South Korea’s Ha Na Jang shot to the top of the leaderboard Friday at LPGA Q-School with a 6-under-par 66 at LPGA International’s Jones Course in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Jang is living up to her billing as the highest ranked player in the field at No. 25 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings. She has now shot or equaled the low round on back-to-back days. Jang was the Korean LPGA Tour’s Player of the Year and leading money winner last year.
At 11-under 205, Jang is three shots ahead of amateur Alison Lee (67), the UCLA sophomore looking to finish the weekend strong and launch a professional career. China’s Simin Feng (67) and South Korea’s Ju Young Park (73) are also tied for second, three shots back.
If Lee finishes among the top 20, she says she will shed her amateur status and turn pro to join the LPGA. The top 20 at week’s end earn full LPGA status for next year.
“I’ve already talked to my coach and a lot of people about it, but if I get my full status on Tour I will decide to accept it and turn pro,” Lee told LPGA media after her round. “But I think I’m really lucky to be out here and have a Plan B. I think that’s why I’m playing with a lot less pressure, because even if I don’t get my card I can still go back to school and play for the team.”
Northern Ireland’s Stephanie Meadow (72) is among players tied for seventh and five shots back.
England’s Charley Hull (72) is tied for 40th.
Australia’s Minjee Lee (68), the top women’s amateur in the world before turning pro in September, and Ryann O’Toole (73) are among players tied for 11th.
Cheyenne Woods rallied with a 67 a day after shooting 79. She climbed from 94th to a tie for 31st.
Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn (71) is tied for 24th.
The field will be cut to the low 70 and ties after Saturday's play is complete. The top 20 players after Sunday’s conclusion of play will earn full LPGA status for next year. The next 25 will earn conditional status.