Jaye Marie Green, who leads the Volunteers of America Classic at -14, put on a clinic during the first nine. Seven birdies in eight holes with just nine putts rewarded Green with a front-nine 28. The 28-year-old said she did not realize how spectacular the start was until the seventh hole but knew not to let it get to her head.
“When you're in the middle of it, you don't really realize like I only had two pars through 10 holes,” said Green. “I was like, oh, my gosh. I'm like, ah, forget about it, if it's my time to shoot in the 50s it will happen. But it didn't and I was happy with how things went.”
When Green hit two roadblocks with bogeys on No. 14 and 15, she channeled the lessons she learned from the U.S. Women’s Open and her six years playing on the LPGA Tour to get her through.
“My main thing is sometimes, like at the U.S. Open, what I learned was I was always picturing myself holding the trophy. I'm like, Jaye, you're not there yet. When you're there, then let yourself feel all the emotions. Today that was coming in my mind. I was like, ‘Jaye, it's the third round, there's so much golf left, just stay focused,’” said Green. “Being six years on Tour, I kind of feel like we all pay our dues. I'm like I've learned so many lessons that you never really -- it's not learning if you don't take something from it and then apply it. So I feel like I did a good job of doing that today.”
CHEYENNE KNIGHT READY TO RISE TO THE CHALLENGE
Cheyenne Knight seems to be finding her best golf with her back against the wall. With Q-Series looming, the 2019 LPGA Tour rookie came into the Volunteers of America Classic knowing she needed a high finish to avoid a trip to Pinehurst, N.C. With a third-round 67, Knight stayed consistent at Old American Golf Club to finish one stroke off the lead at -13.
“I thought I did really well on small targets and just keep being aggressive. I was really disciplined like with some of those pin positions, just firing middle of the green because my speed's been pretty well all week,” said Knight.
Knight felt the pressure being under the gun last season on the Symetra Tour. She finished just short of skipping directly to Q-Series at the Symetra Tour Championship. She moved through Stage II of the Qualifying Tournament and then finished in the top 45 at Q-Series to earn her 2019 card. After a hard-fought season, she said her experiences over the past two years are her biggest motivators, especially for tomorrow’s performance in the final grouping that could change her career.
“For me in my golf career, I know I can persevere,” said Knight. “I wouldn't change those hard experiences like for anything. It's made me a lot stronger, because my first year on the LPGA, it's been very difficult. I mean, after Portland I bogeyed the last two holes to miss the cut and I'm like, ‘you've got to be stronger mentally.’ I know I'm strong enough to do it, so just trying to hit fairways and greens.”
AMERICAN DUO SO CLOSE TO FIRST LPGA WINS
The two Americans tied for third, Katherine Perry and Brittany Altomare, are looking for their first LPGA Tour victories. At -12, both players are just two strokes behind leader Jaye Marie Green and are in prime position to capture a win that would mean so much to their careers.
Over the last three seasons, Altomare has been one of the most consistent players on the LPGA Tour but is still looking for that breakthrough win. Since bursting onto the scene with a runner-up finish at the 2017 Evian Championship, Altomare has steadily played her way to becoming one of the elite American players. She has not missed a cut in her 21 events in 2019 and on the strength of nine top-20 finishes, she went 2-1-1 in her debut for Team USA at the Solheim Cup.
Known for her short-game prowess, Altomare co-leads the Volunteers of America Classic field in greens regulation at 75.9%. And today’s bogey at No. 14? It was her first over-par hole since the second hole of her third round at the Indy Women in Tech Championship, a streak of 84 holes.
“I just think I'm playing very consistent. All year I hit the ball really well, and like the last half of the year the putts started to go in,” said Altomare, a four-year All-American at the University of Virginia. “So I think that's really been the difference in the last half of the year.”
For Perry, a win this week would mean so much more than just a trophy. The 27-year-old from Cary, N.C., is fighting to avoid two weeks in Pinehurst at Q-Series. After starting her third LPGA season with limited status, she posted her career-best finish of T9 at the 2019 Pure Silk Championship after Monday qualifying. The good result moved her up the Priority List at the first reshuffle, but she has yet to crack the top 25 since that week in Virginia.
Now, with $73,340 in 2019 earnings and sitting 118th on the Money List, Perry is just 18 holes away from cementing her LPGA Tour future.
“I think just again, one shot at a time, one hole at a time,” said Perry, who played collegiately for the University of North Carolina. “When you get in this position, like you don't even realize what you're shooting, I feel like. Just playing one hole at a time, staying calm.”
WITH A WIN…
With the $195,000 winner’s prize, Jaye Marie Green would move to $1,441,565 in career earnings
Green would project to move from 79th to 35th in the Race to the CME Globe; the top 60 players (and ties) in the Race will qualify for the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship, where the winner will take home $1.5 million, the largest single prize the history of women’s golf
Green, Brittany Altomare, Cheyenne Knight or Katherine Perry would be the sixth Rolex First-Time Winner of the 2019 season, joining Celine Boutier, Cydney Clanton, Hannah Green, Bronte Law and Jeongeun Lee6
Sei Young Kim would earn her third win of the season, while Jeongeun Lee6 would win for the second time
With the $195,000 winner’s prize, Sei Young Kim would move to $7,130,526 in career earnings and become the 35th player in LPGA history to cross the $7 million threshold
RACE TO THE CME GLOBE, LPGA QUALIFYING TOURNAMENTS UPDATES
This week’s Volunteers of America Classic marks the end of the LPGA Tour’s core domestic schedule, with four events across Asia in October and November before the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Fla., on Nov. 21-24. It will also be a major factor in three season-ending storylines – the Fall Asia Swing, the Race to the CME Globe and LPGA Qualifying Tournaments.
