She might have finished an impressive third in the US Women's Open on her professional debut but Stephanie Meadow knows that she'll need to turn all her hard work into birdies if she's to win her card at the LPGA Qualifying Tournament in Florida this week.
The 22-year old Jordanstown talent might be 103rd in the word but she's got her work cut out in the battle for just 20 cards over five rounds which begins at LPGA International's Jones and Hill Courses in Daytona Beach today. Scoring
"Prep complete for Q school!!" she wrote on Instagram, posting a picture of herself grinding on the practice ground. "Can't wait to get going and see what I can do! Time to let the hard work shine."
This year’s field is one of the strongest in recent memory with three players inside the top 40 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings — Solheim Cup star Charley Hull (No. 37) and Koreans Ha Na Jang (No 25) and Sei Young Kim (No 40).
It's so tough to make it onto the LPGA Tour that Hull, 18, played in nine LPGA Tour events in 2014 and still didn't make enough cash to earn status. She posted two top-10 finishes and four top-20 results with her best finish a tie for third at the Airbus LPGA Classic for a total of $213,005 as a non-member .
Meadow won $271,373 at Pinehurst No 2 on her professional but and played in a total of five LPGA events with her next best result a tie for 19th at the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic.
She had a stellar four-year career at Alabama where she was the first four-time 1st Team All-American in the school's history, winning nine times.
She is looking to become the first Irish woman to play on the LPGA Tour and she's hoping some hard work will pay off in a tough test where the top 20 will earn membership through category 12 on the LPGA Tour priority list while those who finish 21 through 45 with earn membership through category 17.
In laymen’s terms, players who finish in the top 20 will have “full-time” status on the LPGA Tour while players that finish 21 through 45 will have “conditional” status. For example, Jaye Marie Green, who won the LPGA Q-School last year, played in 22 of 32 LPGA Tour events in 2014.
There will be a 72-hole cut after play on Saturday with the top 70 plus ties qualifying for the fifth and final round on Sunday.
The field also includes three LPGA winners, five Ladies European Tour (LET) winners and 12 players who've won on the second tier Symetra Tour.
Cheyenne Woods, niece of Tiger and a winner on the LET this year, will taking her second crack at the Final Stage of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament having missd the 72--hole cut by five shots last year.
There are three players in the field who are trying to join their older sisters on the LPGA Tour. Madison Pressel (Morgan), Ju Young Park (Hee Young) and Ariya Jutanugarn (Moriya) all have sisters that play on the LPGA Tour.
Winners of the LPGA Q-School since 2004
- 2013 – Jaye Marie Green (-25)
- 2012 – Rebecca Lee-Bentham/Moriya Jutanugarn (-13)
- 2011 – Junthima Guluanamitta (-10)
- 2010 – Aree Song (-6)
- 2009 – Amanda Blumenherst (-9)
- 2008 – Stacy Lewis (-18)
- 2007 – Jane Park (-17)
- 2006 – Hye Jung Choi/In-Kyung Kim (-13)
- 2005 – Ai Miyazato (-17)
- 2004 – Paula Creamer (-11)