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Amanda Blumenherst wins LPGA Sectional Qualifying Tournament

LPGA Tour _newAmanda Blumenherst won the LPGA Sectional Qualifying Tournament on Sunday by six strokes at the Mission Hills Country Club Dinah Shore Tournament Course in Palm Springs, Calif.

Blumenherst finished at 16-under 272, thanks in large part to a Saturday 65. Azahara Munoz was second (278), while Lehua Wise (279), Emma Cabrera-Bello (280) and Ashley Knoll (281) rounded out the top 5.

“I was just playing like it was a normal tournament,” said Blumenherst. “I was playing the best I could, and I didn’t think about making the cut or posting a certain score. I just continued to play my game. I have been hitting my shots really good lately, so my goal was to just keep positive and just play my game.”

The Scottsdale, Ariz., native finished the final day with three birdies and one bogey for a 2-under 70. The top-30 players and ties advanced to the LPGA Final Q-School at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla., Dec. 2-6.

“Well, I have one more tournament to play, then I will just continue working on my game,” Blumenherst said.  “I will probably continue working on my chipping. I need to maintain the same ball striking, which I have been doing very well lately. I will work more on my short game as well.”

Cabrera-Bello's brother, Rafael, incidentally, won his first European Tour event Sunday at the Austrain Golf Open.

The second LPGA Sectional Qualifying Tournament will be Sept. 29-Oct. 2, 2009, at Plantation Golf and Country Club’s Bobcat and Panther Courses in Venice, Fla. The top-30 finishers and ties from the Venice qualifier will join the top-30 players and ties from this week’s sectional qualifier in the final stage.

Making up the rest of the field in Daytona Beach will be current LPGA members attempting to improve their priority standing and eligible Duramed Futures Tour players who automatically advanced based on their position on the 2009 season-ending money list.