DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – When Kathleen Ekey, 27, was bumped from the top 100 spots on the LPGA money list after the CME Group Titleholders, she entered Q-School to try to improve her status for 2014. It worked. At 10-under 350 for 90 holes at LPGA International, Ekey tied for seventh and earned full status for next season. For Ekey, a 2010 Alabama graduate who will enter her third year on the LPGA, the notoriously stressful Q-School experience hardly seemed to cause a blip in her blood pressure.
After a last-minute entry, what did you do to regroup for this?
Ekey: I had been playing and practicing but definitely not going at it hard to get ready for Q-School. I felt comfortable; I had been playing well.
This is your third trip to Q-School in four years. Does it ever feel like deja vu?
Ekey: It’s a hard week, and you just have to make the best of it. There’s such a big difference between five rounds and four rounds. You just really have to stay patient.
At what point do you become comfortable with the concept of Q-School and the stress that goes with it?
Ekey: I might look comfortable, but at the end of the day it’s still Q-School. You’re either going to do it or you’re not, and that in itself is a little stressful. This year, it’s not like I had lost my status. I knew I still had LPGA status, but I wasn’t going to be happy. That’s why I came here. I don’t know if it ever gets any easier, but maybe you just learn a little more. God help me; I hope I don’t have to ever come back.
It was a weird leaderboard this week – spread out and very low at the top.
Ekey: We had good scoring conditions, and it’s a testament maybe to how much better women’s golf is getting.