Let’s face it, there were many players at the final stage of LPGA Q School in Daytona Beach this past week who should have saved the $2,500 it cost to play in the event and spent the money on more lessons. Several of the young women pros, as laudable as their ambition and determination might be, did not have a ghost of a chance to earn their LPGA cards for the 2012 season.
When half the field was cut following the fourth round of the grueling 5-day event, the players who were eliminated had shot at least 12 over par over the first four days. Some players had shot 20-25-30-35 over par and even worse in four days. That is the equivalent of averaging 77 to 79 or higher for each of the four 18-hole rounds. Yes, the wind was fairly strong for some of the rounds, but it was no excuse for some of the ballooning scores, especially for women who believe they have the potential to play on the LPGA. Players will never make a living in pro golf averaging in the high 70’s in events.
Any player can have a bad week, and there were some veteran players with past LPGA experience who did not make the cut and earn their way back onto the tour. However, most of those veterans have had very little success when they did earn their LPGA status in past years. That is why they found themselves back at Q School in the first place. There were also a large number of players with many years of experience on the LPGA Futures (now Symetra) Tour who did not make the cut. A lot of those players are now in their late 20’s and early 30’s. They are very good golfers, but their track record over several years in “the minors” would suggest that they will not improve their games to the level of LPGA players.
Every year it seems that the women’s pro game is becoming younger and younger. Three of the players who finished in the top 20 at Q School and earned their full status LPGA cards were teenagers (Victoria Tanco-17, Hannah Yun-19, Rebecca Lee-Bentham-19), and don’t forget about 16 year old Lexi Thompson. She would have been at the final stage and was expected to be the medallist in the event, but she earned her way onto the tour next year with her victory in September in the Navistar LPGA Classic.
The dream of making it to the LPGA is very powerful for most of the women who compete in Q School year after year. That is why many of them spend many years trying to improve their games so they can reach that goal. It is hard to give up on a dream that has been held so close for so long, but reality can be harsh. More aspiring LPGA players discovered that once again this year in Daytona Beach.
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 Duramed Futures Tour and is the author of Pops and Sunshine, a novel and screenplay about life on tour. His home course in New Hampshire is annually the site of one of the tour’s events.