ROZSA REMAINS LEADER HEADING INTO FINAL ROUND
VENICE, Fla. — On moving day at LPGA Qualifying School Stage II, several players improved their position heading into the final round at Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice, Florida, battling windy conditions to stay in the hunt.
While she had an eventful third round (five birdies, three bogeys, one double bogey), Csicsi Rozsa (Budapest, Hungary) maintains an advantage over the field. After two rounds, Rozsa led by two strokes, but after 54 holes, her lead is now one.
“It was a little nervous, playing in the last group, the first few holes I could feel it,” Rozsa said. “I couldn’t swing the club. But then, again, I calmed down.”
The 2017 Symetra Tour rookie shot even par on the Panther Course to stay at 9-under overall.
“I had some good shots, good putts,” said Rozsa. “It was still real fun.”
Last year, the 20-year-old made it to Stage III of LPGA Qualifying School where she finished in a tie for 128th. She was one of 11 players to play in every event on the 2017 Symetra Tour schedule, recording two top-10 finishes and ending the year at 49th on the official money list.
“I’m just going to go and enjoy it,” said Rozsa. “This is the perfect time to experience all this. I came here to qualify to final stage, nothing more, and I got more already.”
Meanwhile, Sandy Choi (San Diego, Calif.) and European Solheim Cup breakout star Georgia Hall (Wimborne, England) both entered the third round tied for second. They head to the final round in the same position.
“It was up and down, really. I got a silly double, but then my putting was pretty good,” Hall said. “I holed some really good putts on the back nine.”
Hall fired a 3-under par 69 on the Panther Course to move to 8-under overall, while Choi carded a 2-under 70 to reach the same mark.
“I honestly didn’t think about the wind much because I knew that I wasn’t the only one that was getting affected by it,” said Choi. “I knew that all the players here were getting affected by it so it didn’t really get into my head. I just really stayed patient out there. Worked out well.”
Rozsa, Hall and Choi comprise the final group in tomorrow’s final round. They will tee off on No. 1 of the Bobcat Course at 1:27 p.m.
“It’s perfect practice for the future. I can’t wait to experience it,” Rozsa said. “It’s always different people, different course, different crowds.”
Gabriella Then (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), Leona Maguire (Cavan, Ireland) and Klara Spilkova (Prague, Czech Republic) are tied for fourth at 7-under par. A group of three check-in at 5-under par including Meghan MacLaren (Rushden, England), Anne Van Dam (Arnhem, Netherlands), and Luna Sobron (Palma De Mallorca, Spain).
One day of play remains and all players in the field have had the opportunity to continue competing as there is no cut this week. The low 80 and ties following the final round will advance to Final Stage, or LPGA Qualifying Tournament Stage III, which takes place from November 30 - December 3 at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Florida. Players that do not finish in the top 80 will still have Symetra Tour membership for the 2018 season.
HOW SWED(EN) IT IS
16 players representing Sweden are in the field this week, and amateur Linnea Strom (Gothenburg, Sweden) paced the group with a 4-under 68 in round three.
“Started off with four straight birdies. I just tried to trust every shot and follow everything through,” Strom said. “I think that was the main reason why I played good today.”
The No. 10 ranked amateur in the world, Strom took medalist honors at LPGA Qualifying School Stage I. She followed up an opening round 70 in Stage II with a second round 74, before turning on the jets in round three.
“It’s golf and especially when it’s windy as it is, everything can happen,” said Strom. “Stay focused one shot at a time. That’s the best I can do.”
As a freshman and sophomore at Arizona State, Strom was a WGCA First-Team All-American. She was also a major contributor in helping deliver a National Championship for the program in May of 2017. Strom had eight top-10 finishes as a sophomore in 2016-2017, and held a stroke average of 71.79.
She hopes to continue her strong year in the LPGA Qualifying School Stage II final round tomorrow.
“Tomorrow is Bobcat again, I like that course,” Strom said. “Bobcat is a little bit more straightforward. It’s golf. Anything is possible.”
FORMER DUKE TEAMMATES BACK ON SAME COURSE
Sandy Choi and former Duke University women’s golf teammate Leona Maguire, the top-ranked amateur in the world according to the World Amateur Golf Rankings, are back on the course together for the first time since Choi graduated this past spring.
For the two Blue Devils, time in Venice is about more than golf. It involves a little catching up.
“To have a fellow old teammate out here, both supporting each other, both having the same goals,” Choi said. “I had dinner with her two days ago and we caught up on stuff, she’s updating me with the team and the coaches. So it’s nice to see her out here.”
Just as Choi graduated, Maguire intends to finish what she started at Duke and earn her degree. The pressure may be off Maguire this week, but she still has her game face on.
“You really have to keep concentrating the whole way around. One bad shot out here and you can rack up a number pretty quick,” said Maguire. “These greens are pretty small, so chipping from the rough can be tricky. You know if you hit the green you’re not going to be all that far away considering how small they are.”
Both players will see plenty more of each other in the final round, as Choi will tee up in the final group, with Maguire is the second to last pairing.
“As long as I’m top 80, I don’t really care what time I play,” Choi said, laughing.”
And Maguire will remain as concentrated as ever.
“Few more chances probably on the Bobcat,” said Maguire. “Hopefully it won’t be quite as windy as today, and try and go as low as we can.”
Csicsi Rozsa made it to Stage III of LPGA Qualifying School last year and finished in a tie for 128th. The 54-hole leader looks to secure a second consecutive trip to Stage III tomorrow as she enters the final round at 9-under par.
17-year-old Youngin Chun (Gainesville, Florida) fired a 3-over par 75 on Saturday to sit at 4-under overall heading into the final round. Chun’s father, Eric, is a commentator for JTBC with 17 years of experience covering the LPGA in Korea. He is caddying for Youngin this week at LPGA Qualifying School Stage II.
Six players are tied for 10th at 4-under par. The list includes: Linnea Strom, Youngin Chun, Lauren Coughlin (Charlottesville, Virginia), Harang Lee (Bilbao, Spain), first round leader Alazne Urizar Zapata (San Tome, Venezuela), and Jennifer Hahn (Henderson, Nevada).
Muni He (Chengdu, China), the No. 39 ranked amateur in the world, is a sophomore at the University of Southern California this year. As a freshman she earned Golfweek All-American honorable mention honors and was also a 2016 Rolex Junior First Team All-American. He reached the round of 64 in both the 2016 U.S. Women’s Amateur, as well as the 2016 U.S. Girls’ Junior.
Anne Van Dam (Arnhem, Netherlands) is tied for 7th at 5-under par and has the power of momentum on her side entering the Second Stage of Qualifying School this week. She came to Venice, Florida fresh off a tied for 4th finish at the LET Lacoste Ladies Open De France for her fourth top-25 finish of the LET season. Van Dam is 16th on the LET Order of Merit, with one professional victory to her name (2016 Xiamen International Open).