Kristen Gillman among several college players to advance to LPGA Q-Series

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Kristen Gillman among several college players to advance to LPGA Q-Series

LPGA Tour

Kristen Gillman among several college players to advance to LPGA Q-Series

Jaclyn Lee celebrated advancing through another phase of the Q-School gauntlet by digging into homework. The Ohio State finance major is one of several college standouts who qualified for the LPGA’s new Q-Series by finishing among the top 34 and ties in Venice, Fla.

“For professional golfers, Q-School is your job interview,” said Lee. “It only happens once a year and that’s your shot.”

This year was tougher than most with a significantly smaller number of players advancing through the second stage. And it doesn’t get any easier from here. Instead of the usual 90 holes, players will compete in two, four-day tournaments with cumulative scores over eight rounds for a $150,000 purse. Lee, who will have only one class remaining in her final semester at Ohio State, is among several promising college players who might start their LPGA careers earlier than expected.

Lee finished in a tie for 13th at Plantation Golf and Country Club with two-time U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Kristen Gillman, a junior at Alabama, Georgia’s Bailey Tardy and Miami’s Dewi Weber. Robyn Choi, an Aussie who plays for Colorado, tied for 21st.

Kyung Kim and Amy Boulden shared medalist honors at the second stage, finishing at 10-under 278. Former UCLA standout and Solheim Cup player Alison Lee tied for fourth.

Gillman, who closed with a 3-under 69, said she knew at this time last year that she wanted to give Q-School a try in 2018. She’ll be joined at the Q-Series by teammate Lauren Stephenson, who earned a spot in the revamped final stage via her No. 1 ranking in the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings at the end of the 2017-18 season. Players ranked in the top 5 received an exemption into the final stage.

Gillman said head coach Mic Potter has known of her Q-School plans for quite some time.

“He has been really supportive,” said Gillman, “and he keeps telling me he thinks I’m ready to compete out there.”

The LPGA has instituted a new rule that would allow college players to defer tour membership until after the spring semester. Lee said she hasn’t thought that far ahead to know what she’d do.

The inaugural Q-Series will take place at Pinehurst Resort. The first 72 holes will be staged on course No. 6 from Oct. 24-27, and the next four rounds on course No. 7 from Oct. 31-Nov. 3.

There were 193 players who teed it up this week in the second stage. Players who completed 72 holes but did not advance to the Q-Series received Symetra Tour status for 2019. Two big-time players missed out on advancing to the Q-Series by one shot: Duke grad Leona Maguire and Andrea Lee of Stanford.

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