve known each other for a long time and she was shorter than me when I first met her,” quipped Song, now 24, of Korda, who is a few inches shy of six feet tall.
Song actually took the lead at one point in today’s round, carding three birdies and two bogeys on the Champions Course in the same pairing with Korda. She looked more like the player who was the runner-up at the 2004 Kraft Nabisco Championship than the one who has struggled with injuries and illnesses for the last three years on the LPGA Tour.
“I played pretty well and hit the ball the best of all the rounds I’ve played this week,” said Song. “I’m excited about tomorrow and what it could mean for next year.”
Reilley Rankin (70) of Hilton Head Island, S.C., and Jin Young Pak (71) of Seoul, South Korea are tied for fourth at 5-under 283.
Dewi Claire Schreefel (69) of Diepenveen, Netherlands and Pornanong Phatlum (70) of Chaiyaphum, Thailand are at 4-under 284, in a tie for sixth.
A total of 19 players are under par after the fourth round, with a total of 24 players at even-par 288 or better.
Seventy-three players made the 72-hole cut of 297 at 9-over par. The five-round qualifier was cut today to the low 70 players and ties.
Those players making the cut will compete in Sunday’s final round on the Champions Course only, starting at 7:45 a.m., off the first and 10th tees. The leaders will go off the first tee at 9:57 a.m.
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 finishers will earn Category 11 status on the priority list. Players finishing Nos. 21-30 will earn Category 16, and Nos. 31-40 will earn Category 19.
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. Daily wrap stories from the Florida sectional will be posted on both LPGA.com and lpgafuturestour.com.
Whitaker Scores Ace In Fourth Round
Former Duke University collegian Alison Whitaker of Melbourne, Australia kicked off her fourth round this morning with a hole-in-one on the third hole of the Legends Course at LPGA International. Whitaker choked down on an 8-iron to ace the 125-yard hole. It was her career first hole-in-one.
Averyhardt Ties Career-Low Round
Rookie professional Shasta Averyhardt of Flint, Mich., picked a good time to tie her career-low round of 5-under 67. The 2010 LPGA Futures Tour pro fired up her putter in today’s fourth round of LPGA Final Q-school and leapfrogged from a tie for 25th into a tie for eighth at 3-under 285.
The Michigan pro had birdie chances on her first three holes today on the Legends Course from five feet, 10 feet and three feet, respectively, but her first birdie finally dropped when she hit a wedge to six feet and converted the one-putt effort on the fourth hole.
“After that, I told my caddie I have this feeling I’m going to go low today,” said Averyhardt, who would become only the fourth African-American to earn full LPGA Tour status if she can remain among the top 20 in Sunday’s final round.
Regarded as a long hitter, the 6-foot-1 player recorded her final birdie on the 18th hole of the Legends course when she laced a 7-iron from 155 yards to four feet and drained the putt. Her scorecard contained six birdies and one bogey in a round that pushed Averyhardt closer to following in the footsteps of former LPGA Tour African-American pros Althea Gibson, Renee Powell and LaRee Sugg.
“It was a good day and tomorrow, I’m going to have to keep that same mindset,” said Averyhardt, a nine-time college winner at Jackson State University. “I’m still fighting, still crawling up the leaderboard.”
Schreefel, Boeljon Are Dutch Treat At Q-School
They are both longtime members of the Dutch National Team and both made names for themselves stateside in women’s college golf.
Now a member of the LPGA, LPGA Futures Tour and Ladies European Tour, Dewi Claire Schreefel of Diepenveen, Netherlands, won the individual title at the 2006 NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship as a member of the University of Southern California women’s golf team. LET member Christel Boeljon of Beverwijk, Netherlands, was the individual runner-up at the 2007 NCAA Championship held on the Legends course at LPGA International as a member of the Purdue University women’s team.
Both players enter Sunday’s final round hoping to remain in the top 20 by day’s end. Schreefel is currently tied for sixth at 4-under 284, while Boeljon is tied for 20th at even-par 288.
Topics: Korda, Jessica