Lee-Bentham & Sherlock On Verge of LPGA Return

Rebecca Lee-Bentham (File Photo: Golf Canada)

There were plenty of raised eyebrows last November when Rebecca Lee-Bentham decided to run professional after just one year at the University of Texas.

Just months after winning the 2011 Canada Women’s Amateur Championship Rebecca was off to LPGA Tour Qualifying.

It was a gamble that paid off, sort of.

Lee-Bentham would finish 9th at Qualifying and earn her an LPGA Tour Card for 2012.  She became the youngest Canadian to earn full privileges on the tour.

“It was the best decision of my life to go to Texas for my freshman year and just experiencing the college life and seeing what’s out there. I really enjoyed it and learned a lot. For me to turn pro was a hard decision but I just felt it was the way to go and I’m happy with it.”

Unfortunately her rookie LPGA campaign consisted of making just four cuts in 13 starts and earnings of $16,449.

Undeterred the Torontonian is back at LPGA Q-School finals this week on on the verge of earning a return to the premier woman’s professional tour.  She actually won a SunCoast Series event at the same facility just a couple weeks ago.

“I’m comfortable with my game. I’m hitting it well and stroking it well and as long as I keep doing what I’m doing I’ll be in fine position.”

With one round to play Sunday she is eight under par and in 3rd place.  The top 20 players earn fully exempt status for 2013.

Bentham capped her fourth round in spectacular fashion on Saturday, she slid in a 60 foot putt to shoot 69. She says itwas score that would have been a lot better if some other marginal putts had found a similar fate.

“Today I wasn’t making any putts but it was nice to end off with a 60-footer. I was close all day they just didn’t  fall. It was a little frustrating. Finishing with that long putt will let me sleep tonight,” she said after the round.

The putt pushed her a stroke ahead of fellow Canadian, Stephanie Sherlock, also in position to regain her LPGA Status.   Sherlock shares fourth with Lisa McCloskey.

The two other Canadians who made the cut will need a big push on Sunday.  Sue Kim and Seema Sadekar are tied for 53rd.  While it is the top 20 players who become fully exempt to the LPGA for 2013, the next 20 earn conditional status, putting Kim and Sadekar at least in the hunt for one of those spots should they fail to take it low on the final day.

Samantha Richdale, Ashley Sholer, Kirby Dreher, and Izzy Beisiegel failed to make the 72-hole cut line.

Fourth-round scores Saturday in the LPGA Tour’s
$50,000 LPGA Qualifying School – Stage III
at the 6389-yard, par 36-36 – 72, Champions Course,
6468-yard, par 36-36 – 72, Legends Course,
LPGA International, Daytona Beach, Fla. (a-denotes amateur):

1 Moriya Jutanugarn 68-66-69-70 – 273

2 Ayako Uehara 70-70-69-70 – 279

3 Rebecca Lee-Bentham 69-75-67-69 – 280

4 Lisa McCloskey 70-73-71-67 – 281
Stephanie Sherlock 71-70-71-69 – 281

6 Laura Diaz 70-71-73-68 – 282
Chie Arimura 70-71-72-69 – 282
Kelly Jacques 70-71-71-70 – 282

9 Felicity Johnson 75-69-69-70 – 283
Marita Engzelius (a) 72-71-69-71 – 283

11 Karlin Beck 71-72-74-67 – 284
Meaghan Francella 73-72-70-69 – 284
Lacey Agnew 70-67-74-73 – 284

14 Irene Cho 73-75-69-68 – 285
Kathleen Ekey 68-73-75-69 – 285
Caroline Masson 76-69-70-70 – 285
Marina Stuetz (a) 74-71-70-70 – 285
Haley Millsap 72-72-68-73 – 285

19 Giulia Molinaro 72-71-76-67 – 286
Marina Alex 70-73-76-67 – 286
Brooke Pancake 70-72-75-69 – 286
Austin Ernst 70-71-74-71 – 286
Jiayun Li 72-70-72-72 – 286

24 Jordan Hardy 75-72-73-67 – 287
Jamie Hullett 76-70-74-67 – 287
Katie Burnett 72-72-76-67 – 287
Nicole Jeray 72-74-72-69 – 287
Taylore Karle 72-73-73-69 – 287
Christina Kim 72-67-75-73 – 287

30 Perrine Delacour (a) 74-76-70-68 – 288
Nicole Hage 70-79-71-68 – 288
Lauren Doughtie 74-74-71-69 – 288
Breanna Elliott (a) 75-73-69-71 – 288
Frances Bondad 78-68-71-71 – 288
Amelia Lewis 74-70-73-71 – 288
Sara Brown 73-69-73-73 – 288
Maria Hernandez 71-71-72-74 – 288
Kim Welch 68-72-73-75 – 288

