DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Lorena Ochoa talked about the summer of 2002 when she was recently inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. After dominating college golf at Arizona, Ochoa set out on an exhausting stretch on what was then known as the Futures Tour, winning three times in 10 starts to clinch her LPGA card. Back then only three players earned LPGA cards, and Ochoa topped the money list.
Now there are 10 players who “graduate” from the Symetra Tour each season. But qualifying for the LPGA off a limited schedule is a tall task. Annie Park did it in 2015, winning three times in 11 starts after wrapping up her career at USC.
Katelyn Dambaugh’s run wasn’t as glamorous, but the South Carolina grad got the job done in short order with nine top-20 finishes in 12 starts after graduating in May. The entire Symetra schedule included 22 events.
“My ultimate goal was to play was well as I could to crack the top 25 and get exempt into the final stage of Q-School,” said Dambaugh.
The left-handed player exceeded expectations by finishing 10th on the money list, despite missed cuts to bookend her season. Now she has plenty of time to rest up an injured hand before the LPGA season starts next year in the Bahamas.
Dambaugh, a native of Goose Creek, S.C., posted the lowest career scoring average in South Carolina history, 72.67, and won the SEC Championship her senior year.