Three strokes back in third place was first-round leader and amateur Caroline Goasguen of Montpellier, France, who fired 1-under par 71. Kim, Wongluekiet, Goasguen, and 35 other players received Priority 1 A-3 status for the 2003 Futures Tour season.
Included were Tina Schneeberger of Austria, Kim Brozer of Canada, Jana Peterkova of the Czech Republic, and Janell Howland of Beaumont, Texas, who were tied with five other players at 305 for the final four spots at the end of play. The sudden-death playoff, conducted on the par-4 375-yard No. 18, ended on the fourth playoff hole, allowing Schneeberger, Brozer, Peterkova, and Howland to earn Priority 1 A-3 status for the 2003 season. The next 35 players received Priority 2 Category C status while the remaining 31 players in the field received Priority 2 Category E-1 status, with order being determined by finish for both.
Wongluekiet, who was a co-medalist at last year's qualifying tournament, began the day four shots behind leader Lisette Lee of Kenner, La. She started hot with birdies on three, five, and she drained a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-5 485-yard seventh hole, turning at 33 (-3). Wongluekiet matched her front nine performance with birdies 10, 12, and 13, to finish at 66 (-6).
'I was striking the ball very well today,' commented the 16-year-old
Wongluekiet, who will be attending the University of Florida with her twin sister Naree next fall. 'My putter was hot, especially on the back nine. My aim was to come here this week and defend my title and I'm very happy that I was able to achieve that goal.'
Moon, who played in the last pairing with Wongluekiet, was one shot shy of the lead heading into the final round. She carded birdies on five, 10, and 14, making respective putts of five, three, and two feet.
'I missed some really good birdie chances today,' commented Moon. 'I lipped out on five birdie putts and I could have scored a lot lower. The conditions of the golf course were perfect and that helped me with my game. I am looking forward to next season.'
Moon earned non-exempt status for the 2003 LPGA Tour at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament last month in Daytona Beach, Fla. Her LPGA Tour status granted her automatic Futures Tour eligibility under Category 1 A-4, but Moon opted to compete in this week's Futures Tour Qualifying Tournament to improve her status to Category 1 A-3.
Moon added, 'Because of my status on the LPGA Tour, I will have to Monday qualify for tournaments and there is no guarantee that I will play every week. I decided to come to the Futures Tour Qualifying Tournament to improve my status here so I know that I have a place to play each week next season.'
Lee, who was the leader after the second and third rounds, shot a 75 (+3) for a 293 (+5) tournament total. Her round consisted of three birdies, two bogeys, and two double bogeys. She finished tied for fourth with Lesley Henderson of Mandeville, La.
'I got off to a good start with two birdies on one and two,' stated Lee, who has played with the Futures Tour since 2000. 'I had a couple of bad bounces after I made the turn which was a little frustrating, but I do not want to be too hard on myself. This is my best finish as a professional and I am very happy with the outcome.'
The 38 players who earned Priority 1 A-3 status are (a-amateur): (a) Aree Song Wongluekiet of Bradenton, Fla., Soo Young Moon of Keumsan, Korea, (a) Caroline Goasguen of Montpellier, France, Lesley Henderson of Mandeville, La., Lisette Lee of Kenner, La., Heather Angell of Winston-Salem, N.C., Marie-Josee Rouleau of St. Lambert, Quebec, Kathy Choi of Huntington Beach, Calif., Marcela Leon of Monterrey, Mexico, Young Jo of Seoul, Korea, Carmen Hajjarr of Queensland, Australia, (a) Leigh Turner of Alpharetta, Ga., Nobuyo Nagai of San Diego, Calif., Allie Blomquist of Afton, Minn., Salimah Mussani of Burlington, Ontario, Kristin Dufour of Austin, Texas, Nahoko Hirao of
Kumamoto, Japan, (a) Rebecca Prout of Sussex, England, (a) Heather Stirling of Stirling, Scotland, Tara Bateman of Phoenix, Ariz., Courtney Swaim of Duluth, Ga., Chiharu Yamaguchi of Tochigi, Japan, Yumiko Hasegawa of Osaka, Japan, Kathi Poppmeier of Graz, Austria, Corina Kelepouris of Drayton Valley, Alberta, Rebecca Hudson of Yorkshire, England, Jennifer Hubbard of Van Alstyne, Texas, (a) Brandi Jackson of Belton, S.C., Natalie Aber of Akron, Ohio, (a) Kristy McPherson of Conway, S.C., Niina Laitinen of Helsinki, Finland, Rebecca Mailloux of Hope, R.I., Michelle Scerri of Melbourne, Australia, Meredith Duncan of Shreveport, La., Tina Schneeberger of Austria, Kim Brozer of Red Deer, Alberta, Jana Peterkova of Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic, and Janell Howland of Beaumont, Texas.