DAYTONA BEACH, FLA, December 4, 2016 - Jaye Marie Green (Boca Raton, Florida) buried a 20-footer on the 90th hole to earn medalist honors at Final Stage of LPGA Qualifying Tournament with a five-day score of 13-under, 347. Green carded a 2-over, 74 on Sunday to win by one shot over Olafia Kristinsdottir (Reykjavik, Iceland) to earn full LPGA Tour status.
While three of the top four finishers are from the USA, a total of 13 different countries (USA, Iceland, Korea, Taiwan, Denmark, Canada, England, Spain, Israel, Sweden, Philippines, Japan and Thailand) are represented amongst the players that finished in the top 20 to earn Category 12 status on the LPGA Tour for 2017. Further, four teenagers finished in the top 20 (Nasa Hataoka, Maria Parra, Angel Yin and Ssu Chia Cheng).
Green, who also won Final Stage of LPGA Qualifying Tournament in 2013 with a record score of 29-under, is the first player since the event moved to Daytona Beach in 1991 to win Final Stage twice.
“I feel really good about it and the weeks leading up I wasn’t really that nervous which is weird,” said Green. “I was really laid back this week and I felt like I was picking up where I left off from three years ago.”
Green and Kristinsdottir were tied heading to the 18th hole and Green made a bet with her brother and caddy, Matt, in the fairway. The stakes were simple. If they made birdie and won, Jaye would pay Matt $1,000.
“I definitely wanted to win, I think that was a good goal for me,” said Green. “I did not play well so to have a putt to win was great. I felt like a kid on the putting green thinking about a putt to win and I got that oh my gosh feeling. When I saw it going dead center I was like ‘oh my gosh’ I did it and I had to fist pump when I never do. I think he is more excited about the $1,000 than the fact that I am going to the LPGA.”
Green, who finished 112th on the LPGA money list this year, said that this result will give her renewed confidence into 2017.
“I couldn’t really find the reason why I needed to go back to Q-School,” said Green about her lack of confidence. “I knew I had to play well to get my card and now I know that I can make a putt to win so there are a lot of positives to take away. Now I know I can play well under the gun. Going into next year, I have this experience to draw on.”
Kristinsdottir, who had the largest galleries all week of Icelanders, carded a 1-over, 73 to earn a spot on the LPGA.
“It is a relief being done with the round and I’m so happy and really happy to be Icelandic,” said Kristinsdottir. “There are so many people out here and this is so awesome, I can’t even describe it.”
Kristinsdottir played college golf at Wake Forest and was a rookie on the Ladies European Tour in 2016.
“Since I was a kid, I dreamed of reaching this level and now I have,” said Kristinsdottir, who will be the first player from Iceland on the LPGA. “It’s just incredible.”
When asked what Americans should know about golf in Iceland, Kristinsdottir talked about the Arctic Open, a famous tournament that starts at midnight in the summer.
“Everybody should come and play, it is awesome and really popular,” said Kristinsdottir. “We have like 65 golf courses in Iceland and were always ready for more tourists.”
Angel Yin (Arcadia, Calif.) and Sadena Parks (Scottsdale, Ariz.) finished in a tie for third at 11-under, 349. Jeong Eun Lee (Seoul, South Korea) finished fifth at 10-under, 350.
Pavarisa Yoktuan (Nakhonsrithammarat, Thailand) and Karen Chung (Livingston, N.J.) tied for 19th at 4-under, 356 to earn LPGA status. There was no playoff for the final spots in Category 12.
There will be 31 rookies on the LPGA Tour next year: Aditi Ashok, Brittany Benvenuto, Celine Boutier, Nicole Broch Larsen, Hannah Burke, Karen Chung, Jenny Coleman, Emily Collins, Daniela Darquea, Regan De Guzman, Justine Dreher, Allyssa Ferrell, Jennifer Ha, Nasa Hataoka, Caroline Inglis, Augusta James, Lauren Kim, Min-G Kim, Olafia Kristinsdottir, Bronte Law, Maria Parra, Emily Pedersen, Katherine Perry, Krista Puisite, Mel Reid, Madeleine Sheils, Mariah Stackhouse, Jessy Tang, Emily Tubert, Britney Yada and Angel Yin.
THERESE O’HARA WAS READY TO QUIT BUT HAD ROUND OF LIFE
Therese O’Hara (Copenhagen, Denmark) knew this was going to be her last Qualifying Tournament. She wasn’t sure if she was going to continue playing golf if she failed to earn LPGA Tour status.
