Final Stage of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament
LPGA International – Jones & Hills Courses
Daytona Beach, Florida
Second-Round News & Notes
December 4, 2014
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., December 4, 2014 – Ju Young Park (Seoul, South Korea) and Casey Grice (College Station, Texas) hold the 36-hole lead at the Final Stage of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament at 9-under par 135.
“My course management has worked really well for me,” said Park, who is the sister of two-time LPGA Tour winner Hee Young Park. “I just want to keep playing well over the next three days.”
Park backed up an opening round 67 at the Hills Course with a 68 on Jones, while Grice followed up a day-one 66 at Jones with a 69 on Hills.
Park carded six birdies against two bogeys while Grice made four birdies against a lone bogey. Sophia Popov (Weingarten, Germany), Samantha Richdale (Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada) and Elizabeth Nagel (DeWitt, Mich.) are in a tie for third at 7-under 137.
All 154 players have now played a round at the Hills and Jones Courses at LPGA International.
Players will again flip between Jones and Hills over the next two days prior to a 72-hole cut to the top-70 and ties for Sunday’s final round at the Hills Course.
Players who finish in the top-20 will earn membership through category 12 on the LPGA Tour priority list while those who finish 21 through 45 with earn membership through category 17. In laymen’s terms, players who finish in the top 20 will have “full-time” status on the LPGA Tour while players that finish 21 through 45 will have “conditional” status.
CHARLEY HULL BACK IN THE MIX: Charley Hull (Kettering, England) was able to get herself back in the mix for her 2015 LPGA Tour card bouncing back from an opening round 75 with a day two 69 on the Jones Course to find herself in a tie for 39th at level par for the tournament.
“I hit it well,” Hull said of her play on Thursday. “I holed a few putts just not as many as I’d like to. I’m happy with how I’m hitting it.”
Hull enters the event coming off an impressive season in which she played in nine LPGA Tour events and earned over $210,000.
“I’ve had a great season so far,” Hull said. “I played well in the Majors that I played in and had some great finishes on the LPGA Tour. If I don’t get my card I’m not going to be overly disappointed because I think I’ll be able to play in the Majors next year thanks to my ranking on the LET.”
While Hull has achieved a great deal of success since turning professional in 2013 she has yet to find the magic at Qualifying Schools, having missed her only other attempt, at Ladies European Tour Q-School in 2012.
“I hate Q-School,” Hull said with a grin. “I never made it through Q-School on the Ladies European Tour. I just came in second five times in a row in my first five tournaments. I felt like QSchool is a completely different week. It’s just one week of the year. You can have a good week or you can have a bad week and it’s just one of them things.”
STEPHANIE MEADOW CARDS 6-UNDER 66: Stephanie Meadow (Jordanstown, Northern Ireland) made one of the biggest jumps during the second day at LPGA International moving from a tie for 46th after her first round into a tie for sixth.
“To shoot 66 on any course at any time is great,” Meadow said. “To do it this week is obviously big but there’s a long way to go.”
Meadow, who competed in five LPGA events in 2014, including a third place showing at the U.S. Women’s Open used seven birdies against a lone bogey to card a 6-under, 66, on the Hills Course, which played 1.54 strokes tougher than the Jones Course on Thursday.
“Honestly, my ball striking was a little bit better today but really I just made some putts,” Meadow admitted. “I’ve had some good history on this course. I played in a tournament here and won my freshman year so I really like this course and feel like it’s good for my game. I’m accurate and that’s what you need out here.”
The Jordanstown, Northern Ireland native is proud to be representing her home country this week.
“You have no idea how many tweets I’ve gotten in the last few days from people at home watching,” Meadow said with a smile. “It means a lot that they’re watching. To have them behind me I’m very lucky.”
NO. 25 IN WORLD HA NA JANG POSTS 7-UNDER: If you ask Seoul, South Korea native Ha Na Jang, who ranks 25th in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, who her favorite LPGA Tour players are, you may be surprised.
“I like Suzann Pettersen because she is a long distance driver and Christina Kim because she shows a lot of emotion,” said Jang after a 7-under 65, the low round of the event. “I like to show a lot of emotion on the course and my nickname in Korea is smiles.”
Jang clutched her right fist and unleashed an emphatic fist pump when she drained a 10-foot putt on her final hole to close out her round.
“Yesterday, the pressure got to me a little,” said Jang, who shot a 2-over 74 on Wednesday. “Today, I did very well with my driver and my irons and my putter. It was a very lucky day.”
Jang, 22, was T88 entering day two so she needed a strong turnaround and was playing on the course she prefers, the Hills Course.
“I like the Hills Course better than the Jones Course and I didn’t really play great yesterday so I was really focused today,” said Jang. “I wanted to play well this round and hit better shots.”
