Alexis Thompson made a strong opening statement in her bid to win a spot on the LPGA tour next year.
The 16-year-old pro from Coral Springs, Fla., opened with a 6-under-par 66, good for a tie for second through 18 holes of the 72-hole qualifier.
Stephanie Kono, a senior to be at UCLA, opened with a 65. Kono helped the Bruins win the NCAA championship this year. She remains an amateur who doesn’t have to declare professional status until after completing the final stage of Q-School. Eight of the top 11 players on the leaderboard after the first round were amateurs.
The margin for error’s wide in the first round with the top 50 and ties in the field of 150 advancing to second stage.
Thompson is one of three teenagers who received special permission from the LPGA commissioner to play Q-School. Argentina’s Victoria Tanco, 17, an IMG Golf Academy student, opened with a 70 and is tied for 19th. Ginger Howard, 17, another IMG Golf Academy student who turned pro this summer, also opened with a 70. Both Tanco and Howard will turn 18 within the first three months of next year.