Linnea Strom (Gothenburg, Sweden), the No. 11 ranked amateur in the world according to the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR), continued her stellar play with a 6-under, 66 on the Dinah Shore Course to medal at LPGA Qualifying School Stage 1 on Sunday. She finished six shots ahead of the field at 17-under, 271. Her four-day total is the best since 2011, when Alexis Thompson posted rounds of 66-66-67-66 to shoot 23-under.
Soo Jin Lee (Sydney, Australia) finished in second at 11-under, 277 while Martina Edberg (Glumslov, Sweden) and Haley Mills (Tyler, Texas) shared third at 10-under, 278.
“It’s a personal record (-17), that was a lot of fun, it was my goal to get to 15-under so I managed to exceed that,” explained Strom, who is on her way back to Tempe as classes are underway at Arizona State. “I just tried to stay focused on my own game. I had fun and did my best.”
Strom, a rising junior at Arizona State, is one of exactly 90 that advanced to LPGA Qualifying School Stage II, which will take place October 18-22 in Venice, Florida. She was also one of 23 amateurs that is moving on.
“We leave for our first college tournament in two weeks,” said Strom, who plans on making a detailed practice schedule over the next month. “I have two college tournaments before Stage II. I’m going to set up a plan with my coach in college and coach in Sweden.”
Strom made just two bogeys over 72 holes and turned in rounds of 69-69-67-66.
The 20-year-old made three birdies in a row to start her round and then made three birdies in a row on holes 11, 12 and 13.
Strom was a WGCA First-Team All-American as a freshman and sophomore at Arizona State. She was a major contributor in delivering a national championship to the Sun Devils. Strom had eight top 10 finishes as a sophomore and held a stroke average of 71.79.
She hasn’t decided exactly what her plans are beyond Stage II.
“I’m just going to take is as it comes,” said the very-personable Strom. “I’m really happy with my game this week. I’m going to try to keep my game in the same shape for Stage II and then we will see what happens after that. There is no reason to rush to a decision.”
GEORGIA RISING JUNIOR HOLLIS ADVANCESJillian Hollis (Rocky River, Ohio), a rising junior at Georgia, closed with a 3-under, 69 on Sunday to finish 6-under for the tournament and comfortably advanced in a tie for 17th.
“I’m so excited, it’s been so great,” said Hollis, who came out to the west coast three weeks ago to prepare for her first Qualifying School. “I felt really great. It was 117 degrees today. I let the heat get to me yesterday, but was more prepared today. I played very solid this week. I’m just super excited to make it to Stage II.”
Hollis was a Second-Team All-American by Golfweek in 2017 and led the Bulldogs in scoring average, birdies and top-10 finishes.
“Playing golf on such a high level with professional golfers was a great experience,” said Hollis, a double major in Journalism and Communications at Georgia. “It was great to experience what it is going to be like to be on the road. I also heard that this may be the last year to get onto the LPGA through Q-School so I thought why not do it this year. If I make it all the way, that would be awesome too.”
It has been Hollis’ dream to play on the LPGA Tour for as long as she can remember in part because her mom, Sharon, played professionally.
Sharon actually remembers going through the Qualifying School process and relayed stories to Jillian. She even warned her of the extreme temperatures in the desert.
“She comes with me on my trips and is great,” said Jillian. “She was super caddy this week trying to keep me cool and keep me hydrated.”
Sharon played college golf at N.C. State and Ohio State. In 2015, the mom-daughter duo met in the finals of the Cleveland Women’s Golf Association.
“We played 36 holes, it was really fun,” said Jillian, who won 8 Up. “It was at the club she grew up playing. All mothers get it, but it is so great to have a mom that completely understands.”
Hollis is heading to Stage II with a completely open mind about the rest of the Qualifying School process.
“It’s the best of both worlds, if I make it on the LPGA that is obviously great, but I’m so excited to go back and see my teammates again and college golf has just been great,” said Hollis. “However it all pans out, it’ll be great