In a normal tournament setting, the third round is also known as moving day. While this is anything but a standard tournament, there was plenty of drama on day three at the final stage of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament at LPGA International.
In each of the first two rounds, eight players shot in the 60s. Today, 22 individuals reached that mark. In addition, 55 of the 165 in the field found themselves in the red.
One of the competitors who went low was Tiffany Chan (Gong Kong, Hong Kong), as she carded a 5-under (67) on the Hills Course.
As a Daytona State College alumna, Chan had the fortune of LPGA International being her team’s home course. She has been using that knowledge to her advantage this week, as Chan heads into the weekend tied for second at 7-under overall, hoping to become the first Hong Kong native to make it on the LPGA.
“No wind today so we’re getting a lot more opportunities to put it on the green,” said Chan. “This is my home course, so it’s kind of huge pressure for me playing out here. But, I just kept on doing what I’m doing, one putt fell and the ones behind that just kept falling.”
Chan is tied with Marissa Steen (West Chester, Ohio), who went 1-under today on the Hills Course. They are just one shot back of leader Nasa Hataoka (Ibaraki, Japan).
“I didn’t play well in the beginning of the year on the LPGA,” said Hataoka, who fired a 3-under (69) on the Jones Course. “Once I went back to Japan, I got back to my game, and now I’ll just keep going and hopefully keep playing better.”
While there was plenty of low scores tossed around atop the leaderboard, the best score of the day (and in the tournament so far, for that matter) belonged to Camilla Lennarth (Stockholm, Sweden). She finished at 7-under (65) in the third round and vaulted herself from 2-over to 5-under and tied for fifth.
Just ahead of Lennarth in solo fourth place is Rebecca Artis (Coonabarabran, Australia). In her first season primarily on the Symetra Tour, Artis is in prime position to earn one of the 20 LPGA cards up for grabs.
“In a week like this where there’s five days, you really just got to stay patient and that’s what I’ve done the last couple of days,” said Artis, who shot 3-under on the Jones Course today and shifts back to the Hills Course tomorrow. “It’ll be nice to get out there and hopefully get a little momentum on that golf course [Hills], and hopefully keep it going for the two days.”
Before coming to Stage III, Artis played in several tournaments to prepare. To read more about her story, follow the link: http://www.symetratour.com/news/2017-the-path-to-lpga-qualifying-tournament-q3-artis.
With plenty of shifting atop the leaderboard, Georgia Hall (Wimborne, England) wanted to join the party. The top-ranked player in the field at No. 41 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings shot 5-under (67) in round three. After a first round 5-over, Hall has climbed back into the thick of things at 3-under overall, tied for 11th with four others.
“After winning second stage, it would be nice to win both,” said Hall. “The Hills Course is slightly tighter so it suits my game. Hopefully I can play well tomorrow there. I don’t want to do what I was doing on the first day, to be honest. Just kind of take it day-by-day because it’s a long week.”
The top amateur performer after three rounds is Oklahoma State senior Maddie McCrary (Wylie, Texas) at 3-under for the tournament. She carded a 1-under (71) on the Hills Course today.
Meanwhile, the top-ranked amateur in the field, Linnea Ström (Gothenburg, Sweden), still has some work to do if she hopes to make the cut. The No. 9 ranked player in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Rankings finished round three at even par on the Hills Course and is tied for 98th at 7-over.
Following tomorrow’s round, there will be a cut to the top 70 and ties. After the third round, 72 players are at 4-over or better. Furthermore, exactly 20 competitors sit at 2-under or better, as only two rounds remain to make a move for one of the 20 LPGA cards that will be awarded.
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME
LPGA International is a familiar setting for Hong Kong native Tiffany Chan, who currently sits one off the lead at 7-under par. She is playing in Qualifying School for the second time in her career.
The Hills and Jones courses served as home turf for Chan as a member of the Daytona State College women’s golf team from 2014-15. Chan was a two-time First-Team National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-American for the Falcons before transferring to the University of Southern California for a step-up in competition, shifting to the Division I level.
Chan’s preference is the Hills Course, which is evident from her results through three days: 7-under in 36 holes on the Hills Course, and even par in her lone round on the Jones Course.
“This course [Hills] is more challenging and over there [Jones] is more for longer hitters, and I’m not the longest hitter,” explained Chan. “This side is more about accuracy, so I think I get more advantage playing on the Hills.”
The 24-year-old graduated in June from USC with a degree in Communications and then joined the Symetra Tour midway through the 2017 season. Chan finished as the runner-up in her first event, one of seven top 15 finishes in 13 starts on the year.
In 2016, she represented Hong Kong at the Rio Olympics where she finished 37th in the 60-player field. Securing her 2018 LPGA card this week would make her the first player from her home country to make it to the LPGA.
“It’s definitely one of my goals. Before coming to the States, I never thought I would be turning professional until going to Daytona State and then transferring to USC and finishing college. Being the first one would definitely be cool, and I think my parents would be happy about it.”
HURRICANE MARIA INTERRUPTS A PUERTO RICAN GOLFER’S LPGA DREAMS
While Hurricane Maria pummeled her family’s home in San Juan, P.R., Maria Torres tried to focus on the board game she was playing indoors with her younger brother.
She had been through hurricanes before, but this one, she said, “came to destroy everything.”
She tried to stay calm on Sept. 20 as Category 4 winds reaching up to 155 mph pounded the windows of the family’s second-floor apartment, delivering the most powerful punch the island had experienced in 85 years and knocking out electricity to nearly 70 percent of the island — including her home.
Through three rounds, the 2017 First-Team All-American is tied for 16th at 2-under par.
- Two amateurs, Maddie McCrary of Oklahoma State University (-3) and Maria Torres from the University of Florida (-2), sit in the top 20 after three days of competition.
- For the second straight day, the top seven players on the leaderboard hail from seven different countries and 14 different countries are represented in the top 20, including seven Americans.
- On Friday there were 22 rounds in the 60s, compared to 16 over the first two days of competition combined.
- Of the 20 players currently in the top-20, 10 would be considered LPGA rookies: Tiffany Chan, Rebecca Artis, Camilla Lennarth, Luna Sobron Galmes, Hyemin Kim, Georgia Hall, Maddie McCrary (a), Maria Torres (a), Lori Beth Adams and Leticia Ras-Anderica.
- American players have won medalist honors in three of the last four Qualifying Schools: Jaye Marie Green in 2013 and 2016, and Alison Lee in 2014.