Don't think those facts haven't crossed the mind of at least one player in this week's field of the FUTURES Tour's annual qualifier, which runs Nov. 8-11. Brittany Lang, the former Duke University collegian who tied with amateur Morgan Pressel for runner-up honors in June at the U.S. Women's Open Championship, hopes to follow in the footsteps of Creamer and use the FUTURES Tour's 72-hole tournament as a tune-up for LPGA Q-School. The LPGA's qualifier begins on Nov. 30.
'I see it as a two-fold reason to come [to the FUTURES Tour qualifier],' said Lang, 20, of McKinney, Texas. 'I'm not guaranteed a spot on the LPGA Tour and I'll have to earn my way there, plus this tournament falls at the perfect date. I haven't played tournament golf in a while, so I'm looking forward to it.'
Lang's presence is a reflection of the new wave of young talent coursing through the various ranks of women's professional golf, said Cynthia Rihm, vice president of corporate operations for the FUTURES Golf Tour.
'Just as we had Paula Creamer in the field last year, it gives great credibility to this tournament that a player of Brittany Lang's caliber wants to assure herself an exempt spot on the FUTURES Golf Tour just in case she doesn't advance to the LPGA Tour,' said Rihm. 'This is an extremely strong field with great depth.'
But while Lang, who won the California LPGA sectional tournament in September, obviously is seeking four competitive rounds this week prior to the LPGA Final Qualifying event later in the month, she also knows what the entire field of 303 contestants know going into the FUTURES Tour's annual qualifying tournament. And that is, players must face Plan B (FUTURES Tour Qualifying) before they travel to Daytona for Plan A (LPGA Tour Qualifying).
'The scheduling of the two tournaments is difficult for players because they do have to consider Plan B before they've completed Plan A,' added Rihm. 'But if they want a career in women's professional golf, they have to make that decision and plan accordingly for the coming year.'
This week's qualifying event will be contested on three Lakeland courses -- Cleveland Heights Golf Course, Huntington Hills Golf & Country Club, and Shalimar Creek Golf & Country Club. The field will be cut after 54 holes to the low 100 players and ties. Contestants will play each course once, with the final round to be staged Friday at Cleveland Heights.
The tournament field will include Lang's former Duke teammate Liz Janangelo of West Hartford, Conn., who is a senior on the 2005 national champion Blue Devil team. In addition, the field will include: former LPGA rookie of the year Lisa (Hackney) Hall of Stoke-on-Trent, England; FUTURES Tour alumna Seol-An Jeon of Seoul, South Korea, who took Christie Kerr to a seven-hole, sudden-death playoff at the 2004 LPGA Takefuji Classic; two-time Japanese Olympic beach volleyball player Yukiko Ishizaka of Kanagawa, Japan; and The Golf Channel Big Break III challengers Pamela Crikelair of Highland Beach, Fla., Cindy Miller of Silver Creek, N.Y., and Liz Uthoff of St. Louis.
Annie (Thurman) Young of Highland, Utah, who won the LPGA Florida Sectional tournament last month, already has a pass to the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament but also will be in the field of the FUTURES qualifier. Young is an All-American from Oklahoma State University.
Two members of the 2005 Rolex Junior All-America First Team will head a group of 89 amateurs registered to compete this week in FUTURES Tour qualifying. In-Bee Park of Las Vegas, a five-time Rolex Junior All-American, was the 2002 Rolex Junior Player of the Year and winner of two American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) tournaments this year. Ranked No. 2 in the Golfweek junior rankings, she won the 2002 U.S. Girls' Junior Championship and was a finalist in the 2003 and 2005 U.S. Girls' Junior Championships. Angela Park, 17, of Torrance, Calif., is the nation's fourth-ranked amateur girl and was a semifinalist in the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship in August.
Lakeland-based Pamela Feggans of Ayr, Scotland, an NCAA Division II First-Team All-American from Florida Southern College, also is in the field alongside several other collegiate All-Americans including: Kelly Cramp of Pennington, N.J. (McDaniel College); Kelly Froelich of Athens, Ga. (University of Georgia); Ulrika Ljungman-Smith of Stockholm, Sweden (Rollins College); Audry Longo of Middletown, Conn. (Mt. Holyoke College; Lee-Anne Pace of Mosselbay, South Africa (University of Tulsa); and former NCAA Championship team member at Arizona State University, Thuhashini (Tui) Selvaratnam of Colombo, Sri Lanka.
In a breakdown of ages in this year's FUTURES Tour Qualifying Tournament, 23 players are in their teens, while 208 players are in their 20s. The remaining age breakdown includes 47 players in their 30s, and 25 players age 40 and over.
Players in this year's event also represent 31 nations, with 188 players registered from the United States and the second-largest national representation coming from South Korea with 32 players, followed by 20 players from Canada and 12 from Australia.
'The diversity is clearly here with 31 nations outside the United States represented,' said Rihm. 'More and more strong young players are coming up in the ranks from throughout the world and we'll see many of them here this week.'