LPGA Qualifying Tournament Stage II
Plantation Golf and Country Club – Panther and Bobcat Courses
Final Round News & Notes
October 3, 2014
VENICE, Fla., October 3, 2014 – Ginger Howard (Bradenton, Florida) shot a 1-under 71 on Friday to earn medalist honors at the LPGA Qualifying Tournament Stage II at Plantation Golf and Country Club. Howard finished with a four-day total of 9-under 289, one stroke clear of Alison Lee (Valencia, California).
The cut was made at 7-over 295 and 85 will advance to Final Stage of LPGA Qualifying Tournament.
Howard won medalist honors in 2011 at LPGA Qualifying Tournament Stage II and will be heading to her fourth final stage. She is the first player to medal twice.
“It is really neat to medal again,” said the 20-year-old Howard. “It is a different feeling this time around. The first time I felt like I was going to get something and that it was over and that I accomplished something, but now I realize that I have not really accomplished anything yet and I am just going to stay humble this time around.”
“Last time, I was like ‘let’s go celebrate’ but this time I am going to stay poised.”
Howard opened the day with a bogey, but responded quickly with a birdie on the second. She went bogey-birdie on the final two holes of the front nine to make the turn at even for the day. Howard made seven straight pars before a birdie on the par-4 17th to win medalist honors.
“Honestly, it was not a very good ball striking day today, but some putts were rolling in for me and the short game stayed solid so that was nice. I felt like I could really rely on my short game. I’m happy I was able to grind it out today.”
Howard now has her sights set on the top 20 at Final Stage of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament.
“If I could get in the top 20 it would mean that I worked hard to get where I want to be, but I would still have things I want to do. It would not stop the journey and I think no matter what happens I am going to stay positive. It would definitely mean a lot to me to play on the LPGA.”
Howard had a tough year on the Symetra Tour. She finished 78th on the Volvik Race for the Card money list and did not have a top 10 finish.
“For sure, this helps my confidence after a lot of missed cuts this year and I did not know what I was doing. I guess I was at a low point, but it wasn’t really bad where I was thinking about not playing anymore. This definitely gives me a huge boost of momentum going into final stage.”
The Howard sisters may be the youngest player-caddie duo to ever win a Qualifying Tournament. Ginger’s sister, Robbi, is 19-years-old and has been a big asset for her.
“It was surreal having my best friend and my sister on the bag this week. I could not have asked for anyone else, she really keeps me in the moment.”
Final Stage of LPGA Qualifying Tournament will be held from December 3 through December 7 at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Florida. The top 20 at final stage will earn category 12 status on the LPGA Tour priority list, while 21-45 will earn category 17 status on the priority list.
Players that finished 72 holes at Stage II, but did not advance to Stage III will have category “I” status on the Symetra Tour priority list.
Players that complete a minimum of 72 holes at Stage III and do not receive 2015 LPGA membership in category 12 will receive category “D” status on the Symetra Tour priority list.
ANNIE PARK OF USC FINISHES THIRD: Annie Park (Levittown, New York), a junior at USC, finished in a tie for third by carding a final round 2-under 70 to close at 6-under 282. Park was the only player in Stage II to finish under-par in all four rounds.
“Overall, it was a pretty good day,” said Park. “It was a consistent week for me, I feel like it could have been worse.”
Park has surprised herself through the first two stages of Qualifying Tournament.
“I didn’t expect to play well at first stage because I was kind of struggling over the summer so I wasn’t expecting anything and I played well. Coming into second stage, I was so busy with school so I wasn’t expecting to finish well here either.”
Park will play Stage III of LPGA Qualifying Tournament as an amateur.
“We will see how it goes at stage three. If I finish in the top 20, I am going to have to think about it (what I want to do) so I am not sure yet.”
AUGUSTA JAMES COULD HAVE A DECISION TO MAKE: Augusta James (Kingston, Ontario) may have a decision to make after Stage III of Qualifying Tournament. She is currently a senior at N.C. State and has advanced through Stage II of Qualifying Tournament as an amateur.
“Stage III is coming up and I plan to play in that,” said James. “I am going to go ask Erin some questions about amateur status so I can keep that, but I am just going to keep an open line of communication with my coach at N.C. State so that she knows what is going on.”
James fired a 3-under 69 on the final day to finish at 3-under 285. She finished in a tie for tenth.
“This is super exciting. I’ve had a lot of fun at the first two stages and I am sure third stage is going to be the exact same thing. I just want to go there and have a lot of fun.”
James was the 2012 ACC Freshman of the Year and is a three-time All-ACC honoree.
“You walk into N.C. State with nine new friends and we’ve had a really close team since I have been there. It has made the experience ten times better. We are also a very diverse team.”
James comes from a golf family. Her younger brother, Austin James, is currently a sophomore on the Charleston Southern golf team. Her father is also a head professional.
CHEYENNE WOODS FINISHES WITH 70; ONTO STAGE III: Cheyenne Woods (Phoenix, Arizona) closed with a 2-under 70 to finish at 2-under 286 (74-72-70-70). Woods finished in a tie for 12th.
The 24-year-old made two birdies on the front nine and was bogey-free on the day.
Woods advanced to final stage of Qualifying Tournament last year, but missed the 72-hole cut and finished at 8-over-par.
