LPGA Q-School: Player-by-player breakdowns
Sunday, December 2, 2012
Photos: LPGA Q-School, Final Day
Check out LPGA Q-School images from our Tracy Wilcox, who was in Daytona Beach, Fla. for the final day.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- LPGA Q-School for 2012 is in the books and the 20 players that have earned their cards can enjoy the holidays a bit more this year.
Here is a player-by-player look at the 20 to advance:
T-1. Moriya Jutanugarn, 18, Bangkok, Thailand: One half of the Jutanugarn juggernaut, Moriya will arrive on the LPGA with a steady, mature game that should ensure rookie success. She will spend 2013 outside the shadow of younger sister Ariya, who will tee it up at LET Q-School next week.
T-1. Rebecca Lee-Bentham, 20, Toronto, Canada: Former Texas player has a knack for Sundays at Q-School, firing her second consecutive final-round 67 over the Champions Course. Lee-Bentham played in 14 events as a rookie in 2012 and made only $16,449. She considers her work ethic and mental fortitude the strongest parts of her game.
3. Ayako Uehara, 28, Chura-shima, Japan: One of two Japanese players to earn a card, Uehara comes to the LPGA with three JLPGA victories. She hails from Okinawa, the same area of Japan as Ai and Mika Miyazato. Uehara was the only player to shoot under par all five rounds of Q-School.
4. Kathleen Ekey, 26, Akron, Ohio: The 2011 Symetra money leader chipped in twice to shoot a final-round 65 and easily earn back her card. Ekey had a rough rookie year on the LPGA, making only three cuts. This should put more pep in her step for 2013.
T-5. Lisa McCloskey, 21, Houston, Texas: It’s no surprise that McCloskey, a Curtis Cup player and standout college player, breezed through to get her card. What was slightly surprising, however, is that the accident-prone McCloskey didn’t seem to have any bandages or obvious wounds, at least from afar. McCloskey can go crazy low, but the consistency she showed at Q-School speaks to a more mature player.
T-5. Chie Arimura, 25, Kumamoto, Japan: A 13-time winner on the JLPGA, Arimura is ranked 19th in the world. Her instructor, Kevin Smeltz, said she’s an extremely strong iron player and carries herself with a very business-like demeanor. Arimura wanted to play well for her fellow tour players so they could see that the road to the LPGA is attainable.
7. Felicity Johnson, 25, Birmingham, England: Two-time winner on the Ladies European Tour recorded five top-10 finishes in 2012. Left school at age 16 to concentrate on her golf game, turning pro in 2006. Red-headed player goes by the nickname “Flic.”
T-8. Laura Diaz, 37, Scotia, N.Y.: Two-time winner on the LPGA found herself back at Q-School with a nagging wrist injury that surgery didn’t fix. What did she learn in school? “I’m still as good as I once was, and I can be great again.”
T-8. Karlin Beck, 25, Pike Road, Ala.: Auburn alumna who walked on for the Tigers after one year at Birmingham Southern. Qualified for the LPGA on her first attempt in 2011, and made three cuts in 14 starts as a rookie in 2012.
10. Stephanie Sherlock, 25, Barrie, Ontario: Denver standout and former Team Canada member took time a break from competitive golf in her second year on tour, not playing from August to November. Ranked No. 16 in putting average (29.48) on the LPGA this season.
T-11. Marina Stuetz, 19, Yarrawonaa, Austria: When the nearly 6-foot-tall Stuetz finished runner-up at the European Amateur, she decided it might be time to test her skills against the professionals. She came to the U.S. 3 1/2 months ago and began training with her coach, Tom Burnett, at his academy in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. The bespectacled Stuetz began studying business and economics at a university in Austria 18 months ago but now might put that degree on hold.
T-11. Caroline Masson, 23, Gladbeck, Germany: Played one year for Oklahoma State, and was a two-time European Junior Solheim Cupper. Won the LET Qualifying School in 2009 and turned professional immediately after. Won the 2012 South African Women’s Open.
T-11. Brooke Pancake, 22, Chattanooga, Tenn.: Pancake turned pro after helping Alabama win the NCAA Championship last May and competing on the U.S. Curtis Cup team in Scotland. She leaves Monday for Taiwan’s Swinging Skirts event and then plans to go into “hibernation.” The friendly blonde has landed several sponsorship deals while playing in pro-ams the last few months. Not surprisingly, her agent plans to talk to IHOP.
T-11. Austin Ernst, 20, Seneca, S.C.: Left LSU after end of sophomore season and turned professional before final stage. Won three tournaments as a Tiger, including 2011 NCAA Championship. The Curtis Cupper has made one LPGA start, on a sponsor exemption at the 2012 Kraft Nabisco Championship, making the cut.
T-11. Kayla Mortellaro, 22, Phoenix, Ariz.: Recorded 10 collegiate victories at Idaho, the most in program history, while averaging 72.8 for her career. Climbed 101 spots on Q-School leaderboard to earn her card after first-round 79.
T-11. Kim Welch, 29, Sacramento, Calif.: Former Big Breaker played less in 2012 without a main sponsor, spending loads of time reading self-help books and practicing yoga. While on the beach earlier in the week getting on her “zen,” Welch’s car was broken into and her Gucci purse stolen. She got one card back, however, and it assures her a place to play in 2013.
*T-17. Taylore Karle, 22, Scottsdale, Ariz.: Former Pepperdine player goes by the nickname “Hammer T” for her ability to hammer down on closing holes. Karle birdied the last two holes of the three-hole aggregate playoff to finish 2 under. Has come a long way since missing the cut at the first stage of Q-School in 2011. Monday-qualified for seven LPGA events over her career.
*T-17. Lauren Doughtie, 25, Suffolk, Va.: North Carolina State grad won once on the Symetra Tour in 2012 and finished 21st on the money list. Like Karle, Doughtie birdied the last two holes of the three-hole playoff to secure her card. Interestingly enough, Doughtie’s victory at the Ladies Titan Tire Challenge came via a playoff.
*T-17. Irene Cho, 28, La Habra, Calif.: LPGA veteran took a medical in 2011 due a thumb injury. The time off was probably good for Cho, who struggled after losing best friend Erica Blasberg to suicide in 2010. She credits Christina Kim and Cristie Kerr for being pillars of strength for her in the last two years. Kim watched Cho sink a two-foot birdie putt on the fifth playoff hole to get back her card.
*T-17. Nicole Jeray, 42, Berwyn, Ill.: First trip to Q-School was back in 1993. Jeray has been to every School since but one, in 1995. Jeray birdied the 18th three times on Sunday, twice in the playoff. She made a 20-foot birdie putt on her fifth playoff hole to earn one of the last two cards. The narcoleptic credited her success to a 20-minute nap in the car after regulation play.