LPGA Qualifying Tournament-Stage II First-Round News and Notes

LPGA Qualifying Tournament, Stage II
Plantation Golf and Country Club
Panther and Bobcat courses
Venice, Fla.
First Round News & Notes
Sept. 27, 2011

Llaneza, Yun Tied For Lead After First Round Of LPGA Stage II Qualifying

VENICE, Fla., Sept. 27, 2011 – Amateur Alejandra Llaneza of Mexico City, Mexico and Hannah Yun of Bradenton, Fla., share the lead at 4-under 68 after today’s first round of the LPGA’s Stage II Qualifying tournament.

The University of Arizona senior took the lead in the morning tee times, while Yun, a third-year pro and former Florida Gator, moved into a share of the lead in the afternoon. Both contestants played on the Panther Course at Plantation Golf and Country Club.

“I had some nerves in the beginning, but I tried to keep the goal that I had – to play one shot at a time – and the birdies started dropping,” said Llaneza, 23, a five-time national champion in Mexico who will graduate from Arizona in December.

Llaneza carded six birdies and two bogeys in today’s round, with balanced scoring of 2-under 34 on each of the nine holes. Her first nine, however, required some scrambling. She sandwiched a five-foot birdie on No. 2 between a pair of scrambling par saves on holes 1 and 3 to start her day.

Then on the soggy back nine, her tee shot embedded in the fairway of the 12th hole, and her third shot landed in casual water. Fortunately, Llaneza was able to get relief for both. The golf courses received three inches of rain within the last week, forcing tournament officials to allow contestants to play preferred lies in this week’s event.

Yun also recorded six birdies and two bogeys in her round, with a string of four consecutive birdies on holes 10 through 13. Yun, whose family just packed up their home in nearby Bradenton four days ago for a move back to Southern California, credited solid putting in today’s performance.

“I went back to my old coach in San Diego [Kip Puterbaugh] and I had a couple of putting lessons with Dave Stockton,” said Yun, 19, who had three top-10 finishes on the LPGA Futures Tour this year. “This week, I’m trying to simplify everything and trim my putting routine to four seconds or less. Basically, I just hit the putt before I can think about it.”

Thirteen players are tied at one shot off the lead at 3-under 69, including former Purdue University teammates Maude-Aimee Leblanc of Sherbrooke, Canada, and Junthima (“Numa”) Gulyanamitta of Rayong, Thailand, who were members of the 2010 NCAA Division I Women’s Golf Championship team.

A total of 13 players are tied at 2-under 70, including Mitsuki Katahira of Kawasaki City, Japan. Katahira is the former No. 1 player in the Women’s World Amateur Rankings, who finished second in the Stage I LPGA Qualifying Tournament this summer in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Forty-four players are under par after the first round and 57 players are at even-par 72 or better in the LPGA’s second stage of qualifying.

Wednesday’s second round of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament Stage II will begin at 7:45 a.m., off the first and tenth tees of both the Bobcat and Panther courses at Plantation Golf and Country Club.

The event is the second of the three-part annual qualifying tournament held to determine 2012 membership on both the LPGA and LPGA Futures Tour. This year marks the first time the two tours will run joint Q-schools and the first time all of the qualifying events will be staged in the state of Florida.

The qualifying tournament returns to Plantation Golf and Country Club, which has hosted a stage of LPGA Qualifying for the last 23 years. This week’s LPGA Stage II Qualifying Tournament will be contested over 72 holes with no 36-hole cut. The top 70 and ties from Stage II will advance into the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament (Stage III). All other players will receive 2012 LPGA Futures Tour status.

The LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament (Stage III) will be contested over 90 holes and will be held Nov. 30 through Dec. 4, on both the Champions and Legends courses at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla. Top finishers in the final stage will earn 2012 LPGA membership (total number of cards TBD) and all others who make the cut will receive membership on the LPGA Futures Tour.

Hunt Gets Hole-In-One: Second-year pro Lauren Hunt of Little River, S.C., scored a hole-in-one today in the first round of the LPGA Stage II Qualifying Tournament. Playing on the Bobcat course at Plantation Golf and Country Club, Hunt’s knock-down 7-iron tee shot flew straight into the cup on the par-three 138-yard sixth hole. It was her fourth ace and her first in competition. “It was also the only one I actually saw go in the hole,” said Hunt.

Cheering For A Friend At The Solheim Cup: Nicole Smith of Riverside, Calif., was working hard last week to prepare for this week’s Stage II LPGA Qualifying Tournament. But she also had an eye on the Solheim Cup telecast. Smith was especially interested in this year’s Solheim Cup because longtime Southern California pal Ryann O’Toole was on the U.S. team. The two have played golf against each other since their teens and most recently, on the LPGA Futures Tour, where O’Toole has won three times.

“I’m incredibly proud of her because it’s a real honor to represent your country like that,” said Smith. “Maybe it’s because we grew up playing together, but I felt like I was right there with her. When it’s that close to home, it also helps me believe that making the Solheim Cup team is possible. I hope in two years, we will be playing together on the same U.S. team.”

If Only We Could Share The Rain With Texas: Rookie professional Janine Fellows of Houston, Texas was stepping carefully Monday in the standing water on the cart paths of Plantation Golf and Country Club as she prepared for today’s opening round of the LPGA Stage II Qualifying Tournament. The lanky first-year pro out of Tulane University shook her head at the abundance of rainwater in Florida and the lack of rain in her home state.

“When I went home to Houston, it was so dry, there were cracks in the golf course,” she said.

As it was with her fellow pros on the LPGA Futures Tour, Fellows endured storm delays and suspensions and even the shortening of two tournaments from 54 holes to 36 holes this season as rain seemed to follow the tour everywhere it went. The LPGA Tour also has dealt with storm delays this year and this week’s venue for Q-school received three inches of rain during the last week.

“I wish I could take all of this water to Texas,” said Fellows. “They really need it over there.”

 

A Running Of The Pros: Spain’s city of Pamplona is known throughout the world for its “running of the bulls” – that day of the year when death-defying humans dare to run through the city’s narrow streets with bulls hot on their heels. But in recent years, fans of women’s professional golf have learned that Pamplona is also famous for something other than bovine bravado.

Hailing from Pamplona are LPGA Tour professionals Maria Hernandez and Beatriz Recari. Hoping to join fellow Pamplonans on the LPGA Tour is also Carlota Ciganda, a first-team All-American at Arizona State University, a two-time Pac-10 Conference individual champion, and winner of the 2004 and 2008 European Ladies Championship. Ciganda is in the field this week at the LPGA’s Stage II Qualifying Tournament.

But has she ever considered entering the annual foot race with the famous bulls of Pamplona?

“I go to it just to watch, but not to run in it because it’s very dangerous,” laughed Ciganda, who finished second in her professional debut in June on the Ladies European Tour at the Tenerife Ladies Match Play in Spain.

For scores and more information, visit LPGA.com.

Weather: Partly sunny, turning into heavy rain showers with temperatures in the high-80s, returning to bright sunshine and temperatures in the low 90s. Wind between 5-10 mph, reaching 15 mph in the afternoon.

Contact: Lisa D. Mickey, (386) 214-9726 and at lisa.mickey@lpga.com .

Topics: News and Notes

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