Sunday, December 6, 2015

A Dream Come True for New LPGA Members

They played 90 holes over a grueling 5 day period, but it all ended Sunday with 20 players earning their category 12 playing cards. Simin Feng led wire to wire to claim medalist honors.

“I’m very excited,” Feng said with a smile. “Last year I had a really bad final day to finish sixth in Q-School but this year I got it done with a win. I’m looking for better things to happen for me.”

Twenty-nine additional players will get a category 17 (limited) playing card, but make no mistake about it, this was all about finishing in the top 20. Three players tied for the last spot and had to go to a 3 hole playoff to determine which 2 players would get full time status. Unfortunately for Christine Song, she was the player eliminated and fell to a category 17 card. 

There were 157 players who teed it up on Wednesday and the field was cut to 70 and ties after 72 holes. All players that completed 72 holes did receive Symetra Tour membership in Category D.

For the top 20 players it was a dream come true as many of them were receiving their cards for the very first time. It was a particularly good showing by the U.S. who had eight players finish in the top 20. Thailand was next with four. South Korea, who sent so many great players to the LPGA last year, did not have a single rookie finish among the 49 players receiving cards. Julie Yang, who receives her card for the second time, was that country's only player to survive. In Gee Chun, who won the U.S. Women's Open this year as a non LPGA player, did not have to go to Q-School and will be the heavy favorite for rookie honors in 2016. 

Annie Park (of the U.S.), who received LPGA membership when she finished first on that tour's money list this year, also figures to be among the best 2016 rookies. Annie played in just 10 tournaments and won 3 of them. Is the top 



Megan Khang was the top amateur in the 2015 U.S. Open
  
All in all, 22 players from the U.S, and 8 players from Thailand would go on to receive LPGA membership.

This was a dream come true for twenty players. Here is a list of the 20 players who received category 12 playing cards for 2016:

1    Simin Feng                            65-70-69-69-69 - 342 (-18)

2    Grace Na                               70-69-69-72-69 - 349 (-11)
     Budsabakorn Sukapan           68-73-67-71-70 - 349 (-11)

4    Cyna Rodriguez                    71-71-70-67-71 - 350 (-10)
      Maude-Aimee LeBlanc          71-67-72-69-71 - 350 (-10)
 6    Megan Khang                       69-72-68-70-72 - 351 (-9)
      Cydney Clanton                     67-70-69-72-73 - 351 (-9)

8    Ashlan Ramsey                     70-71-69-75-67 - 352 (-8)
      Laetitia Beck                          71-70-70-70-71 - 352 (-8)

10   Nontaya Srisawang              71-73-69-67-73 - 353 (-7)
      Gaby Lopez (a)                     68-72-70-70-73 - 353 (-7)
      Julie Yang                             66-69-72-71-75 - 353 (-7)

13   Cheyenne Woods                71-69-72-73-69 - 354 (-6)
       Sandra Changkija                71-71-68-71-73 - 354 (-6)

15  Holly Clyburn                        72-70-73-71-69 - 355 (-5)
      Bertine Strauss                     69-73-72-70-71 - 355 (-5)
      Lindy Duncan                       70-72-71-71-71 - 355 (-5)
      Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras   70-73-71-69-72 - 355 (-5)

19  Benyapa Niphatsophon        69-70-75-73-69 - 356 (-4)
      Jing Yan                               70-72-72-67-75 - 356 (-4)

Of the 20 players that earned full cards, five are teenagers including Pannarat Thanapolbooyaras, the youngest player in the field at 17. She will turn 18 on December 29. The other four teenagers that earned cards are Budsabakorn Sukapan (T2, 18), Megan Khang (T6, 18), Jing Yan (T19, 19) and Benyapa Niphatsophon (T19, 18). 

Cheyenne Woods (Phoenix, Ariz.) earned her LPGA Tour Card for the second consecutive season thanks to a final round 69. "It’s such a grind out here every single shot every day,” Woods admitted. “To be done with the week feels great. My season is officially over now and it feels great to have a round like this to finish off the year. I feel great with how I played today and I feel like I gave it my all.”

Woods, who finished T13 for the week, now has another shot at competing on the LPGA Tour after an up-and-down rookie season.

“I wasn’t happy with how I played this year so I love to have the opportunity this next year to improve and get better with every tournament,” Woods said. “I didn’t want to give my card away. I wanted to get that thing back this year so it feels good to have played well this week.”

Megan Khang (Rockland, Mass.) turned professional last week in advance of the final stage of LPGA Qualifying School and was able to earn her 2016 LPGA Tour card by finishing T6 at 9-under.

“Great decision on that,” Khang said with a smile following her round. “I’m still letting it sink in. I haven’t really thought about it. I’m still thinking about my back nine but it doesn’t matter. I made the top-20 and that was my goal heading into this week so while I’m disappointed I’m excited for next year to start.”

Khang, who was the low amateur at this year’s U.S. Women’s Open, wrapped up her spot in the top-20 with a final round 72.

Ashlan Ramsey (Milledgeville, Ga.) had the low round of the day, a 5-under 67, to climb into the top-10 and earn her LPGA Tour card for 2016.

“It’s a whole crazy range of emotions right now,” Ramsey said. “I played really well this week. I worked really hard coming into this week and it was such a grind mentally and physically. I’m exhausted right now but I’m so happy to have come here and accomplished my goal.”