RACE TO THE CME GLOBE
The 2019 season brings a fresh face to the Race to the CME Globe. LPGA Members will accumulate points at each official LPGA Tour event leading up to the CME Group Tour Championship. The top 60 points earners and ties will then earn a spot in the CME Group Tour Championship, with the entire field competing for the $5 million purse and the $1.5 million winner’s check, the largest single prize in the history of women’s golf.
If Jaye Marie Green can hold onto her lead, she projects to move from 79th to 35th in the Race to the CME Globe standings. Other players in the top 10 hoping to move up in the Race standings include second-place Cheyenne Knight (114th), third-place Katherine Perry (122nd) and sixth-place Caroline Hedwall (100th). This week’s winner will earn 500 Race points, with the runner-up receiving 300 points and third place receiving 190 points.
For the 2019 Race to the CME Globe standings, click here: www.lpga.com/statistics/points/race-to-cme-globe-season.
LPGA QUALIFYING TOURNAMENTS
Following the Volunteers of America Classic, players outside the top 150 on the Official Money List will head to LPGA Qualifying Tournament Stage II, to be held Oct. 12-17 at Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice, Fla. Players ranked No. 101-150 (and any ties for 150th) on the Official Money List will skip directly to Q-Series, a two-week, eight-round tournament to be held Oct. 23-26 on Pinehurst No. 6 and Oct. 30 to Nov. 2 on Pinehurst No. 9, both in Pinehurst, N.C.
Players in the top 10 looking to avoid Q-Series include second-place Cheyenne Knight (120th, $71,346), third-place Katherine Perry (118th, $73,340) and 10th-place Stephanie Meadow (112th, $87,335).
For the 2019 LPGA Tour Official Money List, click here: www.lpga.com/statistics/money/official-money. For more information on LPGA Tour Qualifying, click here:www.lpga.com/tournaments/qualifying-tournament.
Rolex Rankings No. 107 Jaye Marie Green (67-68-64)
- Green’s 199 is the lowest 54-hole score of her LPGA career, shattering her previous best of 203 at the 2014 Marathon Classic
- This is the first time in her career that she holds the lead heading into the final round
- She hit 10 of 13 fairways and 12 of 18 greens, with 23 putts
- This is her fifth season on the LPGA Tour; her best career finish is a tie for fifth at the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open
- In 2019, she has made nine of 20 cuts; her best finish of the season is a tie for fifth at the U.S. Women’s Open
- She is competing in her sixth Volunteers of America Classic; she finished in a tie for 32nd in 2018 and missed the cut from 2014-2017
- Green became the first player to earn medalist honors twice at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament by winning in 2013 and 2016
Rolex Rankings No. 270 Cheyenne Knight (66-67-67)
- Knight’s 200 is the lowest 54-hole score of her LPGA career; her previous best was 202 at the 2019 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship
- She hit 12 of 13 fairways and 13 of 18 greens, with 27 putts
- She is a 2019 LPGA Tour rookie; she has made nine cuts in 18 starts, with her best finish a tie for 29th at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship
- She is competing in her second Volunteers of America Classic; she finished T29 in 2016 as a non-member
- She finished T27 at the inaugural LPGA Q-Series to earn her LPGA Tour card for 2019
- After finishing the 2018 college golf season, recorded four top-10 finishes on the Symetra Tour including a season-best T6 result at the Symetra Tour Championship
- At Alabama, Knight was named WGCA First Team All-American in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and was the 2017 SEC Player of the Year
- She is an Aledo, Texas, native
Rolex Rankings No. 250 Katherine Perry (67-68-66)
- Perry’s 201 is the lowest 54-hole score of her LPGA career; her previous best was 205 at the 2019 Pure Silk Championship, where she finished a career-best T9
- She hit 10 of 13 fairways and 13 of 18 greens, with 28 putts
- This is her third year on the LPGA Tour; her best career finish is a tie for ninth at the 2019 Pure Silk Championship
- In 2019, Perry has made eight of 12 cuts; her best finish of the season is a tie for ninth at the 2019 Pure Silk Championship
- She is competing in her third Volunteers of America Classic; she missed the cut in 2017 and 2018
- Perry finished tied for 14th at the 2016 LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to earn Priority List Category 12 status for the 2017 season
Rolex Rankings No. 31 Brittany Altomare (67-66-68)
- She hit eight of 13 fairways and 13 of 18 greens, with 28 putts
- This is her fifth year on the LPGA Tour; her best career finish is T2, most recently from the 2019 Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give
- This is Altomare’s fourth Volunteers of America Classic; she finished T43 in 2016, missed the cut in 2017 and finished T46 in 2018
- She has not missed a cut in 21 starts in 2019; her best finish is a tie for second at the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give
- Altomare made her Solheim Cup debut in 2019, where she went 2-1-1 for Team USA
- Finished T44 at the 2013 LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to earn Priority List Category 17 status for the 2014 LPGA Tour season
- Played collegiate golf at the University of Virginia where she recorded three victories, was named the 2013 ACC Player of the Year, and was a four-time All-American