While the PGA was holding its Q-School in La Quinta, California, the LPGA held its own qualifying tournament to present 20 women with LPGA Tour cards for 2013.
LPGA Q-School consisted of five rounds over two courses at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Florida. The Champions Course was designed by Rees Jones and opened in 1994. The Legends Course was designed by Arthur Hills and opened for play in 1997.
Rebecca Lee-Bentham from Toronto, Canada and Moriya Jutanugarn tied for medalist honors at 13 under par for the five rounds. Jutanugarn had the lead after four rounds but shot a two over par 74 while Lee-Bentham fired a final round five under par 67.
Ayako Uehara finished in third place and already is a three-time winner in Japan.
Kathleen Ekey from Akron, Ohio finished fourth. She earned her 2012 LPGA Tour card by being the leading money winner on the Symetra Tour in 2011. She had an unsuccessful rookie season on the LPGA and will get a second chance in 2013.
Lisa McCloskey from Houston, Texas was a standout in college and a Curtis Cup team member. She was eight-under par for the week and will enjoy life on the LPGA next year.
Chie Arimura has 13 wins on the Japan Ladies Professional Golf Association. Although she has plenty of experience in Japan she will still be a rookie on the LPGA. Expect Ms. Arimura to adapt to the U.S. and perform well on the LPGA.
Felicity Johnson is from England and has two wins on the Ladies European Tour. She has played professionally since 2006 and is a seasoned professional.
Laura Diaz is a 13-year veteran with two wins on the LPGA but found herself back in Q-School. She had a very forgettable year in 2012 with no top-10 finishes and only earned $43,000. She will definitely be looking for a better year in 2013.
Kalin Beck from Alabama first earned her card in 2011 but made only three cuts in 14 starts that year. A little older and a little wiser hopefully will help her next year.
Stephanie Sherlock from Ontario, Canada was the 10th qualifier. She earned $52,000 in her rookie season in 2011 but took time away from golf in 2012 and only earned $14,000 for the year. Finishing this high in Q-School should give her a needed confidence boost heading into next season.
Kayla Mortellaro, Kim Welch, Brooke Pancake, Austin Ernst, Caroline Masson, Marina Stuetz, Lauren Doughtie, Nicole Jeray, Taylore Karle and Irene Cho round out the Top 20.
Perhaps the bigger story is who didn’t make it through Q-School and back onto the LPGA.
Christina Kim had a terrible year on tour and has been a star on the LPGA since 2003. She has even been a member of the U.S. Solheim Cup Team. She battled some off-course issues in 2012 and only earned $38,000 in 19 starts this year. She has two wins and has earned over $4 million in her career. Christina will have limited status on the LPGA next year. Hopefully she will regain her form and become the fiery competitor that we have seen in the past.
Sara Brown from Golf Channel’s Big Break failed to qualify, shooting two over par for the five rounds and finishing T-49.