VENICE, Fla. — With the Symetra Tour season in the books and the LPGA Tour on its Asian swing, the remainder of eyes in the women’s golf world shift to the Sunshine State for Stage II of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament from Oct. 15-18.
A field of 193 players is set to compete in southwest Florida on the Panther Course and Bobcat Course at Plantation Golf & Country Club.
“The journey continues for those hoping to secure a LPGA card through Q-School,” said Mike Nichols, the Chief Business Officer of the Symetra Tour. “After graduating the top-10 players in the Volvik Race for the Card, it is an exciting time to not only usher the next wave to the big stage, but see who will join them in the relentless pursuit of their dreams.”
Individuals will battle in a 72-hole stroke play format featuring no cut.
Furthermore, a minimum of the top-25 players and ties will advance to Q-Series, contested from Oct. 22 through Nov. 3 in Pinehurst, N.C. at Pinehurst Resort. Those at the next score, or scores, will also advance provided that the total number of players in Q-Series does not exceed 108, which currently has 62 exempt and entered competitors.
Such a small window to move on compared to recent years means one has to find their best golf at the right time, no matter the results to this point. Symetra Tour professional Elin Arvidsson (Falkenberg, Sweden) hopes that is the case for her coming off back-to-back made cuts. In total, the Texas Tech University alumna played the weekend nine times in 20 starts this season.
“I feel great about my game and really positive about this week,” said Arvidsson, who recorded a personal and Symetra Tour career-best score to par of 6-under in her tied for 22nd performance at the Symetra Tour Championship. “I am in a totally different mindset coming here, especially after the six-week stretch. Feeling super fresh mentally, instead of worrying about the future if I were to come in off a couple tough weeks.”
Action begins at 8 a.m. ET all four days with the rotation of Bobcat Course-Panther Course to be used for the first two rounds. Meanwhile, the entire field will be re-paired by score and divided in half for round three, with lower scores playing the Panther Course and higher scores playing the Bobcat Course. Ties will be broken by the lowest, most recent round to determine which course an individual will play for the third round.
In the fourth round, players will alternate the course played in round three and be re-paired by score. For example, if a player starts the third round on the Bobcat Course, she will be re-paired by score and play the Panther Course for the fourth round.
One individual who understands the process and enjoyed previous success at Plantation Golf & Country Club is Csicsi Rozsa (Budapest, Hungary). Her second year on the Symetra Tour was highlighted by 13 made cuts in 19 starts and a season-best tied for seventh result at both the Forsyth Classic and Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic.
“It is going to be a tougher field because there is going to be fewer spots making it through,” said Rozsa, who finished solo second at Stage II of the 2017 LPGA Qualifying Tournament. “I feel like my scores got a lot more consistent this year, learned a lot about myself and my game. Time to show it this week. It’s not about making the perfect shot, but more about scoring well.”
MARTA SANZ BARRIO PLAYING WITH SOMETHING TO PROVE
The difference between earning exemption into Q-Series and having to compete at Stage II of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament was minuscule, all of $43 in fact.
Symetra Tour professionals that finished from Nos. 11-30 on the Volvik Race for the Card money list automatically qualified for Q-Series. Holding down the final spot at No. 30 was August Kim (St. Augustine, Florida) with $31,359 earned across 19 starts. On the outside looking in by that tiny margin was Marta Sanz Barrio (Madrid, Spain), who accumulated $31,316 in 18 events.
“Of course it was really painful with how small the gap was and how close I was to going straight to Q-Series,” said Sanz Barrio. “I have to move on because this happens to someone every year. If I can go out there and have the best week I possibly can, then I’ll fight to be in Q-Series through a different way.”
In 2018, Sanz Barrio missed only five cuts and became a first-time Symetra Tour champion at the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship. She added one other top-10 performance to her victory and had a total of five top-25 results.
“I had a rough start at the beginning of the season, but the second half went really well and I even won a tournament,” Sanz Barrio said. “The last two events didn’t go as well as I would have liked, but I think it all proves that I am a good player and could potentially earn a LPGA card at Q-Series. It gives me confidence and hopefully I can make it through.”
Looking back on how the year unfolded, Sanz Barrio said she has no regrets and wouldn’t have changed a thing. That includes representing Spain with sister Patricia Sanz Barrio(Madrid, Spain) at the Mediterranean Games from June 25-28, which forced her to miss two Symetra Tour tournaments.
“I am really proud of the decision to go back and play,” said Sanz Barrio. “You remember the last two weeks more than anything else. The last round in the Symetra Tour Championship was really rough for me, and I could have played two or three shots better. That would have made it. I just have to build off what happened and turn it into a positive so it will motivate me.”
Sanz Barrio gets the chase for a spot in Q-Series started on Monday at 9:06 a.m. ET off No. 10 on the Panther Course. She’ll be joined by fellow Symetra Tour professionalsStephanie Na (Adelaide, Australia) and Demi Runas (Torrance, California).