Strudwick Wins LPGA Qualifying Tournament
Strudwick finished at 7-under-par 281 for the week, four shots better than anyone in the field, and collected $6,000 for her play.
However, the real fruits of her labor will come next season, as she and 17 others will move on ' with full playing privileges ' to the prestigious and lucrative LPGA Tour.
Of those 18 total players, eight were Americans, while ten were from other countries.
One of those international players was Jean-Marie Busuttil of France, who ended in outright second at 3-under-par, while 18-year-old American Natalie Gulbis was one of four golfers who ended at 2-under for the event.
Gulbis made headlines in 97, when at 14, she became the youngest player in LPGA Tour history to qualify for an official event.
That tournament was the Longs Drugs Challenge, and since, the youngster has been brilliant, winning three tournaments in her first year at the University of Arizona.
Now, she is truly moving on to the big-time. But, she says shes ready.
I kept expecting to get nervous, said Gulbis following her final-round of 72, but I never was.
In addition to the top-18 earning full privileges, the top-35 will also get to compete on the 02 tours schedule under a non-exempt conditional status.
The following were the top finishers from the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament from Daytona Beach, Fla.:
FULLY EXEMPT STATUS
1 Suzanne Strudwick, 69-71-69-72 281 ('7) $6,000
2 Jean-Marie Busuttil, 71-73-71-70 285 (-3) $5,000
3 JoAnne Mills, 70-74-72-70 286 (-2) $4,400
3 Smriti Mehra, 70-71-75-70 286 ('2) $4,400
3 Suzy Green, 71-74-69-72 286 ('2) $4,400
3 Natalie Gulbis, 69-76-69-72 286 (-2) $4,400
7 Connie Masterson, 75-75-68-69 287 (-1) $3,750
7 Ashli Bunch, 71-71-74-71 287 ('1) $3,750
9 Patricia Baxter-Johnson, 74-73-70-71 288 (E) $3,000
10 Siew-Ai Lim, 73-74-72-70 289 (+1) $2,083
10 Jenna Daniels, 74-74-70-71 289 (+1) $2,083
10 Beth Bader, 68-74-74-73 289 (+1) $2,083
13 Shiho Katano, 73-75-74-68 290 (+2) $1,600
13 Tonya Gill, 68-72-76-74 290 (+2) $1,600
15 #Natascha Fink, 75-74-74-68 291 (+3) $ 241
15 #Namika Omata, 71-77-74-69 291 (+3) $ 241
15 #Carmen Hajjar, 77-71-73-70 291 (+3) $ 241
15 # Sun Hee Lee, 73-74-70-74 291 (+3) $ 241
NON-EXEMPT CONDITIONAL STATUS
1 Jenny Park-Choi, 75-75-73-68 291 (+3) $ 241
2 Candie Kung, 68-71-78-74 291 (+3) $ 241
*Johanna Head, 75-75-72-70 292 (+4)
3 Mayumi Nakajima, 76-71-73-72 292 (+4)
*Marilyn Lovander, 74-73-71-74 292 (+4)
4 Jane Egan, 74-71-72-75 292 (+4)
5 Elizabeth Bowman, 75-74-76-68 293 (+5)
6 Karen Davies, 76-80-67-70 293 (+5)
7 Ara Koh, 72-77-72-72 293 (+5)
8 Lora Fairclough, 71-73-77-72 293 (+5)
9 Diane Irvin, 74-72-73-74 293 (+5)
10 ++Erika Wicoff
11 Amy Read, 74-70-75-74 293 (+5)
12 Caroline Hall, 76-78-70-70 294 (+6)
13 Asa Gottmo, 77-70-76-71 294 (+6)
14 Miriam Nagl, 75-72-76-71 294 (+6)
15 Ana Sanchez, 74-75-72-73 294 (+6)
16 Clarissa Childs, 75-71-75-73 294 (+6)
17 Minny Yeo, 74-71-76-73 294 (+6)
18 Michelle Bell, 72-72-77-73 294 (+6)
19 Hilary Homeyer, 77-72-71-74 294 (+6)
20 Giulia Sergas, 78-69-72-75 294 (+6)
21 Catherine Cartwright, 71-72-76-75 294 (+6)
22 ++Oh-Yeon Kwon
23 Nicole Jeray, 78-74-70-73 295 (+7)
*Jennifer Hubbard, 71-77-74-73 295 (+7)
24 Loraine Lambert, 74-72-74-75 295 (+7)
*Laurie Brower, 71-74-73-77 295 (+7)
25 Michele Vinieratos, 76-76-72-72 296 (+8)
26 Joan Delk, 74-76-73-73 296 (+8)
27 Marine Monnet, 73-75-74-74 296 (+8)
28 Kimberley Augusta, 79-70-72-75 296 (+8)
29 Angie Rizzo, 75-74-72-75 296 (+8)
*Kris Lindstrom, 77-73-70-76 296 (+8)
30 Stephanie Keever, 76-74-69-77 296 (+8)
31 Kim Shipman, 75-73-77-72 297 (+9)
32 Amy Langhals, 77-74-73-73 297 (+9)
33 Marlene Hedblom, 77-72-75-73 297 (+9)
34 Jill Gomric, 77-74-70-76 297 (+9)
35 Michelle Louviere, 75-70-76-76 297 (+9)
36 Pamela Wright, 72-73-76-76 297 (+9)
37 Nicole Dalkas, 66-77-77-77 297 (+9)
* Player already has a status higher than conditional
# Won exempt status in three-hole playoff
++ 2001 Medical Extension
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Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead
New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.
The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.
"Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."
Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.
It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.
Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.
Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore
SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.
Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.
He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.
Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.
Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.
The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.
''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''
Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.
He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.
Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.
Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.
''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''
13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest
Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.
Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.
“An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”
Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.
Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings.
McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi
It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.
Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.
Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.
“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”
Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.
“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.
This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.