Amateurs dominated the first stage of LPGA Q-School at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Five of the top six finishers Sunday were amateurs.
South Africa’s Bertine Strauss, a professional, was medalist, closing with a 2-under-par 70 to finish the 72-hole event at 14 under overall. She was one shot better than 17-year-old amateur Megan Khang (69). Another amateur, 17-year-old Nelly Korda, finished solo third. Korda is hoping to eventually join her older sister, Jessica, in the LPGA ranks. Nelly petitioned the LPGA for a waiver to go to Q-School in a bid to play the Symetra Tour next year. She turns 18 in July of 2016. The LPGA has a rule requiring members be 18 years old.
Amateurs Hayley Davis and Noemi Jimenez tied for fourth.
Sixty players advanced from a field of 283 players to make it to second stage in the three-stage LPGA Q-School system. Eighteen of those were amateurs. An amateur doesn’t have to declare her intention to turn pro until the conclusion of Q-School.
Kang, of Brockton, Mass., was low amateur at the U.S. Women’s Open last month. Emma Talley, who won the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 2013 and won the NCAA individual championship playing for the University of Alabama this year, also advanced. So did Gaby Lopez, the University of Arkansas player who finished runner up to Talley at the NCAAs this year.