Nov. 30, 2016
Charlottesville, Va. – Three former UVA women’s golfers began competition today at the Final Stage of LPGA Qualifying Tournament. The event runs through Sunday, December 4. The field of 157 players are competing for 20 full LPGA Tour cards and 25 partial cards.
Briana Mao, Lauren Coughlin and Elizabeth Szokol all managed to advance to the finals of this year’s qualifying tournament. Coughlin and Szokol wrapped up their UVA careers last spring while Mao graduated from Virginia in 2015. Mao competed in 14 LPGA events this year. She made the cut six times and her highest finish was a pair of 33rd- place performances.
Coughlin, the 2016 ACC Champion, placed 35th in State I qualifying and was 48th in State II. Szokol was 39th at Stage I and 62nd at State II.
Players will alternate over the first four rounds between the Jones and Hills courses at LPGA International. There will be a cut to the top 70 and ties after the fourth round. The final-round will be contested on the Hills course. Play will begin at 8:00 a.m. all five days.
Players that finish in the top 20 – no ties – will earn LPGA Tour status in category 12 on the 2017 priority list while those that finish 21 through 45 – including ties – will earn status in category 17. Players that finish a minimum of 72 holes, but don’t earn LPGA Tour status, will receive Symetra Tour status in category E on the Symetra Tour priority list.
Although the most significant prize is leaving with a 2017 Tour card, there is a $50,000 purse and the medalist will earn $5,000.
The tournament is the culmination of a three-stage Qualifying Tournament process that started in late August with Stage I in Rancho Mirage, California. A total of 92 players advanced out of Stage I to Stage II, which was held in October in Venice, Florida. A total of 84 players passed through Stage II to get to where we are now.
A total of 36 players have made it through to Final Stage from Stage I.
There are 10 players that will retain amateur status into Final Stage. If an amateur finishes in the top 20, she must declare a change in her status to professional following the final-round in order to obtain LPGA Tour status.
The field features 78 players representing the United States and 79 international players from 32 different countries. Canada has the most representatives with nine followed by England with seven and both Thailand and the Philippines have six players apiece.
There are ten players in the field that finished between 101-125 on the 2016 LPGA money list that are looking to improve status for 2017.