Pressel Ready for LPGA Tour Q-School

By Lpga Tour MediaNovember 28, 2005, 5:00 pm
LPGA logo for LeaderboardsDAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- A field of 142 players will tee it up this week at the Nov. 30-Dec. 4 LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament at both the Legends Course and Champions Course at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla. All will be vying for one of the 24 coveted exempt LPGA Tour cards for the 2006 Tour season, and for 90 grueling holes it will be all or nothing.
 
It's not an overstatement to call the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament the most stressful event of the year. Play well for five days and the 2006 LPGA Tour season is yours for the taking. One wayward drive or a couple of putts left short, and a player can leave sunny Daytona Beach feeling gray.
 
Two LPGA Sectional Qualifying Tournaments'one in Rancho Mirage, Calif., and the other in Venice, Fla.'have been held to help determine the field for the Final LPGA Qualifying Tournament. The top-30 finishers and ties from each LPGA Sectional Qualifying Tournament advanced to the final stage and join 70 current LPGA Tour members'a record number'who are trying to improve or retain their playing status for 2006. The field is completed by the eligible players who finished sixth through 15th on the final 2005 Futures Tour money list. The top-five finishers on the Futures Tour money list automatically received their exempt card for 2006.
 
Of the 142 players competing, none will garner more attention than Morgan Pressel, Brittany Lang and Ai Miyazato. Pressel, a feisty 17-year-old who recently turned professional, has made golfing headlines since she qualified for the U.S. Women's Open conducted by the USGA when she was 12. This year, she won the U.S. Women's Amateur, tied for second at the U.S. Women's Open and never finished worse than a tie for 25th in her other six LPGA appearances.
 
However, there is a caveat to the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament that exists for Pressel. She petitioned the LPGA for early membership at the age of 17, but even if she earns a Tour card, she will not be able to compete as an LPGA member until her 18th birthday, which is in May. Pressel can play in events before May as a sponsor's exemption, and has already accepted an invitation to play in the early-season Safeway International Presented by Coca-Cola, but any money earned will not be official until her membership begins in May. Pressel finished sixth at the California-based LPGA Sectional Qualifying Tournament after shooting final-round 63 to advance to the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament.
 
Lang, who like Pressel tied for second at the U.S. Women's Open, will compete in the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament after taking medalist honors at the California-based LPGA Sectional Qualifying Tournament. Lang was an amateur at the U.S. Women's Open, but has since turned professional and left her two years at Duke University behind her to embark on a journey to the LPGA. Lang played in six LPGA events this year, made the cut four times, and recorded three top-15 finishes.
 
Miyazato, a pint-sized superstar from Japan, finished runner-up to Lang at the LPGA Sectional Qualifying Tournament and is ready to make a splash on the LPGA Tour. She played in the HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship and knocked off Laura Diaz in the first round before bouncing LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame member Juli Inkster in the second. She finished tied for ninth and also tied for 11th at the Weetabix Women's British Open.
 
Other notables competing this week include 2005 National Golf Coaches Association Eleanor Dudley Division I Player of the Year award winner Louise Stahle; 2005 Women's World Cup of Golf participant and European standout Minea Blomqvist; 2004 U.S. Girls' Junior champion Julieta Granada; and 2002 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year winner Beth Bauer.
 
The LPGA is one of the most diverse sports associations in the world, and that could not be any more evident than by looking at the makeup of the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament. Twenty-two countries will be represented with players competing from Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Ecuador, England, Finland, France, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Scotland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, United States and Wales.
 
The field will be cut to the low 70 players and ties after 72 holes, with the remaining players contesting the final round on the Legends Course. After 90 holes, a sudden-death playoff will be held to determine who gets the final exempt card in the event of a tie. The next 35 players and ties will receive conditional status for the 2006 season.
 
Related links:
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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.

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    Mickelson starts fast, fades to 70 at La Quinta

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:07 pm

    Phil Mickelson got off to a fast start in his first competitive round of 2018 - for six holes, at least.

    The 47-year-old is making his first start since the WGC-HSBC Champions this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, and only his third competitive appearance since the BMW Championship in September. Four birdies over his first six holes indicated that a strong opener might be in the cards, but Mickelson played his subsequent holes in 2 over.

    It added up to a 2-under 70 at La Quinta Country Club, typically the easiest of the three courses in rotation this week, and left Mickelson eight shots behind Jon Rahm.

    "It was fun to get back out and be competitive," Mickelson told reporters. "I for some reason am stuck on 70 here at La Quinta, whether I get off to a good start or a bad one, I end up shooting the same score."


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Mickelson stunted his momentum with a tee shot out of bounds on the par-4 eighth hole, but he managed to save bogey and otherwise drove the ball relatively well. Instead, he pointed to his normally reliable iron play as the culprit for his back-nine backslide on a day when more than 120 players in the 156-man field broke par.

    Mickelson will now head to the Nicklaus Tournament Course with the Stadium Course on tap for Saturday's third round. While there were several low scores Thursday at La Quinta, Mickelson remains bullish about the birdie opportunities that still lie ahead.

    "This isn't the course where I go low on," Mickelson said. "I feel more comfortable on Stadium and Nicklaus. Neither of them are nearly as tight and I tend to score a lot lower on those other two than I do here, historically."