Monday, November 10, 2008

Looking Ahead, Part 3: Futures Tour Q-School

The Futures Tour Q-School ended last Friday, with many of its top finishers heading to the LPGA's Q-School in 3 weeks, including medalist Hannah Jun (-12) and Curtis Cupper Alison Walshe (-4).

I was sad to see Fukuoka native Ai Origake balloon to a 78 on Thursday and miss the 54-hole cut by 1 shot. On the bright side, it looks like free-falling former-can't-miss-prospect Esther Choe (+7, T45) will have exempt status on the Futures Tour in 2009. The same can't be said for Violeta Retamoza or Jeanne Cho-Hunicke, but at least they have one more chance for a miracle to strike during the 1st week of December. LPGA rookies Anna Grzebien (-2, T12), Candy Hannemann (+8, T53), Liz Janangelo (+1, T21), and Taylor Leon (E, T19) at least have some insurance should things not go so well then, as does Junior Mint Virada Nirapathpongporn (-1, T15).

Those who do remain on the Futures Tour in 2009 will have some good competition, as 4 of the top 6 finishers, 9 of the top 18, and 18 of the top 40 were amateurs. NCAA standouts Pernilla Lindberg (-11, 2nd) and Jennie Lee (+2, T25) are only a few of the names we'll all get to know better from these ranks next season. With only 4 of the top 40 on the 2008 FT money list not competing in the LPGA's Final Qualifying School (not counting #1-#5, who will already be LPGA members in 2009), the odds are that a good number of them will be competing mostly on the FT next season, as well. For as little money as they'll be competing for, it's a good thing that the FT has added two new tournaments to their 2009 schedule.

[Update 1 (11/13/08, 2:13 am): Beth Ann Baldry has more from FT Q-School.]

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