Mina Harigae didn't go low for the 3rd time in a row in Kentucky on the Futures Tour, but her 71 was good enough for a victory by 2 shots over Amanda Blumenherst (70), 3 over Pernilla Lindberg (66), and 4 over Samantha Richdale (64), Hannah Yun (69), Yoora Kim (70), and Gerina Mendoza (72).
With her 3rd win of the season, Harigae returns to the top of the money list and joins the LPGA in priority status category #13, which puts her at #152 on the current priority status list. She could play the next 2 events on the Futures Tour to secure her place in the top 5, then will most likely get into the Safeway Classic, Canadian Women's Open, and NW Arkansas events on the LPGA in an attempt to make the top 50 of the money list and qualify for the Asian swing. Or she could play out her season on the Futures Tour and enjoy a little bit of down time and a lot of training before she starts the 2010 LPGA season.
With a 71.26 scoring average and 3.11 birdie rate, she definitely has the game to compete on the LPGA, but will need to improve her ballstriking (she's not in the top 15 in greens in regulation or driving distance or accuracy on the Futures Tour this season) to become a top 40 player in the big leagues. She's shown she knows how to go low, which is a start. But given how Vicky Hurst, Mindy Kim, and M.J. Hur haven't exactly overwhelmed the LPGA this season thus far, she still has a long ways to go.
[Update 1 (9:07 pm): Oh, forgot to mention that Tiffany Joh shot the 1st under-par round of her pro career today. 1st of many, to be sure!]
[Update 2 (9:15 pm): Jamie at Crosscourt Birdies has more on the way Harigae won--and on Jennifer Song's impressive U.S. Women's Amateur win.]
[Update 3 (8/10/09, 5:01 am): Lisa Mickey has more on Harigae's win and its repercussions.]