LPGA Qualifying Tournament Stage I
Mission Hills Country Club
Rancho Mirage, Calif.
August 28, 2014
Round Three News and Notes
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. (August 28, 2014) – Emily Tubert shot a third round 66 to sit at 10-under overall for the tournament and will take a one-stroke lead into the final round of Stage I of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif. SooBin Kim sits a stroke back while Sammi Stevens is three back of Tubert.
The Rancho Mirage Qualifier is the first of the LPGA Tour’s three qualifying events in 2014. The top-100 players and ties from this week will advance to the second stage of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament at Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice, Fla., from Sept. 30 – Oct. 4. A minimum of the top 80 and ties from Stage II will advance into the Final Qualifying Tournament.
Stage III of LPGA Q-School will be contested over 90 holes Dec. 3-7, at the LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla. Top finishers in the final stage will earn 2015 LPGA membership.
BIG BREAK GIVES EMILY TUBERT’S CAREER NEW LIFE: Emily Tubert may sit on the 54 hole lead at Mission Hills but just a few short months ago she was questioning her future in the game before she got a call saying that she had been cast on the Golf Channel’s hit show the Big Break.
“To me, coming out of college I had kind of lost my passion for the game and my joy, my confidence was gone and there were times that I questioned why I played golf,” Tubert admitted. “I was a broadcast journalism major so when I got the call that I was cast I was stoked because it combined two of my passions in terms of being in front of the camera and golf. Big Break I think really helped repair me. It was the first thing I did as a professional golfer. It was an incredible experience and I’m so excited to watch it.”
Tubert was able to shoot five-under on the day thanks to seven birdies and a double.
“Yes, 5-under is a great score but my ball striking wasn’t very good today off the tee,” Tubert confessed. “It was the worst I hit it off the tee all week but it was good enough. I was able to manage it and get around but the thing is my mishits go just about as far as other people’s drives. I still was having mid-irons, short-irons and wedges into holes and was able to make some putts.”
The recent Arkansas grad is hoping for another Big Break through the Q School experience.
“It was exactly what I needed,” Tubert continued on her Big Break experience. “It was hitting your reset button and when I was there I found my love of the game again and tried to start growing my confidence back and now I’m enjoying playing golf again and I think that it’s showing in the numbers.”
SOOBIN KIM LOOKING TO GET TO DOUBLE-DIGITS: SooBin Kim entered this week with a pair of goals and after round three she is close to reaching them.
“Actually, my coach and I were just joking saying ‘you’ve got to hit the double digit number because that was my goal this week,” Kim said. “I’m not too nervous. My goal was to make it to second stage so you’ve got to see if you can make it to third stage and make it to top-20. I think that’s the main goal but right now I’m pretty calm and not trying to overthink things.”
Kim currently sits at 9-under par after tying the low round of the day with a 66. The University of Washington product still has a year left at school but, while two stages away, an LPGA Card may change her plans.
“I’m going into my senior year at UW and I’m trying to see where I can go,” Kim said. “I think it’s the right timing for me to try this out. My college coach and I have talked about it, if I make it all the way I’ll probably turn pro but if not going back to college is the plan but at least I will have some status and that was my main goal so far.”
HANNAH COLLIER MAKES A MOVE ON DAY THREE: Recent Alabama grad Hannah Collier had a chat with her best friend, LPGA pro Jennifer Kirby, after a disappointing second round 77.
“She told me, ‘Don’t worry about making the 100. Make the top-10 your goal.’” Collier said.
After shooting (the low round of the day), a 5-under 67, that goal may be within reach for the Birmingham, Ala., native who sits at even par 216 and tied for __ going into the final round.
“It was a solid day,” Collier said. “I was hitting it well and made a lot of putts but it could have been much better since I didn’t make any birdies on the par-5s.”
Collier is hoping to take the Qualifying School route to join Kirby and several of her former Crimson Tide teammates on the LPGA Tour.
