WINTER HAVEN, Fla. – Futures Tour Q-School might be a necessary step for aspiring pros, but it’s also proven itself to be a reliable skill test for the top college players. That much is obvious after a quick glance at the field.
For the most part, the college season has come to an end, but this week’s marquee event is missing two key players in USC senior Lizette Salas and LSU senior Megan McChrystal.
With the Pac-10/SEC Challenge currently under way at Stanford (Calif.) Golf Course in California, the two players decided instead to attend Futures Tour Q-School to get an early taste of what they might face after graduation this spring. McChrystal made the decision in August that she would skip the college event, and head coach Karen Bahnsen agreed that Winter Haven was exactly where she needed to be this week.
“It was easier in August when I decided,” McChrystal said of not being with her team, ranked No. 1 by Golfweek. McChrystal is Golfweek’s top-ranked individual.
McChrystal finished T-37 (7-over 295), and even though she’ll finish her senior year and graduate from LSU in the spring, she admitted that her final season could be a little different with this experience under her belt. Gearing up to play as an individual rather than with her team took some mental adjustments.
“Now I just kind of want to keep doing this in January,” she said.
As for Salas, she only consulted McChrystal at the beginning of the college season, figuring out when Futures Q-School would fall, then clearing it with head coach Andrea Gaston. Salas is the only senior in the USC lineup, and had Gaston not been able to find a replacement, Salas was prepared to play two days in Florida and fly back to California to play with the team. Good thing she didn’t have to, as she finished T-5 this week at 1-under 287.
Playing at Stanford also was an especially difficult tournament for her to miss since she won an event there as a sophomore.
“I kind of acted like this was a college event,” she said. “It should help my game for next semester.”