Two Share Lead After Second Round Of LPGA Sectional
VENICE, Fla., Sept. 29, 2010 – South African Lee-Anne Pace and Thai amateur Thidapa “Jasmine” Suwannapura share the lead after two rounds in this week’s LPGA Sectional Qualifying Tournament in Florida.
Playing on the Bobcat Course today at Plantation Golf & Country Club, Suwannapura, 17, of Bangkok, Thailand, carded her second consecutive round of 3-under 69, while Pace posted a 5-under 67 on the Panther Course to move into a tie for first at 6-under 138.
“My putting was really good today and I made some nice birdie putts,” said Pace, of Mosselbay, South Africa, who recorded six birdies and one bogey. “I’m very happy about my round today and I look forward to playing tomorrow.”
Pace, currently ranked second on the 2010 Ladies European Tour money list with three wins this season, played the front nine of the Panther Course today at one-under 35, but came alive on the back with four birdies for a 4-under 32. The former University of Tulsa collegian hit 15 greens in regulation, with most of her shots landing within 20 feet of the flagstick. That meant Pace was looking at birdies or pars all day.
“I didn’t have trouble anywhere really, so pars came easily,” she said.
Former LPGA Tour member Mollie Fankhauser of Columbus, Ohio, carded her second consecutive round of 2-under 70 to move into solo second at 4-under 140, while rookie pro Kimberly Kim (68) of Hilo, Hawaii and Duramed FUTURES Tour veteran Briana Vega (69) moved into a share of third at 3-under 141.
“It was solid today, just really steady,” said Fankhauser, an LPGA Tour member in 2008 and 2009, and a two-time winner on the Duramed FUTURES Tour. “I’ve plodded along every day and I’ve finally gotten back to giving myself birdie chances.”
Fankhauser carded four birdies and two bogeys today. The day’s highlight for Kim came when she scored a gutsy eagle-3 on the Bobcat’s par-5 fourth hole with a driver and 3-wood from 230 yards to set up her eagle putt from nearly 40 feet.
“After I made that eagle, I thought, ‘Hmmmmmm, interesting,’ especially since I had just bogeyed the hole before,” laughed Kim, 19, winner of the 2006 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship and a member of the 2008 and 2010 U.S. Curtis Cup teams.
Former two-time European Solheim Cup member Becky Brewerton (73) of Kinmel Bay, Wales, moved into a tie for sixth at 2-under 142 alongside Katy Harris (72) of Houston, Texas, and Plai Kongkraphan (70) of Thailand.
“It was a bit of a battle, but it’s more satisfying when you don’t strike the ball as well and still come in with a respectable score,” said Brewerton, 27, a member of the Ladies European Tour. “It’s all about being sensible and cutting out bad mistakes.”
Eleven players are under par after the second round, with a total of 13 players at even-par 144 or better in the 72-hole qualifier for the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament in December.
Seventy-four players made the 36-hole cut at 154 (+10).
This week’s event is being staged on both the Panther and Bobcat courses at The Plantation Golf & Country Club, host of the LPGA’s Florida sectional for 23 years. The two final rounds will be held only on the Bobcat Course.
The Florida sectional is the second of two sectional Q-Schools to determine the field of the LPGA’s Final Qualifying Tournament, set for Dec. 8-12, at LPGA International on the Champions and Legends courses in Daytona Beach, Fla.
The California sectional qualifier was held two weeks ago, advancing 30 players from that event into the LPGA’s final stage. Tournament fields at each of the 72-hole sectional qualifiers are cut to the low-70 players and ties after 36 holes. After four rounds, the top-30 players and ties from each sectional will advance into the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament.
The final stage of LPGA qualifying will be held Dec. 8-12, at LPGA International on the Champions and Legends courses in Daytona Beach, Fla. Sectional qualifiers will be joined at the final stage of “Q-school” by current LPGA Tour members attempting to improve their status for 2011, along with players finishing Nos. 6-10, and the next top 10 players on the 2010 Duramed FUTURES Tour money list (who do not already have LPGA status).
The LPGA’s Final Qualifying Tournament in Daytona Beach will be contested over 90 holes, with a cut made after 72 holes to the low 70 and ties.