With just four rounds to play, the Q-Series crowd is starting to feel the pressure. As the leaderboard currently stands, players need an aggregate total of 6-under par or better to break into the top 45 and ties and earn LPGA Tour Status for the 2023 season. Three LPGA Tour players – Su Oh, Linnea Johansson and Janie Jackson – who are right on the cusp of that line will tee off together early Thursday morning and make their final push to retain their LPGA Tour cards.
This is Oh’s first time back at Q-School since she initially qualified for the LPGA Tour in 2015, back when Q-Series was known as Final Stage and was only five rounds of play instead of eight. Oh had a harrowing summer and fall on the LPGA Tour, missing 11 straight cuts before managing a T40 at the BMW Ladies Championship. The Australian’s 103rd place finish in the Race to CME Globe is her lowest ranking on the Money List in her seven years on tour, her best ranking coming in 2019 at 33rd. Oh usually finishes well within the top 60 to earn entry to the CME Group Tour championship, only missing the season-ending event in 2020 and 2022.
Currently, the 26-year-old is 6-under par and T41, just inside the top 45. However, those outside the top 45 are only one stroke back and knocking on the door. Oh will have to go low and find the game she has had on the LPGA Tour in past years if she wants to keep her card.
Johansson is one of those players right behind Oh, ready to take any opportunity to break into the bubble. At 5-under par, she is tied with eight others at 47th. The Swede is playing with more experience at Q-Series than Oh, having entered the last two editions of the qualifying event. Johansson first joined the LPGA Tour in 2020 after qualifying with a T26 at Q-Series in 2019. She returned to the event in 2021 after finishing at 165 in the Race to CME Globe. The 29-year-old managed a T8 to take some momentum into 2022, which was her best season on tour yet. In 20 starts, Johansson made 11 cuts to finish at No. 120 in the Race to CME Globe, a career best.
On Sunday in Mobile, Johansson shot a 4-under 67 – her best round yet – to boost herself above the cut line. Having just hit her stride, Johansson carries plenty of momentum with her into week-two and has a good chance of breaking into that top 45.
Jackson is one of the seven other players tied with Johansson at 5-under. The 28-year-old recently made her way to the LPGA Tour after spending five seasons on the Epson Tour. Jackson first earned LPGA Tour membership with a fifth-place finish in the Ascensus Race for the Card in 2020. She then split her time between the two tours in 2021, making six cuts in eight starts on the LPGA. At 138 in the Race to CME Globe, Jackson carded a solo sixth-place finish to stay on the LPGA Tour in 2022. The Alabama native started her second season strong, carding her first top 20 (T16) at the JTBC Classic presented by Barbasol. But a string of missed cuts in summer and fall dropped her to 133 in the Race to CME Globe and gave her a ticket to Q-Series.
Like Johansson, Jackson also waited until the final round of week one to get hot. She teed off 1-over par and rattled off seven consecutive birdies on the front nine to reach 5-under par by the end of the day. Jackson is also playing in her home state, giving her another edge over the field.