Nasa Hataoka Earns Card for 2018
This time last year, Nasa Hataoka finished T-14 at the 2016 LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to earn LPGA rookie status for the 2017 season. After an up-and-down first year on tour with only nine cuts in 17 starts, the Japanese native found herself back in Final Stage with hopes of improving her status for the 2018 season.
Hataoka, who capped off 2017 by earning medalist honors at this year’s Final Stage, said she was happy to finish at the top because the LPGA is one of the best leagues. She played consistent golf throughout the week and was the one in the 165-player field to post subpar rounds on all five days. Hataoka finished 12-under par, one ahead of Tiffany Chan of Hong Kong.
Topping the field at Final Stage earns Hataoka full playing status in 2018 on the LPGA Tour.
First Time Flags
Two new flags will wave next year on the LPGA Tour. Tiffany Chan of Hong Kong and Maria Torres of Puerto Rico became the first players from both locales to earn LPGA Cards for the 2018 season.
With Chan’s runner-up finish in Final Stage, she becomes the first player to represent Hong Kong on the LPGA Tour.
Chan graduated in June from USC with a degree in Communications and then joined the Symetra Tour midway through the 2017 season. In thirteen starts, Chan recorded four top 10s including a season-best runner-up finish at the Decatur-Forsyth Classic.
Chan also represented Hong Kong at the 2016 Rio Olympics where she finished 37th in the 60-player field.
Torres secured the 20th card for 2018 after winning a three-hole playoff on the Hills Course at Final Stage to become the first native-born Puerto Rican to play on the LPGA Tour.
The recent University of Florida graduate entered Final Stage the No. 16 ranked amateur in the world (World Amateur Golf Rankings). Torres played Final Stage as an amateur but declared her intention to become a professional before the start of the playoff on Sunday.
While playing college golf, Torres was named a 2016-17 WGCA First-Team All American, 2015-16 Honorable Mention All American, was the 2016 SEC Golfer of the Year and was the 2016 Individual SEC Champion.
New Faces on Tour in 2018
Twenty-three individuals earned LPGA membership for the 2018 season during the Final Stage of Q-School this past weekend at LPGA International. Nine of those 23 rookies earned full playing status by finishing in the top-20 at Q-School. After putting in countless hours of practice and grinding through five rounds of competition, the journey begins for the newest members of the of 2018 LPGA rookie class.
Category 12: Full Playing Status (9)
- Tiffany Chan (Gong Kong, Hong Kong)
- Rebecca Artis (Coonabarabran, Australia)
- Luna Sobron Galmes (Palma De Mallorca, Spain)
- Robynn Ree (Redondo Beach, California)
- Lauren Coughlin (Charlottesville, Virginia)
- Georgia Hall (Wimborne, England)
- Kassidy Teare (San Diego, California)
- Gemma Dryburgh (Aberdeen Scotland)
- Maria Torres (San Juan, Puerto Rico)
Category 17: Conditional Playing Status (13)
- Leticia Ras-Anderica (Konstanz, Germany)
- Maddie McCrary (Wylie, Texas)
- Samantha Troyanovich (Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan)
- Brittany Marchand (Orangeville, Ontario)
- Jennifer Hahn (Henderson, Nevada)
- Martina Edberg (Glumslov, Sweden)
- Alexandra Newell (Tampa, Florida)
- Lori Beth Adams (Burlington, North Carolina)
- Camilla Lennarth (Stockholm, Sweden)
- Harang Lee (Bilbao, Spain)
- Allison Emrey (Charlotte, North Carolina)
- Katelyn Sepmoree (Tyler, Texas)
- Mind Muangkhumsakul (Khonkaen, Thailand)