PINEHURST, N.C.— The highly anticipated inaugural LPGA Tour Q-Series presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina has arrived at Pinehurst Resort, as a 102-player field is preparing for a 144-hole stroke play format in the Sandhills Region of North Carolina.
Individuals will compete in a total of eight rounds over two, four-day tournaments for a with the top-45 finishers and ties receiving LPGA membership in Category 14 on the LPGA Priority List and remaining competitors earning Symetra Tour status. There is no cut and the unofficial purse of $150,000 will be distributed at the event’s completion.
From Oct. 24-27, the first week of Q-Series will be contested on the George and Tom Fazio-designed Pinehurst Course No. 6. The second week of play will be on the Rees Jones-designed Pinehurst Course No. 7 from Oct. 31-Nov. 3.
“On the doorstep of LPGA Tour membership, this group of talented athletes have all earned their way here,” said Heather Daly-Donofrio, the LPGA Tour Chief Communications and Operations Officer. “Over the next two weeks, players will compete head-to-head over eight rounds in pursuit of their dream to reach the highest level in women’s professional golf. We look forward to identifying the first-ever LPGA Q-Series class for the 2019 LPGA Tour season.”
A long and rich history of women’s golf fills the hallowed forests of Pinehurst. It has hosted the Women’s North & South Amateur since 1903 with past champions including legends such as Louise Suggs, Estelle Lawson Page and Peggy Kirk Bell, as well as more recent major winners Yani Tseng, Brittany Lang, Morgan Pressel and Danielle Kang.
Hoping to follow in their footsteps is 37 players who finished from Nos. 101-150 on the current-year LPGA official money list, as well as 19 players from Nos. 11-30 and ties on the Symetra Tour official money list. Furthermore, one member from the top-75 of the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings and the top-five collegiate players in the country according to Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings also earned exemption into Q-Series. To round out the field is 40 players who advanced from Stage II of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament.
“Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina supports athletes across the state, and we’re proud to present this new Q-series tournament to empower women to elevate their performance and build confidence on the golf course,” said Reagan Greene Pruitt, the Vice President of Marketing and Community Engagement for Blue Cross NC. “These women are strong examples of dedication and sportsmanship, and they’re going to inspire girls of all ages to dream big, play with confidence and live fearless.”
First and second round action gets underway at 7:50 a.m. ET on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively. After 36 holes, players will be re-paired by score and stay with the same group for the third and fourth round on Friday and Saturday, respectively. The low score wave goes off in the morning of round three and afternoon of round four. Meanwhile, the high score wave follows the same method, only opposite the low score.
SEVERAL NORTH CAROLINA COLLEGES REPRESENTED AT Q-SERIES
Among the 102 competitors for the first-ever LPGA Tour Q-Series presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina is a large contingent of natives to the Tar Heel State and also former collegiate standouts across the region.
Six individuals that call North Carolina home are in the field including Cydney Clanton (Concord, N.C.), Laura Wearn (Charlotte, N.C.), Lori Beth Adams (Burlington, N.C.), Allison Emrey (Charlotte, N.C.), Maia Schechter (Chapel Hill, N.C.) and Katherine Perry (Cary, N.C.).
Adams is also a University of North Carolina Wilmington graduate, while Schechter and Perry both donned Carolina Blue as University of North Carolina alumnae. Roughly 60 miles from the UNC campus, they are essentially competing in their former backyard.
“It is fun to be so close to home and go back to my own bed between the two weeks,” said Schechter, a first-time winner on the Symetra Tour in 2018 at the Four Winds Invitational. “I think the new format is a great way to pick out the best players in the field because you have to play consistent golf and I think that favors my game. This is the strongest field we face all year and every player is fighting for their dream to play on the LPGA. It is going to be intense, but the golf ball doesn’t know it is Q-Series.”
Meanwhile, a little over 70 miles from the Q-Series host site is Duke University, where Laetitia Beck (Caesarea, Israel) and Sandy Choi (Seoul, Republic of Korea) completed their amateur careers.
“It means a lot to be competing in the inaugural Q-Series, just down the road from Duke,” Choi said. “It feels great to be back in North Carolina. Duke holds a special place in my heart and is basically my second home. I was fortunate to be part of such a prestigious university and amazing golf program, which helped develop me into the player I am today.”
Finally, one can find Wake Forest University approximately 100 miles from Pinehurst Resort. The list of former standouts include Emrey, Cheyenne Woods (Phoenix, Arizona), Olafia Kristinsdottir (Reykjavik, Iceland) and Sierra Sims (Austin, Texas), as well as amateur and current Demon Deacons senior Jennifer Kupcho (Westminster, Colorado).
“I’m really trying to control myself and not go to Bojangles’ or Cook Out,” Woods said laughingly. “It is nice flying in to Raleigh and being familiar with the area. Pinehurst is always beautiful and the weather is fresh, something different. I owe a lot of my professional career and preparation to Wake Forest and coach [Dianne] Dailey. I always represent when I can.”