Jang is playing in her first LPGA Qualifying Tournament. Last year, she was the KLPGA Player of the Year and money list leader.
“I was the money leader in 2013 in Korea so I reached my peak in Korea and wanted to test my game in bigger tournaments,” said Jang. “When I finished third at The Evian Championship I decided to just go for the LPGA Tour this year and tryout at Q-School.”
This is not the first time Jang has played in America. Jang played in USGA tournaments in 2004 including the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Public Links.
“I played really good in America and I like the American style,” said Jang.
Jang is also excited about playing on the LPGA Tour because in Korea fairways tend to be narrow, which doesn’t favor long hitters like her.
In addition to her nickname of “smiles” she also is nicknamed the “four leaf clover” and she wears a bracelet that has a clover. When she was 11 years-old, she played in the Korea Open as an amateur and the media captured her picking up clovers and the nickname has stuck.
USC’S SOPHIA POPOV FINISHES STRONG WITH EAGLE: Sophia Popov (Weingarten, Germany) closed round two with a short eagle putt on the 18th hole of the Jones Course to finish the day at 5-under and move to 7-under through 36-holes.
“My long game has been the key,” said Popov, the lone German in the field this week. “I’ve been striking it pretty well and I hit 16 greens and two fringes today and I was able to putt pretty well.”
Popov made one birdie on the third hole and made the turn at 1-under for the day. She made two birdies on the back nine before capping the bogey-free round with the eagle on 18.
Popov, 22, graduated from USC in May and is playing in her first LPGA Qualifying Tournament.
Simultaneously, she is also playing in the Ladies European Tour (LET) Qualifying Tournament. In two weeks, she may be headed to Morocco for final stage of LET Q-School.
“I just want to wait and see what happens,” said Popov with a smile. “Of course, my dream has always been to play out here on the LPGA Tour so in the long run that is what I kind of want to do. If it (LPGA) happens this week great, but if not I have the LET as my other option. I wouldn’t mind either way but it definitely has been a dream to play on the LPGA.”
Although she is lone German in the field, she is close with both Sandra Gal and Caroline Masson on the LPGA Tour.
“They’re good friends of mine, especially Caroline,” said Popov, who was born in American, but moved to Germany when she was three years old. “We played a lot of amateur golf together were just really close buddies. Over the last year or two, Sandra and I have become close because we have the whole Golf Team Germany going on and she invites over to Florida to train. I wouldn’t mind joining them.”
Popov is one of five USC Trojans in the field this week.
“USC definitely played a tremendous role in me getting better. All the support from the golf team and the entire athletic department at USC has really helped me a lot.”
- Jennifer Gleason made a hole-in-one on hole six of the Jones Course on Thursday. Gleason used a 9-iron from 139 yards out. It was her fifth career hole-in-one and her first career ace came on the 15th hole of the Hills Course during a Suncoast event approximately six years ago. She fired a 4-under 68 and is 4-under through 36 holes and in a tie for ninth. Gleason has been on medical leave for the last 18-months. Her fifth career ace came during her second competitive round back after having two surgeries.
- Su Oh, who turned professional on Monday, fired a 3-under 69 to move into a tie for 13th with three rounds left. She is one of six 18-year-olds in the field.
- Samantha Richdale carded a 6-under 66 on the Hills Course to move to 7-under. Richdale made eight birdies on the day.
- Elizabeth Nagel, a recent Michigan State graduate, fired a 3-under 69 and is in a tie for third. Nagel is a thyroid cancer survivor.
- Alison Lee, the WGCA Freshman of the Year, fired a 2-under 70 on Thursday and is T13. Lee is currently a sophomore at UCLA.
- Karen Stupples, current Golf Channel analyst, is on the bag this week for Natalie Sheary.
HOW THE ROLEX WOMEN’S WORLD GOLF RANKINGS TOP 100 FARED
|Player||Rolex WWGR||1st Rd.||2nd Rd.||Position|
|Ha Na Jang (Seoul, South Korea)||No. 25||+2 (74)||-7 (65)||8|
|Charley Hull (Kettering, England)||No. 37||+3 (75)||-3 (69)||T39|
|Sei Young Kim (Seoul, South Korea)||No. 40||-3 (69)||-1 (71)||T9|
|Sakura Yokomine (Kanoya, Japan)||No. 44||+1 (73)
|Minjee Lee (Perth, Australia)||No. 82||E (72)||-1 (71)||T30|
|Ariya Jutanugarn (Thailand)||No. 91||+1 (73)||-3 (69)||T23|
|Valentine Derrey (Ciboure, France)||No. 100||E (72)||+1 (73)||T65|