Following her last putt on the 18th, Ramsey was greeted by her parents, boyfriend and the family dog who drove down to surprise her.

“It’s crazy. I don’t even have words for it. I had no idea that they were coming. I’m just thankful that they’re here to share this experience with me.”

Credit also goes to Ramsey’s caddie, Mark, who worked LPGA Qualifying Tournament for Alison Lee in 2014. 

As I stated above, twenty-nine additional players received category 17 playing cards. These players will be playing mostly on the Symetra tour in 2016. They are players that finished 21st through 45 (and ties). Last year's 21st place finisher wound up #172 on the 2015 Priority List. Since most full field events have 144 players, it is very unlikely that they will be playing in many (if any) LPGA events in 2016. Last year Charley Hull was the only category 17 player to retain her card for the 2016 season, as a result of her play. She did so by taking advantage of her limited opportunities, and then getting reshuffled into a better position on the priority list. The LPGA has 2 reshuffles during the year for categories 16 through 21.

Here is a list of players that received limited category 17 LPGA membership:

 21  Christine Song                      65-71-73-71-76 - 356 (-4)

22   Wichanee Meechai              71-73-70-74-69 - 357 (-3)
      Ally McDonald                       74-70-70-73-70 - 357 (-3)
      Stephanie Kono                    73-74-71-68-71 - 357 (-3)
      Victoria Elizabeth                  70-70-71-68-78 - 357 (-3)

26   Briana Mao                          73-75-69-73-68 - 358 (-2)
      Marion Ricordeau                 73-73-71-72-69 - 358 (-2)
      Prima Thammaraks              70-72-75-68-73 - 358 (-2)
      Jiayi Zhou                             74-72-68-71-73 - 358 (-2)
      Brittany Altomare                  72-70-72-69-75 - 358 (-2)
      *Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong  70-68-72-73-75 - 358 (-2)

32   Su Oh                                  70-77-68-73-71 - 359 (-1)
      Demi Runas                         71-72-70-73-73 - 359 (-1)
      Heather Bowie Young          69-76-71-67-76 - 359 (-1)
      Pavarisa Yoktuan                 69-73-68-72-77 - 359 (-1)

36  Ani Gulugian                         73-71-73-71-72 - 360 (E)
      Karlin Beck                           71-73-71-72-73 - 360 (E)
      Anne-Catherine Tanguay     72-73-68-73-74 - 360 (E)
      Nicole Jeray                          71-70-72-72-75 - 360 (E)
      Ssu Chia Cheng                   70-73-73-67-77 - 360 (E)

41  Caroline Westrup                  73-72-72-70-74 - 361 (+1)
     Samantha Richdale               70-74-70-73-74 - 361 (+1)

43   Chie Arimura                        78-69-74-70-71 - 362 (+2)
     CĂ©line Herbin                         71-71-76-73-71 - 362 (+2)
     Jaclyn Jansen                        72-78-65-75-72 - 362 (+2)
     Ginger Howard                       72-75-72-70-73 - 362 (+2)
     Jean Reynolds                       71-72-75-71-73 - 362 (+2)
     Hannah Collier                       69-72-73-75-73 - 362 (+2)
     Paz Echeverria                      78-72-67-70-75 - 362 (+2)

* To be referred to on here as Sherman S forever more, as I don't ever want to have to type that name again. ;-)

The following players made the 72 hole cut, but did not play well enough to receive LPGA membership.

50   Dori Carter                           68-74-71-75-75 - 363 (+3)
     Becky Morgan                        72-75-68-72-76 - 363 (+3)
     Nicole Broch Larsen              73-71-73-69-77 - 363 (+3)

53   Marta Sanz Barrio               75-74-75-67-73 - 364 (+4)
     Natalie Sheary                      72-72-71-75-74 - 364 (+4)
     Jeongeun Lee                       76-68-72-73-75 - 364 (+4)
     Jackie Stoelting                     73-72-68-74-77 - 364 (+4)

57   Brittany Benvenuto              72-72-77-70-74 - 365 (+5)
     Nannette Hill                          69-77-72-73-74 - 365 (+5)
     Stacey Keating                      75-73-70-71-76 - 365 (+5)
     Madeleine Sheils                   75-70-72-72-76 - 365 (+5)
     Jacey Chun                           70-72-71-76-76 - 365 (+5)
     Anne-Lise Caudal                  74-68-73-72-78 - 365 (+5)
     Haeji Kang                             69-73-73-72-78 - 365 (+5)

64   Jessica Wallace                   74-75-69-73-75 - 366 (+6)
     Giulia Sergas                         71-72-71-73-79 - 366 (+6)

66   Carlie Yadloczky                  72-76-72-71-76 - 367 (+7)
     Shannon Fish                        72-77-70-72-76 - 367 (+7)
     Therese O'Hara                     71-71-74-73-78 - 367 (+7)

69   Katy Harris                           71-77-72-70-79 - 369 (+9)

70   Lindsay Gahm                      73-69-74-75-79 - 370 (+10)
     Caroline Martens                    74-75-71-70-80 - 370 (+10)


72   Lauren Mielbrecht                 71-76-70-74-80 - 371 (+11)


Note: A number of the above quotes were taken, with permission, from the Symetra tour.


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