Muni He leads as LPGA Q-Series reaches midway point

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Muni He leads as LPGA Q-Series reaches midway point

LPGA Tour

Muni He leads as LPGA Q-Series reaches midway point

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LPGA Q-Series, the longest tournament in golf, has reached the midway point. The eight-round event with cumulative scores now moves to the Jack Nicklaus-designed Pinehurst Course No. 9 after the first four rounds were held on the No. 6. Play resumes on Oct. 30.

Muni He, a former USC player who won on the Symetra Tour in 2018 and boasts one of the largest social media followings in women’s golf, leads the 98-player field at 9-under 275. She’s two strokes ahead of Emma Talley, Lauren Coughlin and Maia Schechter.

He, 20, finished tied for 27th at the inaugural Q-Series last year to earn Category 14 status for the 2019 season. The native of Chengdu, China, made eight cuts in 19 events on the LPGA as a rookie this year, earning $33,315. Last week she tied for 38th at the Buick LPGA Shanghai event but didn’t make any official money as she competed on a sponsor exemption.

Next Saturday the top 45 players and ties will receive Category 14 membership on the LPGA Tour Priority List for 2020. There will be a cut after the sixth round (Thursday) to the top 80 and ties. The unofficial purse is $150,000.

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School ties

There are five college standouts in the field at Pinehurst. Jennifer Chang of USC has already stated her plans to turn professional regardless of how she finishes. Players have the option to defer their LPGA cards until after the NCAA Championship in May, like Jennifer Kupcho and Maria Fassi did last year.

Here’s how they currently stand (Golfweek rank in parenthesis):

  • T-14 (1) Andrea Lee, Stanford
  • T-14 (3) Jennifer Chang, USC
  • T-24 (4) Albane Valenzuela, Stanford
  • T-62 (9) Sierra Brooks, Florida
  • T-64 (33) Frida Kinhult, Florida State

“I’m kind of taking everything step by step,” said Brooks at the start of the event. “I thought it was really nice that we are able to declare pro after the season. That’s the direction I’d like to go in, but I do realize as well I’d miss the first 9 or 10 (LPGA) events.”

Other notables in the field

Yealimi Noh came awfully close to winning as a non-member on the LPGA in 2019. She dropped to a share of 14th after a fourth-round 77. Haley Moore, the Cinderella of the 2018 NCAA Championship, is in a share of 36th with former Solheim Cup player Alison Lee and Rachel Rohanna. In a move that might seem unusual but is fairly standard for Rohanna, she flew home to Pennsylvania in the middle of the eight-round event to take part in the Halloween parade with her daughter, Gemelia. Karine Icher, a mother of two on the LPGA, is T-43.

Two of the most well-known names in the field, Christina Kim (T-57) and Cheyenne Woods (T-75), have their work cut out.

But this is, after all, the longest event in golf. And with four rounds remaining on a completely different golf course, plenty can change. With that in mind, check out Joanna Klatten, one of the longest players in the game who is last in the field at Q-Series but keeping true to her caddie on a bogey bet.

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