Sierra Brooks arrived for the second stage of LPGA Q-School unsure if she wants to turn pro before finishing out her senior year at the University of Florida, but she will make the leap more tempting if she keeps playing like she is this week.
Brooks, who finished runner-up to Arkansas’ Maria Fassi at the NCAA Championships in May, shot a 1-under-par 71 Wednesday at Plantation Golf & Country Club in Venice, Fla., to position herself in a tie for third going into Thursday’s final round.
A minimum of the top 30 and ties at the end of second stage will advance to the Q-Series finale later this month.
“Taking each moment as it comes,” Brooks said earlier in the week. “My hope is to play in the spring, but don’t really know until I get there. I’ve been working hard and following my process. I want to play my game and see where I stack up against everyone for the rest of this run.”
Thailand’s Prima Thammaraks moved atop the leader with her third consecutive 68.
At 12-under 204, she’s two shots ahead of Germany’s Olivia Cowan (70) and three ahead of Brooks and China’s Yan Liu (72).
Brooks isn’t the only collegian who may be speeding up a timetable to turn pro.
Stanford seniors Albane Valenzuela and Andrea Lee are both making strong moves up the leaderboard.
Valenzuela, who is No. 3 in the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking and No. 4 in Golfweek’s collegiate rankings, shot 69 Wednesday to move into a tie for seventh. Lee, No. 1 in both the Women’s World Amateur Golf Ranking and the Golfweek collegiate rankings, shot 68 to move into a tie for 11th.
USC junior Jennifer Chang and 17-year-old amateur Lucy Li also are tied for 11th.
Florida State sophomore Frida Kinhult is tied for 21st.
Yealimi Noh, who turned pro as a 17-year-old earlier this year, has some work to do to advance to Q-Series. She’s tied for 57th. Noh, now 18, made a couple runs at winning LPGA titles as a non-member this year, playing her way into events through Monday qualifying. She tied for second at the Cambia Portland Classic and tied for sixth at the Thornberry Classic. She turned down a scholarship offer to UCLA after winning the Girls’ Junior PGA Championship, the U.S. Girls’ Junior and the Canadian Women’s Amateur in consecutive weeks last year.