Tuesday, December 22, 2009

LET Q-School Update 3: German Amateur Caroline Masson Takes Medalist Honors

With all the LPGA and Futures Tour players near the top of the leaderboard with 21 to 36 holes left to play in LET Q-School heading into Monday morning (thanks to weather and darkness delays), the last person I expected to walk away with medalist honors was a European amateur, but that's just what Caroline Masson did. A walkoff eagle lifted her to -14, 2 shots ahead of Aussie Kristie Smith and 3 ahead of Colombian Maria Jose Uribe (of whom the LET was kind enough to note that she likes to go by "Mariajo").

So how did things play out? When last we checked in, Hannah Jun was -7 with 3 holes left to play in her 3rd round and had a 4-shot lead on Smith and Uribe. As it turned out, she was really only -6 at that point and bogeyed the 17th to settle for a 68. That opened the door for Smith to catch her and Uribe to pass her. Here's how things looked at the end of the 3rd round:

1st/-10 Maria Jose Uribe (69-70-70)
T2/-9 Hannah Jun (68-74-68), Kristie Smith (71-70-69)
4th/-8 Julie Maisongrosse (72-70-69)
5th/-7 Caroline Masson (70-72-70)
T8/-4 Dewi Claire Schreefel (71-75-69)

T12/-2 Alison Walshe (68-79-70)
T18/E Jeehae Lee (71-76-72), Diana D'Alessio (73-71-75)
T23/+1 Maria Hernandez Munoz (69-77-74), Pernilla Lindberg (66-78-76)
T32/+2 Mallory Blackwelder (73-74-74)
T39/+4 Kim Welch (73-80-70)
T42/+5 Mollie Fankhauser (76-75-73), Miriam Nagl (72-79-73)

The only player I was following to miss the cut was Stephanie Na. After shooting a 78, she ended up at +8, 2 shots off the pace, which may not sound like much, but given that she had ended Sunday with a 44 on the back, her 34 on the front was pretty heroic. After making birdies on 3 of her last 4 holes, it's too bad she ran out of time.

So what happened over the final 18 holes? Basically, Masson went super-low and nobody else near the top could match her, particularly when Uribe followed up her 33 on the front with 3 straight bogeys to start the back and couldn't find another birdie the rest of the way.

1st/-14 Caroline Masson (70-72-70-66)
2nd/-12 Kristie Smith (71-70-69-70)
3rd/-11 Maria Jose Uribe (69-70-70-72)
4th/-10 Julie Maisongrosse (72-70-69-71)
T5/-9 Hannah Jun (68-74-68-73)
7th/-8 Dewi Claire Schreefel (71-75-69-69)
T8/-6 Maria Hernandez Munoz (69-77-74-66)

T12/-4 Jeehae Lee (71-76-72-69)
T16/-1 Mallory Blackwelder (73-74-74-70), Diana D'Alessio (73-71-75-72)
T19/E Alison Walshe (68-79-70-75)
T23/+1 Pernilla Lindberg (66-78-76-73)
T29/+2 Mollie Fankhauser (76-75-73-70)

T34/+3 Kim Welch (73-80-70-72)
48th/+7 Miriam Nagl (72-79-73-75)

Fankhauser's in a playoff for the last 2 spots that get you full LET membership in 2010, while Welch doubled her last hole to miss the playoff by a shot--after making birdies on her 2 previous holes to put herself within the top 30. With partial status on both the LPGA and LET and full status on the Futures Tour, it'll be interesting to see how Welch sets up her schedule in 2010. I'll update you on Fankhauser's status when I know it.

On the bright side, it was a great bogey-free 66 by the player known as Maria Hernandez on this side of the pond. She got off to a good start with 2 birdies in her 1st 3 holes (she started on the 11th), then got hot with an eagle on the 3rd and 3 birdies in her last 6 holes. With a T5 in the LPGA's Q-School and a T8 in the LET's, she could be a force to be reckoned with on both sides of the Atlantic in 2010. She certainly did better than Lindberg, who I almost jinxed out of dual membership--or any--given that she squeaked into T16 at the LPGA's Q-School and came within a shot of being in today's playoff at the LET's. (Good thing Pernilla's got Annika on her side!) And she was more consistent than Uribe, who improved from T12 in the LPGA's Q-School to 3rd at the LET's. That's 3 players to watch in both tour's rookie classes, for sure. Although whether they're at the level of fellow dual member/'10er Azahara Munoz, who's already won on the LET, remains to be seen....

[Update 1 (10:36 am): If you're a Waggle Room regular, you'll get a laugh out of the way Ryan Ballengee explains the LET's Q-School results in a language many of his new readers can understand. Makes me glad to be running a lo-fi, niche women's golf blog!]

[Update 2 (12:39 pm): Please see Awsi Dooger's comment for a correction on how Welch missed the playoff. I has assumed she started on 11 with Hernandez for some reason, when she actually started on 14--she had two chances to make birdie to get into the playoff and couldn't do it, even on the par-5 13th, her final hole. Speaking of the playoff, Mollie Fankhauser did get 1 of those 2 spots.]


Awsi Dooger said...

I wasn't specific enough in my comment last night. Welch actually double bogeyed her 3rd to last hole, after consecutive birdies on the two previous holes. Then she needed a birdie on her final hole, the par 5 #13, but managed par to miss the playoff by one shot. Welch was -7 on the par 5s during the three pre qualifying rounds, then strangely +4 on the par 5s during final stage.

Welch definitely is in much better shape status wise for the LET than LPGA. I looked at the players who missed by one shot last year at LET Q School, #31-37. They played between 7 and 23 events on the LET this year, and many of the absences appeared to be voluntary due to travel realities.

Great coverage, Constructivist. I loved the link to Ryan Ballengee and his real world priorities. :)

The Constructivist said...

Thanks, correction noted. And I appreciate the details on Welch's LET opportunities, not to mention your following my link!