62 exempt players will compete at Pinehurst Resort over two-week stretch for LPGA status; remaining players to be determined this week at Stage II of LPGA Qualifying Tournament
PINEHURST, N.C. – A field of approximately 108 players is set to compete in the inaugural LPGA Q-Series presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina at historic Pinehurst Resort from Oct. 22 through Nov. 3 on courses No. 6 and No. 7.
Already featuring 62 exempt individuals, the remainder of spots will be filled by the top-25 players and ties from Stage II of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament, contested this week in Venice, Fla. on the Panther Course and Bobcat Course of Plantation Golf & Country Club. Those at the next score, or scores, will also advance provided that the total number of players in Q-Series does not exceed the set maximum.
The replacement for the Final Stage of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament—which was previously held annually at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla.—Q-Series will provide LPGA Tour membership in Category 14 of the LPGA Priority List to a minimum of the top-45 finishers and ties. For comparison, 20 players earned LPGA status at the Final Stage in 2017.
“We are excited to get the inaugural LPGA Q-Series presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina underway next week,” said Heather Daly-Donofrio, the LPGA Tour Chief Communications and Operations Officer. “Pinehurst Resort No. 6 and No. 7 will provide a true competitive test and undoubtedly identify the best players in the field to earn 2019 LPGA Tour playing status. With a terrific corporate partner, strong international field and world-class venue, we have all the makings for a successful inaugural LPGA Q-Series.”
Making up the Q-Series field will be players ranked No. 101-150 and tied on the current-year LPGA official money list through the Evian Championship. Among the notable LPGA players who will be competing in the inaugural Q-Series are three-time European Solheim Cup team member Mel Reid, four-year LPGA Tour member Cheyenne Woods, and North Carolina native Cydney Clanton.
Furthermore, players who finished No. 11-30 on the Symetra Tour money list also secured their spot in the Q-Series field. Among the 20 players who earned entry via this category is Sweden’s Jenny Haglund, who tallied one win and four top-10 finishes on the Symetra Tour this year to finish just shy of earning her place through the Volvik Race for the Card top-10. Muni He is also in the mix. She was one of the youngest competitors on the Symetra Tour in 2018 and won the inaugural Prasco Charity Championship, while tallying a total of 11 top-30 finishes as a rookie.
Jeongeun Lee6, who currently competes on the Korean Ladies Professional Golf Association (KLPGA) Tour, earned her spot in the field thanks to being ranked in the top-75 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings as of Monday, August 13. The top-5 collegiate players in the country according to the Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings on Monday, August 13, also earned their spot in the field including Lauren Stephenson (University of Alabama), Lilia Vu (UCLA), Maria Fassi (Arkansas), Patty Tavatanakit (UCLA) and Jennifer Kupcho (Wake Forest).
Instead of 90 holes like the old Final Stage of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament, the new Q-Series will be contested over 144 holes. Players will compete in two, four-day tournaments with cumulative scores over the eight rounds and there will not be a cut. The event will also feature a $150,000 purse, which will be distributed at the end of the eight rounds.
The first week of the LPGA Q-Series presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina will be played on the George and Tom Fazio-designed Pinehurst Course No. 6 from Oct. 24-27, while Q-Series will conclude on the Rees Jones-designed Pinehurst Course No. 7 from Oct. 31- Nov. 3.
As part of the updated Q-Series, the LPGA also has new rules regarding amateurs who are competing. Amateurs who earn LPGA status at Q-Series can defer acceptance of LPGA membership until July 1 of the following year, but cannot play as an amateur on the LPGA with Q-Series status. As in previous years, players can join and play on the Symetra Tour as an amateur (can turn professional at any time or remain as an amateur).