STILLWATER, Okla. – At least four of the top five players in the Golfweek/Sagarin Rankings will be headed to the final stage of the new LPGA Q-Series. The LPGA announced last fall that the top five players following the NCAA Championship will receive an exemption into the eight-round, two-tournament series, bypassing the first two traditional stages held in California and Florida.
Jennifer Kupcho, the 2018 NCAA individual champion, said she’ll be headed to Pinehurst for the event, held Oct. 22-Nov. 3. But should she secure LPGA status, Kupcho plans to defer, a new option this year, until she wraps up her final year at Wake Forest.
Arkansas junior Maria Fassi, a seven-time winner this season, said the same.
“I want to finish my career hosting nationals next year!” Fassi messaged. Arkansas will host the 2019 NCAA Championship at its home course, The Blessings Golf Course in Fayetteville.
Junior Lauren Stephenson told Alabama head coach Mic Potter before the NCAA Championship that she planned to compete in the Q Series before the team even arrived in Stillwater, Okla. Stephenson finished the year No. 1 in the Golfweek/Sagarins.
Stephenson plans to defer if she can only manage partial (lower) status in Pinehurst, but said it would be hard to put a full card on hold for six months.
Two UCLA players ended the season in the top five: junior Lilia Vu (No. 2) and freshman Patty Tavatanakit (No. 4). Vu said she was definitely going to Q Series but wasn’t sure if she’d defer. Tavatanakit was the only one who wouldn’t commit to participating.
“I still have to talk to my dad about it,” she said.
The top 45 finishers at the Q-Series will receive category 14 LPGA membership, with the rest earning Symetra Tour status. Players will be ranked in the category based on how they finish. In previous years, the top 20 players earned full cards.