Friday, November 30, 2007

Q-School: Every Shot Is Crunch Time

With 2 rounds to go before the LPGA Q-School field is cut to the top 70 and ties, the players are now being grouped by score. Those playing the Champions course today (they play two rounds each on each course before narrowing the field for the final round, so will play the Legends course Saturday) are in the best position to give themselves a chance to play on Sunday for the top 17 spots (exempt status for 2008) or for 18th-52nd place (non-exempt status).

So who among those I've been rooting for are stuck on the Legends course today? Kiran Matharu (+13), Nikki Garrett (+9), Beth Bauer (+9), and Paige Mackenzie (+5). Of them, only Mackenzie can still play her normal game, as the cut line could be anywhere from +2 to +7, depending on how the players who are struggling thus far handle the conditions and the pressure; Garrett and Bauer are going to have to go under par over the next 2 rounds to have a chance, and Matharu will need to go very low.

Almost in the same boat as Bauer is Super Soph Na Ri Kim (+3), who trails her classmates Nina Reis (E, T36) and Virada Nirapathpongporn (-1, T26) in the race for exempt status. All of them will have to pick up their games to finish in the top 17 this Q-School--they can't count on the people ahead of them to falter. Same goes for Amy Yang (+1, T45), Taylor Leon (E, T36), and Ya Ni Tseng and Maru Martinez (-1, T26). Na Yeon Choi and Song Hee Kim, both T14 at -2, have each had one bad round already and are unlikely to falter again. Ashleigh Simon is cruising at -4 (T5), right behind the leaders Jane Park (-9), Kelli Kuehne (-6), and Hee Young Park (-5).

So 6 of my 17 faves are leading the field, another 7 are still in the hunt, 2 can get back into it, and 3 will need to play some inspired golf today and tomorrow just to have a shot at non-exempt status. Good luck to all!

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