Teen golf sensations Charley Hull of England and Minjee Lee of Australia will be two of the major headliners at the final stage of LPGA Qualifying School in early December. They are among 155 players who will be trying to earn their LPGA cards for the 2015 season. As usual, the five-day event will be played on the Hills and Jones course at LPGA International Golf Club in Daytona Beach, Florida, the home of the LPGA’s headquarters. The top 20 finishers will earn full playing status on the tour for next year. The next 25 finishers will earn limited playing status.
Charley Hull is currently the 34th ranked woman player in the world according to the Rolex rankings. She turned pro at the beginning of 2013 at the age of 16. She has played full time for the last two seasons on the Ladies European Tour and has received several sponsor invitations to play in LPGA events. Last year she played on the winning European team in the Solheim Cup where she became the youngest player ever (at 17) to compete in Solheim Cup competition.
Minjee Lee from Perth, Australia, is also 18 years old. She became the number one ranked woman amateur golfer in the world in February of this year after winning the Oates Victorian Open on the ALPG Tour. She had a strong finish this past summer in the U S Women’s Open and in July she played on the Australian team in the first edition of the LPGA’s International Crown team competition. She turned pro in September and earned her first check as a golfer at the Evian Championship where she finished tied for 15th place. She is currently the 79th ranked woman golfer in the world.
Other notables to watch for at Q School…
Stephanie Meadow from Northern Ireland: This University of Alabama grad turned pro in June, just before the U S Women’s Open. She finished 3rd and earned $271,000 in her first event as a pro.
Ariya Jutanugarn from Thailand: She is the younger sister (19) of LPGA player Moriya Jutanugarn. She suffered a shoulder injury last year which required surgery and has limited her playing time.
Several current LPGA players will be returning to Q School this year. They are players who did not finish the season in the top 100 on the tour’s money list and will be trying to maintain their full time playing status for next year by finishing in the top 20 at Q School.
Among those players are Rebecca Lee-Bentham (Canada), Kathleen Ekey (U S), Chei Arimura (Japan), Vicky Hurst (U S), Lorie Kane (Canada), Meghan McChrystal (U S), Giulia Molinaro (Italy), Paola Moreno (Colombia), Ryann O’Toole (U S).
Many players in the field will come from the Symetra Tour. They will be looking to make the big jump up to the LPGA after working for one or more seasons on the LPGA’s official developmental tour. The top 10 finishers on the Symetra Tour’s money list this season automatically earned their 2015 LPGA cards.
The final stage of the 2014 LPGA Q School runs Wednesday, Dec. 3rd to Sunday, Dec. 7th.
About the Author: Dave Andrews is a Harvard-educated former television news reporter. Dave is an avid golfer who has become a fan of the LPGA and the Symetra Tour. He is the author of Pops and Sunshine, a novel and screenplay about life on the women’s tour. The screenplay has been optioned by a production company in Hollywood.