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Game within a game at LPGA event

Lexi Thompson
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Lexi Thompson hasn’t qualified for the big event yet.

Neither has Natalie Gulbis, Christina Kim or Laura Davies.

There is a game within the game this week at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail. The drama building there will go beyond who wins Sunday. It extends to who will win the battles for the final qualifying spots into the Sybase Match Play Championship, the LPGA’s next event (May 17-20).

While 48 Sybase spots were locked up off the top of the priority list following the 2011 season, 14 spots are open via the Mobile LPGA Classic. The final two spots in the 64-player field will be awarded as sponsor exemptions.

After the last putt drops in Mobile Sunday, the top 12 players on the 2012 money list who are not already qualified for Sybase will get an invite. Those 12 spots are currently held down by So Yeon Ryu, Jenny Shin, Jessica Korda, Caroline Hedwall, Julieta Granda, Karine Sjodin, Eun-Hee Ji, Mina Harigae, Jodi Ewart, Gulbis, Haeji Kang and Amanda Blumenherst.

Also, the top two players on the leaderboard through 36 holes who are not already qualified for Sybase will get an invite.

Thompson is currently 19th among players who haven’t yet qualified for the Sybase, but her position might be moot. If Thompson qualifies for Sybase, she’ll have a teenager’s conflict. She’s scheduled to go to her prom on the weekend of Sybase. Also, Juli Inkster is qualified for Sybase, but she is injured and may not be able to play. If she doesn’t play, Paige Mackenzie will earn the spot off the 2012 priority list.

Here’s the top 48 already qualified:

1.     Yani Tseng

2.     Cristie Kerr

3.     Na Yeon Choi

4.     Stacy Lewis

5.     Suzann Pettersen

6.     Brittany Lincicome

7.     Angela Stanford

8.     Ai Miyazato

9.     Paula Creamer

10.   Amy Yang

11.   I.K. Kim

12.   Hee Young Park

13.   Morgan Pressel

14.   Karrie Webb

15.   Jiyai Shin

16.   Catriona Matthew

17.   Maria Hjorth

18.   Michelle Wie

19.   Brittany Lang

20.   Sandra Gal

21.   Hee Kyung Seo

22.   Mika Miyazato

23.   Anna Nordqvist

24.   Azahara Munoz

25.   Sun Young Yoo

26.   Karine Icher

27.   Sophie Gustafson

28.   Se Ri Pak

29.   Meena Lee

30.   Karen Stupples

31.   Katie Futcher

32.   Inbee Park

33.   Shanshan Feng

34.   Song-Hee Kim

35.   Momoko Ueda

36.   Chelle Choi

37.   Juli Inkster

38.   Candie Kung

39.   Mindy Kim

40.   Jimin Kang

41.   Hee-Won Han

42.   Tiffany Joh

43.   Jeong Jang

44.   Amy Hung

45.   Beatriz Recari

46.   Wendy Ward

47.   Vicky Hurst

48.   Ryann O’Toole