She posted a 6-under, 66 on Sunday to move from T30 to T8 and now she is heading back to the LPGA Tour for a second time.
“Everything was working today,” said O’Hara. “I got my brother here this week again so we are two for two in Q-Schools so he needs to quit his daytime job.”
“I hit all the shots I wanted to and the putter was hotter than ever,” continued O’Hara. “This has to be one of the best rounds of my life, especially in this wind it was not easy.”
O’Hara, who qualified for the LPGA in 2014 through Q-School, was tinkering with the idea of hanging up the clubs before coming to Daytona Beach.
“I wasn’t sure if I wanted to give it another year on the Epson Tour,” said O’Hara, who finished 23rd on the Epson Tour money list this year. “I knew if I didn’t qualify it might be time to call it quits, but I guess I answered that question.”
INDIA’S ASHOK FALLS SHORT OF FULL STATUS, BUT IS NOW AN LPGA MEMBER
Aditi Ashok (Bangalore, India) wasn’t able to find the groove she had on the Ladies European Tour this week, but still earned LPGA Tour membership. She turned in a 1-over, 73 on Sunday and finished at 2-under for the four days. She posted rounds of 73-70-71-71-73.
“It was a long week with a lot of ups and downs throughout the week,” said Ashok. “I think I could have done better, I finished just 2-under, but it is not bad.”
Ashok, who has had a positive attitude all week, has had a whirlwind last month with two wins on the Ladies European Tour.
“The last couple weeks have been amazing starting with my win back home in India,” said Ashok. “I won last week in Qatar and moved up the Order of Merit and hopefully I can do well in Dubai next week and then it will be a good year.”
Ashok said she plans to play in as many LPGA events as possible next year.
“Obviously, I want to play in as many majors as I can, hopefully all of them,” said Ashok. “I want to play in as many LPGA events as possible because I’ve done well on the LET and I think I have potential to do well on the LPGA as well.”
MADELEINE SHEILS ‘WAITING FOR THIS FOR FOUR YEARS’
Even though Madeleine Sheils (Boise, Idaho) fell a stroke short of full-time LPGA status, she earned partial status for the first time in her professional career by posting a 1-under, 71. She dropped a 6-footer on the 18th hole and unleashed a fist-pump that told the story.
“My goal is always to birdie two of the final three holes and I birdied 16 and made par on 17,” explained Sheils. “You can’t miss the leaderboard and it said top 20 is 4-under so I knew I needed a birdie to give myself a chance and I just read it, rolled it and holed it.”
Sheils was overcome when discussing finally earning LPGA Tour membership.
“Oh my god, this means everything,” said Sheils. “I’m so excited, it has been four years waiting for this moment. I did it. I dreamed of this and it is going to happen. I can’t even process it quite yet.”
UNC’S KATHERINE PERRY EARNS FULL LPGA CARD
Katherine Perry (Cary, N.C.) finished in a tie for 14th to earn her 2017 LPGA Tour Card.
“It’s been a dream forever,” Perry said of earning her card. “I was about to quit halfway through the season and I got into an LPGA event out of nowhere and I just think that God was saying stay with it.”
The event was the Marathon Classic which she Monday qualified for and finished 32nd to reignite her passion for the game which led her to the Final Stage of Q-School.
“Stressful,” Perry said of her week. “It was so stressful and hard to stay in the moment as much as possible and trying not to think about the score which proves difficult but I’m so excited. Seeing that putt go in I just had the feeling ahead of time that it was going to go in. It was just amazing.”
PAIR OF AMATEURS TURN PRO AND EARN LPGA STATUS
Karen Chung (Livingston, N.J.) and Regan De Guzman (Quezon City, Philippines) were the two amateurs to earn Category 12 status through their play at Q-School. Both chose to turn professional following their rounds.
“I was an amazing experience for me,” Chung said. “It was my first time out here so it’s way different than what I’m used to but it was a lot of fun. It’s unreal since this is what I’ve dreamed of since I started golf.”
Guzman finished T19 at 4-under while Chung posted a 5-under week to finish T14.
“I had fun,” De Guzman added. “They are really great courses which were very challenging and I loved it. I’m very lucky and grateful to be able to do this.”
The three remaining amateurs all earned Category 17 status by finishing between 21st and tied for 45th. Bronte Law (Manchester, England) and Daniela Darquea (Quito, Ecuador) chose to turn professional while Katelyn Dambaugh (North Charleston, S.C.) retained her amateur status.