“Going into my freshman year at Alabama I wouldn’t have considered myself a tier one player but with the help of Coach Mic Potter I have developed into a good player,” Collier said. “Now I’m thinking that if I can play with people like Jennifer and Brooke Pancake, and they can make it to the LPGA, then why can’t I.”
BRITTANY HENDERSON LOOKING TO ADVANCE WITH SISTER BROOKE ON THE BAG: Brittany Henderson was able to post her low round of the week with a third day 70 to jump up to a tie for 55th entering the final day of Stage I.
“It’s been going good,” Henderson said. “The competition is tough. I was expecting it to be hard but it’s been more than I thought coming in but you can’t focus on that. You just have to focus on yourself and what you’re doing out here.”
Henderson is one of several golfers making their first trip to Stage I of LPGA qualifying school and has chosen her younger sister Brooke, who finished 10th at the U.S. women’s and is the No. 2 ranked amateur in the world, to carry the bag for her during the week.
“It’s a nice week for her because we have a cart,” Brittany joked. “At all of the events I’ve been the caddy I’ve had to actually carry her bag.”
Brittany has served as Brooke’s caddy on numerous occasions including her U.S. Open appearances.
“It’s awesome I love having her,” Brittany continued. “We work well together. We have similar games and similar game strategies. She also knows how to handle me when I’m up and handle me when I’m down.”
The Henderson sisters know that another good day will get Brittany on to the next stage in Venice, Fla.
“I’ve been striking the ball a lot better and giving myself closer looks for birdie,” Brittany Henderson said. “I’ve just got to go out with a similar approach to today and get myself in position to make some birdies.”
ACE HELPS JUSTINE LEE GET INTO THE HUNT: Justine Lee entered her third round of Qualifying School Stage I in a tie for 97th looking for a spark to help turn her game around. That spark came when Lee struck her 8 iron on the par-3, 11th hole and buried it for a hole-in-one.
“I wasn’t striking it too well so I actually turned away,” Lee confessed. “I was just happy that it was going to hit the green but then my playing partners started celebrating and told me that it went in the hole.”
The ace at the 154 yard hole on the Palmer Course was the first one made in competition this week and the third of Lee’s playing career.
While the ace was impressive so was the way that Lee battled throughout the day to post a 2-under round of 70. Lee turned in 38 after three bogeys and a birdie on the front but rallied for a bogey-free back nine which included the ace and birdies on 10 and 18 to take her to 4-over for the tournament and a tie for ___.
This week isn’t Lee’s first experience with Qualifying School as she got to Stage II in 2012 but suffered a wrist injury which caused her to have hand surgery and miss nearly a year of golf.
“I took a lot of steps back,” Lee admitted. “It took nearly a year to recover but Arizona State helped a lot with everything. Obviously they helped physically but they also helped me to get back to where I needed to be mentally as well.”
With her health and game back Lee is once again looking to chase down her LPGA dreams.
“I’m going to keep going as I am and hopefully push through.”
CARLEIGH SILVERS HOPING SECOND TIME IS A CHARM: Carleigh Silvers missed making the top-100 last season during her first attempt at Stage I. After tying the low round of the tournament with a 66 to sit at 3-under for the tournament, Silvers looks to be in good shape to make it to the Second Stage.
“It’s nice going into tomorrow not having to shoot a certain number and try to really go low,” Silvers said. “I put myself in a good position where I can just go out and play tomorrow. I still want to go out and do well. I’m not going to not care but I can just go and play golf, relax and have fun and hopefully shoot another good score.”
The Northern Colorado grad has played on multiple tours since failing to make it through Q1 last season including the Cactus, Canadian and most recently the Symetra Tour. Silvers has credited her time on Symetra to the improvement in her game entering Stage I.
“It’s good to be out there playing on Symetra because there are a lot of good girls and there is a cut after two rounds so you’ve got to play well and it’s a really good experience with some really good competition,” Silvers said. “If I can’t make it through Q School I want to be on Symetra and try and finish top-10 and get my card that way so it’s been good to get a start on there and see what that’s like.”