LPGA Qualifying School – Sectionals
VENICE, Fla., Sept. 28, 2010 – Kristin Ingram wasted no time on nervous energy today in the first round of the LPGA’s Florida Sectional Qualifying Tournament. The rookie pro birdied four of her first five holes on the Panther Course at Plantation Golf & Country Club and finished the day at 4-under 68.
Ingram takes a one-shot lead into Wednesday’s second round over Canadian Sue Kim of Langley, British Columbia, amateur Thidapa “Jasmine” Suwannapura of Bangkok, Thailand, and two-time European Solheim Cupper Becky Brewerton of Kimmel Bay, Wales, all tied for second at 3-under 69.
“It’s an amazing feeling because I didn’t think I’d go that low,” said Ingram, 23, of Pasadena, Calif. “I was just trying to keep my emotions together and tell myself that there were plenty of other holes where I needed to do well.”
Ingram started today’s opening round on the back nine of the Panther, making birdies on her first three holes, with four of her five birdies on her first nine. But her wake-up call came on hole No. 1 when she made the nine-hole turn and chunked her 7-iron approach shot “way short” and didn’t get up and down for par.
“That’s where I told myself to relax and start doing some deep breathing,” said Ingram, who turned pro in early July to play six events on the Duramed FUTURES Tour after graduating in May from the University of Arkansas. “I didn’t play well at the California sectional, so I came here believing this was my second opportunity to go out and play my best.”
Also playing on the Panther, Suwanapura, 17, a member of Thailand’s National Team, finished the day with five birdies and two bogeys and credited her irons for moving her up the leaderboard.
Kim, 19, playing on the Bobcat Course, took par on her first eight holes and then bogeyed No. 9 when her second shot veered left to land behind a tree. Unable to scramble for par, took her only bogey of the day.
“That got me hot,” said the Canadian, who stormed back with birdies on holes 11, 12 and 13, with a final 12-foot birdie on No. 17. “The way I played today kind of makes up for how I played in Mission Hills [at the recent California sectional]. Hopefully, it will keep up for four rounds.”
Brewerton, who plays on the Ladies European Tour, prowled the Panther Course today with two birdies and one bogey on the front nine and two birdies and seven pars on the back.
“I didn’t hit the ball that well, but my putting was great,” said Brewerton, who recorded 24 putts in today’s opening round.
Tied for fifth at 2-under 70 are amateur Alison Whitaker of Melbourne, Australia, former LPGA Tour member Mollie Fankhauser of Columbus, Ohio, Louisiana State University grad Katy Harris of Houston, and Canadian Stephanie Sherlock of Barrie, Ontario.
Eleven players are under par after the opening round, with a total of 22 players at even-par 72 or better in the 72-hole qualifier for the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament in December.
This week’s event is being staged on both the Panther and Bobcat courses at The Plantation Golf & Country Club, host of the LPGA’s Florida sectional for the last 23 years.
The Florida sectional is the second of two sectional Q-Schools to determine the field of the LPGA’s Final Qualifying Tournament, set for Dec. 8-12, at LPGA International on the Champions and Legends courses in Daytona Beach, Fla.
The California sectional qualifier was held two weeks ago, advancing 30 players from that event into the LPGA’s final stage. Tournament fields at each of the 72-hole sectional qualifiers are cut to the low-70 players and ties after 36 holes. After four rounds, the top-30 players and ties from each sectional will advance into the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament.
The final stage of LPGA qualifying will be held Dec. 8-12, at LPGA International on the Champions and Legends courses in Daytona Beach, Fla. Sectional qualifiers will be joined at the final stage of “Q-school” by current LPGA Tour members attempting to improve their status for 2011, along with players finishing Nos. 6-10, and the next top 10 players on the 2010 Duramed FUTURES Tour money list (who do not already have LPGA status).
The LPGA’s Final Qualifying Tournament in Daytona Beach will be contested over 90 holes, with a cut made after 72 holes to the low 70 and ties.