39 P.K. Kongkraphan 76-68-76-69 – 289
Paz Echeverria 74-76-69-70 – 289
Brianna Do 76-72-71-70 – 289
Alexandria Buelow 73-74-71-71 – 289
Alejandra Llaneza 73-71-74-71 – 289
Garrett Phillips 74-69-75-71 – 289
Kayla Mortellaro 79-69-69-72 – 289
Mitsuki Katahira 73-71-73-72 – 289
Ashleigh Simon 69-72-72-76 – 289

48 Hanna Kang 77-68-75-70 – 290
Christine Song 74-73-72-71 – 290
Jenny Suh 72-74-73-71 – 290
Min Seo Kwak 77-74-67-72 – 290
Jackie Sweeney 72-75-70-73 – 290

53 Sue Kim 76-71-74-70 – 291
Seema Sadekar 76-70-75-70 – 291
Katy Harris 73-73-75-70 – 291
Reilley Rankin 73-73-72-73 – 291

57 Shasta Averyhardt 72-75-74-71 – 292
Cydney Clanton 75-73-71-73 – 292

59 Cathryn Bristow 76-71-76-70 – 293
Sandra Changkija 73-79-70-71 – 293
Inhong Lim 79-72-71-71 – 293
Stephanie Na 73-74-75-71 – 293
Emily Talley 74-74-73-72 – 293
Anne-Lise Caudal 76-71-74-72 – 293
Anya Alvarez 75-75-69-74 – 293
Emma Jandel 73-77-69-74 – 293
Ginger Howard 70-78-71-74 – 293

68 Stefanie Kenoyer 75-76-73-70 – 294
Ayaka Kaneko 72-73-78-71 – 294
Haru Nomura 74-77-71-72 – 294
Caroline Westrup 72-72-75-75 – 294
—- Cut—–
Birdie Kim 76-78-72-69 – 295
Jackie Barenborg 76-76-72-71 – 295
Fiona Puyo 71-75-77-72 – 295
Hannah Jun 74-75-73-73 – 295
Samantha Richdale 76-74-71-74 – 295
Therese Koelbaek 73-75-73-74 – 295

Rachel Connor 77-77-71-71 – 296
Candace Schepperle 75-75-74-72 – 296
Meredith Duncan 70-77-77-72 – 296

Victoria Alimonda-Lovelady 77-72-80-68 – 297
Melissa Reid 79-76-71-71 – 297
Isabelle Boineau (a) 76-77-72-72 – 297
Wei-Ling Hsu 74-75-76-72 – 297
Jean Reynolds 77-74-72-74 – 297
Jean Chua 76-73-72-76 – 297

Taylor Collins 77-73-77-71 – 298
Carly Werwie 78-74-72-74 – 298
Hannah Yun 72-78-73-75 – 298
Natalie Sheary 72-73-73-80 – 298

Na On Min 76-74-77-72 – 299
Kitty Hwang 76-72-78-73 – 299
Elisa Serramia 73-77-75-74 – 299
Valentine Derrey 79-71-74-75 – 299

Hye-Joo Han 73-76-77-74 – 300
Angela Oh 75-78-72-75 – 300

Kirby Dreher 78-80-73-70 – 301
Michelle Shin 79-76-75-71 – 301
Selanee Henderson 75-75-75-76 – 301
Tanya Dergal 70-77-77-77 – 301
Nanette Hill 76-75-72-78 – 301

Justina Yu 75-80-76-71 – 302
Megan McChrystal 78-75-73-76 – 302
Stephanie Kono 70-78-77-77 – 302
Aimee Cho 76-73-71-82 – 302

Briana Vega 82-73-74-74 – 303
Ashley Sholer 80-73-76-74 – 303
Vanessa Brockett 77-74-76-76 – 303
Izzy Beisiegel 76-75-76-76 – 303

Tracy Stanford 73-81-76-75 – 305
Laura Martin 72-78-80-75 – 305

Mary Narzisi 82-77-74-75 – 308
Eunjung Yi 75-79-75-79 – 308

Marissa Steen 75-82-77-75 – 309
Britney Hamilton 82-76-74-77 – 309
Ulrika Van-Niekerk 80-77-75-77 – 309

Tzu-Chi Lin 74-86-76-74 – 310

Jessy Tang 76-82-75-78 – 311

Jasi Acharya 77-78-81-83 – 319

——————
Kristie Smith WD