Its Crunch Time at Season-Ending Futures Tour Event


Duramed Futures TourThis is the week where hard work turns into big dreams for five players. The top five players on the duramed FUTURES Tour's Money List following completion of the season-ending ILOVENY Championship this week, will earn fully exempt 2007 LPGA Tour status.
The next 10 players, who don't already have non-exempt LPGA Tour status, will move into the LPGA's Final Qualifying tournament in December, skipping the first stage of LPGA Sectional Qualifying.
Currently, five non-exempt LPGA Tour members are ranked from No. 6 to No. 15, which means they will be skipped if they remain in those positions, allowing the next available non-LPGA players to advance to LPGA Q-School Finals.(LPGA non-exempt members automatically return to the final qualifying event.)
How do those players in the top seven positions feel about their status this week?
'I'm in a position I've never been in before and I'm learning how to deal with the pressure,' said Allison Fouch of Grand Rapids, Mich., currently ranked seventh. 'This week will be a pretty big week for all of us.'
'You can get wrapped up in the emotions and the hype, but if you do that, you forget what the competition is about,' added sixth-ranked Ashley Prange of Noblesville, Ind. 'I'm not playing these girls. I'm playing the golf course.'
Prange dropped into the No. 6 position after the recent Gettysburg Championship (Pa.) and was replaced by rookie Angela Park of Torrance, Calif., whose fourth-place finish allowed her to jump from No. 8 to No. 5 at a critical time.
'I told myself not to look too far ahead,' said Park, 18. 'I've learned a lot about what kind of player I am and I'm glad there is such a thing as the Duramed FUTURES Tour.'
The money race among players ranked No. 4 through No. 7 is particularly tight. A total of $5,219 separates No. 4 Kristy McPherson of Conway, S.C., and Park. A sum of $103 stands between fifth-ranked Park and No. 6 Prange. And a mere $223 separates Prange and No. 7 Fouch.
'We're all very, very aware of where we are and how we stand, but we still have to go out there and play our own games,' said Prange. 'Whatever happens in the end, happens in the end.'
'We're all out there playing for the same thing -- for those five cards and those next 10 spots,' said fourth-ranked McPherson. 'Song-Hee [Kim], Charlotte [Mayorkas] and In-Bee [Park] have made some extra room for themselves in the number one through three positions. For No. 4 and No. 5, it's going to take some good golf to hang on to the top five.'
But regardless of Sunday's outcome, Prange calls the season and the Duramed FUTURES Tour a vital 'stepping stone you have to take to get to the LPGA.'
'We're all going to get there with full status, whether it's this week or in a few months at LPGA Q-School,' said Fouch, a non-exempt LPGA Tour member. 'Look at our numbers. We fit into the LPGA's top 50 right now.'