DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Dec. 2, 2011 – It was a scramble today, but Christine Song held on to the lead after three rounds of the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament.
Song carded her second consecutive round of 2-under 70 to build a five-shot lead of 10-under 206 at LPGA International. Playing on the Champions Course, Song carded five birdies and three bogeys in today’s heavy wind, but said it wasn’t always pretty.
“I was scrambling so much today,” said Song, 20, of Fullerton, Calif. “My shots weren’t very good and my chipping and putting were so-so, but I got it done.”
Song scraped out pars on three of her last four holes. On No. 15 on the Champions Course, her second shot flew 30 yards over the green and she chipped to 10 feet to save par. She nearly hit her drive into a water hazard on No. 16, but chipped to six feet to get up and down for par. And then on the par-three 17th hole, she chunked her tee shot, barely making it over a water hazard and chipped to one foot.
Third-year pro Jennie Lee of Henderson, Nev., moved into second place with a 3-under 69 in today’s round on the Champions Course. She holds a two-shot cushion at 5-under 211 over amateur Stephanie Kono of Honolulu, Hawaii, who struggled today with a 3-over 75 in the same pairing as Song and Lee. Kono dropped into a tie for third at 3-under 213 with Jacqui Concolino (71) of Orlando, Fla., who also played on the Champions Course.
“I putted really well today and my short game was good,” said Lee, 25, who was a member of the Duke University team that won the 2007 NCAA Women’s Golf Championship on the Legends Course at LPGA International. “I have some good memories here.”
Lee rolled in four birdies and had one bogey today, while Kono went the other way with six bogeys and three birdies.
“My ball striking just wasn’t very solid, so I need to go try to figure it out on the range,” said Kono, a senior at UCLA and a three-time first-team All-American for the Bruins. “Fortunately, there are two more rounds to go.”
As maybe the surprise player of the week, Concolino, who was a top player at Vanderbilt University, used her physical strength in today’s windy conditions. In the wind, the 5-foot-8 pro eagled the par-five 13th hole on the Champions Course with a driver and 3-wood from 235 yards to eight feet, making the putt.
“That was the shot of the day,” said Concolino, 24, who has caddied for the last 1 ½ years at the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando after suffering “burn-out” in golf. “I made a few really good putts.”
Former Purdue University standout Junthima (“Numa”) Gulyanamitta of Rayong, Thailand, posted a score of 2-under 70 to move from a tie for 12th to fifth at 2-under 214. The younger sister of former LPGA Tour member Russy Gulyanamitta, who is caddying this week, carded three birdies and one bogey today on the Legends Course to climb the leaderboard.
Thailand’s Thidapa (“Jasmine”) Suwannapura also made a move today on the Legends Course. She charged from a tie for 37th into a tie for sixth at even-par 216 with rounds of 68-80-68 to move alongside Paola Moreno (72) of Cali, Colombia, and Dori Carter (71) of Valdosta, Ga.
Seven players are tied for ninth at one-over 217, including Canadians Maude-Aimee Leblanc (71) of Sherbrooke, Canada, and Stephanie Sherlock (72) of Barrie, Ontario.
Five players are under par after three rounds, with eight players at even-par 216 or better.
The fourth round will begin Saturday at 9 a.m., on both the Legends and Champions courses.
The five-round qualifier will cut to the low 70 players and ties on Saturday after 72 holes. Sunday’s final round will begin at 7:30 a.m., off the first and 10th tees on the Champions course only.
A field of 139 players are in this week’s event, hoping to either earn membership or improve their current member status for the 2012 LPGA Tour. Sectional qualifiers, along with current LPGA Tour members attempting to improve their status for 2012, are in the field. In addition, players finishing Nos. 6-10, and the next top 10 players on the 2011 LPGA Futures Tour money list (who do not already have LPGA status), are also in the field.
Players finishing 1st through 40th, including ties, will receive 2012 LPGA membership, with the top 20 finishers earning full status for 2012.
To follow scores of these and other contestants throughout the week, visit LPGA.com.
Contact: Lisa D. Mickey, LPGA communications, 386-274-6216, or firstname.lastname@example.org