One of the rights of passage for golfers that want to be “on tour” is Q-school (or as the LPGA likes to call it, LPGA Qualifying Tournaments.) The LPGA kicks-off the 2012 tournaments today, September 4th with the first of three stages. The three stages culminate in December with the final event determining which golfers get “LPGA Membership” for the 2013 golf season.
Overview of the LPGA Q-School Tournament process:
If you want to learn all the details you can go to the LPGA website and download the PDF’s. The information below is a basic overview for those interested in the stages of qualifying.
Stage I – Takes place from September 4 to September 7, 2012 and is 72-holes of stroke play competition. The total field is 240 players. The players must be 18-years-old by January 1, 2013 (the age requirement to play on the LPGA tour unless the player petitions for a special exemption.) The players also pay a $1,500 entry fee to compete. The top 60 plus ties will advance to Stage II.
Stage II – Takes place from October 9 to October 12, 2012 and is 72-holes of stroke play competition. The total field is 216 players. This stage includes the players advancing from stage I and players from the Symetra Tour, Class A LPGA members (they are not on tour right now), Rolex-Ranked players, and CN (Canadian Tour) Qualifiers. The entrance fee is $1,500 for the Stage 1 qualifiers and $3,000 for the other players. The top 70 plus ties will advance to Stage III.
Stage III – Takes place November 28-December 2, 2012 and is 90-holes of stroke play competition (with a 72-hole cut.) This stage will include the players from Stage II, Symetra tour (money leaders that did not get their card as part of the Volvik Race for the Card ) and current LPGA tour players that need to improve their status. The goal of all the players from stage three is to get full-status to be eligible for all LPGA events. The entrance fee for Stage III is $2,500. The top players will get LPGA “membership” (number of members and status are TBD) and all other players will get Symetra Tour status for 2013.
It is important to note that player status ties to the LPGA Player Priority List which is “used to fill all Standard Eligibility Tournament fields.” For example, in the 2012 season, the top 80 players on the money list from 2011 have first priority to play in tournaments. The next group on the “priority list” is the top 20 players in career earnings money list (e.g. in 2012 only one player has this status, Laura Davies). The priority list has many status categories and the lower the priority status the less likely a player will get into a tournament. You can access the current 2012 list at the LPGA website, Player drop down menu will provide a link to the Priority List PDF.
Players to watch in Stage 1:
If you are a golf geek, you will recognize the names of the players that I will be following in stage I of Q-school. They are Cheyenne Woods, Jaye Marie Green, and Brooke Pancake.
(1) Cheyenne Woods is the niece of Tiger and so everyone will be watching to see if she makes the LPGA tour. Woods turned professional in May 2012 and won her first event on the Suncoast Series where the top prize money was $3,000. The Suncost series is a mini-tour. Think of the Suncost mini-tour as equivalent to Double-A minor league baseball — a step below the Triple-A league (e.g. in women’s golf the Symetra Tour). Of course, the “major league” equivalent in women’s golf is the LPGA.
(2) Jaye Marie Green is an amateur that I followed during the US Women’s Amateur. Green’s claim to fame is that she came in second behind Lydia Ko. Green is ranked 5th in the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR). Considering how “hot” Ko is right now, I was impressed with how Green competed in the final day of match play at the US Women’s Amateur.
(3) Brooke Pancake caught my attention when she clinched a final putt to help her college team, Alabama, win the NCAA National title. Pancake also won the 2012 Honda Sports Award in golf, given annually to the nation’s top female collegiate golfer. I will admit that Pancake’s personal story is very moving. In her senior year in high school her father committed suicide and it is impressive that she has done so well after such a tragic loss. Pancake turned professional in June 2012 and plays on the Symentra tour.
Golf Channel Big Break Atlantis Players at Q-School
If you are a Big Break fan, you will be happy to know that a number of Golf Channel cast members from Big Break Atlantis are playing in Stage I. The six players to watch in Stage I are: Shannon Fish, Natalia Ghilzon, Meghan Hardin, Allison Micheletti, Christina Stockton, and Kelly Villarreal.
The winner of Big Break Atlantis, Marcela Leon; and the 2nd place finisher (and fan favorite), Selanee Henderson are already listed in the preliminary field for the Stage II tournament. Gloriana Soto and Anya Alvarez are also listed in the Stage II Preliminary field.