LONE SERBIAN MILENA SAVICH ONTO STAGE III: It was an up-and-down week, but Milena Savich (Carmel, Indiana) saved the best for last. On the wrong side of the cut at 5-over entering the final day, Savich fired a 3-under 69 to finish at 2-over 290 (74-71-76-69) and advance to final stage.
“It was my best day for sure, I came out swinging and on the first hole I just lipped out from the fairway and had a tap in for birdie,” said Savich, who played college golf at the University of Georgia. “I birdied my first two and then I made a couple of bogeys and then played pretty even the rest of the day.”
Savich wasn’t nervous with so much on the line. Instead, she was confident.
“I wasn’t really nervous, I felt like if I played my game I’d make it and that freed me up and I played my best today.”
Last year, Savich missed the cut at Stage I of LPGA Qualifying Tournament by one stroke and now she is headed to final stage.
“Mentally, I have gotten a lot better. Last year, if I made a bogey I pushed the panic button and this week I made just one double-bogey. Controlling my emotions has freed everything up. It is amazing how different I feel over the ball this year compared to last year. Today was the most pressure packed round I have ever played, but mentally I knew I was prepared.”
Now, she has a chance at an LPGA Tour card.
“I have worked my butt off this whole year and I’ve had this expectation to be in this position and I knew I was going to have to play with my back up against the wall after yesterday. I’m very excited to head to final stage, but I also expected this so I feel really blessed.”
Savich has two goals, both equally important. She wants to play on the LPGA Tour and represent Serbia in the 2016 Olympic Games.
“Carrying the Serbian flag is really important to me. I have a really good chance to play in the Olympics because I am the only female professional golfer.”
In 2012, Savich represented Serbia in the World Amateur Championships.
“Once I found out that I have dual citizenship and oh my god I can play in the Olympics I realized that representing a whole country is kind of cool. Golf is not the big sport in Serbia – there is only one course. I feel like I can help bring golf to life in Serbia.”
Savich’s dad was born and raised in Serbia.
Take one glance at Savich and you’ll know fitness is a huge part of her life.
“I got into fitness in college, my dad is a huge athlete. I love fitness and I want to open my own health and wellness center one day. I think it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”
She is actually a personal trainer on the side and has two clients that she works with.
Next up on her fitness checklist is crossfit.
LIV CHENG PLAYED WITH LYDIA KO AS AMATEUR: Liv Cheng (Manukau, New Zealand) remembers golfing on the same team as Rolex Women’s World Rankings No. 3 Lydia Ko in New Zealand.
“I saw that she is now taller then Danielle Kang (who also went to Pepperdine),” said Cheng, who recently graduated with an economics degree from Pepperdine. “I remember her when she was 12-years-old and just this tall (motioning to her shoulders). She was still really good back then.”
Cheng played on the same team as Ko at the 2010 Junior Women’s Trans Tasman Cup.
Cheng, who expects to turn professional in the near future, took a big step forward on Friday by shooting a 4-under 68 to finish at even-par 288 to advance. Cheng entered the day right on the cut line.
“I made a bad bogey on the ninth hole and told myself to get it together and then I made four straight birdies on the back nine.”
Cheng was a four-time All-WCC first-team member and a three-time WGCA All-American Scholar.
NOTABLE PLAYERS THAT DIDN’T ADVANCE TO STAGE III: There were a few notable players that finished on the wrong side of the cut line and will not be advancing to final stage.
Emily Tubert – The Arkansas All-American earned medalist honors at Stage I of Qualifying Tournament, but carded a final round 4-over 76 and finished at 9-over 225 (76-72-73-76).
Grace Na (a) – The eighth ranked player in the country according to Golfweek out of Pepperdine shot herself in the foot with back-to-back scores of 79 on Tuesday and Wednesday and finished at 11-over 299 (71-79-79-70).
Madeleine Sheils – The Boise, Idaho native finished 40th on the Volvik Race for the Card money list on the Symetra Tour, but carded an 80 on Wednesday and a 78 on Thursday and closed at 14-over 302 (72-80-78-72).
HOW DID THE TOP COLLEGE PLAYERS IN COUNTRY FARE:
|Player||College||Rank||1st Rd.||2nd Rd.||3rd Rd.||4th Rd.||Position|
|Alison Lee (a)||UCLA||1||-1 (71)||-1 (71)||-6 (66)||E (72)||-8 (T2)|
|Stephanie Meadow||Alabama||2||-1 (71)||+1 (73)||-3 (69)||+2 (72)||-1 (T16)|
|Annie Park (a)||USC||6||-2 (70)||-1 (71)||-1 (71)||-2 (70)||-6 (T3)|
|Grace Na (a)||Pepperdine||8||-1 (71)||+7 (79)||+7 (79)||-2 (70)||+11 (T118)|
|Yu Liu||Duke||11||+5 (77)||-2 (70)||-1 (71)||E (72)||+2 (T41)|
|Simin Feng (a)||Vanderbilt||12||+1 (73)||E (72)||-1 (71)||+1 (73)||+1 (73)|
|Laetitia Beck||Duke||14||+5 (77)||+3 (75)||-1 (71)||E (72)||+7 (T78)|
|SooBin Kim (a)||Washington||15||+3 (75)||+2 (74)||+4 (76)||-3 (69)||+6 (T72)|
|Jennifer Yang (a)||Washington||21||+8 (80)||+4 (76)||-3 (69)||+1 (73)||+10 (T108)|