LPGA Qualifying School Stage I
Mission Hills Country Club
Rancho Mirage, Calif.
August 7, 2015
Round 2 News and Notes
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RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (August 7, 2015) – Megan Khang and Bertine Strauss have been on fire this week at Mission Hills Country Club during Stage I of LPGA Qualifying School. Their two-day total of 10-under par 134, puts them both at the top of the leaderboard.
“I had nine birdies today and two bogeys. I hit a lot of great approach shots out there today and was able to capitalize on them,” said 17-year old amateur Khang.
Khang is also in the field next week at Symetra Tour’s W.B. Mason Championship in Brockton, Massachussetts.
“I’m definitely excited to play. It’s my home course and I know a lot of members there and they are always saying good luck to me. It’s a good kind of pressure, because people expect you to do well and that’s flattering.”
Strauss has been steady this week thus far with a pair of 67’s and is right there with Khang.
“Today was a pretty solid round,” said Strauss. “I was hitting it really well, I had a couple shaky holes on my back nine, which is the front nine on Dinah Shore, but I was giving myself a lot of chances and make a few putts. Before I knew it I was looking at my scorecards and was like, ‘Wow, I’m 5 under!’”
Spanish amateur, Noemi Jimenez, has been consistent and is in the hunt at Stage I with a score of 9-under 135 (68 – 67). She has played 36 consecutive holes without a bogey on her scorecard.
“Today was pretty much the same as yesterday. I really play solid with my long game and I putted even better. No bogeys today at all and I didn’t have any bogeys yesterday,” said Jimenez.
Although Jimenez is near the top of the leaderboard, she is not afraid of the pressure.
“I play my best golf when I am under pressure and when I know there is a lot to do. It’s not done yet, still two more rounds and anything can happen. I try to keep myself in the present.”
Michelle Koh is not far behind Jimenez after shooting a 4-under par 68 today.
“I had four birdies, no bogeys, so the Palmer Course was very generous. I made a lot of putts out there and I am very happy,” said Koh.
Her putting has been the key to shooting 69-68 for a 137 total.
“I wish I hit more greens, because I actually saved a lot of long par putts. I am going to keep the same strategy, try to hit as many fairways as I can, give myself opportunities and hopefully a lot of putts will fall in.”
SPANISH AMATEUR DUO: Two Spanish amateurs, Noemi Jimenez and Nurria Iturrios, are both under par after two days at Stage I of LPGA Qualifying School. Jimenez sits at 3rd at 9-under par and Iturrios is currently T7 at 3-under par.
The two met about seven years ago in Spain and both compete on the Spanish National Team together. They are even roommates this week in Rancho Mirage.
“The Spanish National Team takes us to every tournament, they help us and it’s so nice to have them. We couldn’t travel to a lot of the tournaments without them and we get a lot of experience when traveling and that’s really to be appreciated of,” said Jimenez.
Iturrios is currently the 8th ranked amateur in the world and studying in Spain, while Jimenez recently graduated from Arizona State University. Both attribute much of their success to having trained with the Spanish National Team.
ONE BAD SWING FOR LOPEZ: Mexico’s Gaby Lopez had a solid round going today and was 3-under par heading into her last hole on the Dinah Shore Course. She ended up finishing with a 1-under par 71 after chunking a wedge in the water. Her two-day total of 140 still puts her in prime position at Mission Hills Country Club.
“I started off pretty solid, hitting a lot of fairways and greens. I made three birdies on the back, which was my front nine, and then coming to the back nine it was more challenging off the tee with ball placement,” said Lopez.
Despite a double-bogey on her 18th hole, she still feels confident heading into the final two rounds of Qualifying School.
“Unluckily, I doubled the last hole. I had a bad swing with a wedge and it went in the water, but overall I think I feel pretty solid and comfortable with my game. I know I am going to make mistakes. I made one mistake today and it was at the end of the round. At the end of the day it’s a putting contest and going to come down to whoever hits the most solid putts.”
MELISSA YEAZELL HAS HOLE-IN-ONE: Melissa Yeazell had her sixth hole-in-one today on the 154 yard, 11th hole on the Palmer Course at Mission Hills Country Club.
“6 iron, it felt good in the air, and then it just dropped!” said Yeazell.
The Cincinnati native is playing in her fourth LPGA Qualifying School this week. She is also a teaching professional and runs her own golf academy back home.
TOP-60 AND TIES ADVANCE TO STAGE II: After two days at Mission Hills Country Club, the current line is at 3-over par 147. The top-60 and ties after four rounds advance from Stage I to Stage II at Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice, Fla. on October 22-25.