Don't look now, but there's another hot Swedish golfer dominating LET Q-School. This past January, it was Anna Nordqvist who bounced back from a disappointing LPGA Q-School by taking medalist honors in the LET's and securing full membership there as opposed to partial membership on the LPGA. This weekend, it's Pernilla Lindberg, who didn't play enough Futures Tour events to make the top 10 on their money list in 2009 and snag an LPGA card but got one anyway by finishing T16 at LPGA Q-School, who's leading the charge of FT grads looking for LET membership in 2010. Here's how they stand after the 1st round:
1st/-7 Pernilla Lindberg (66)
T2/-5 Hannah Jun, Alison Walshe (68)
T6/-4 Maria Jose Uribe, Maria Hernandez Munoz (69)
T15/-2 Dewi Claire Schreefel, Jeehae Lee, Kristie Smith (71)
T26/-1 Miriam Nagl (72)
T34/E Diana D'Alessio, Mallory Blackwelder, Kim Welch, Stephanie Na (73)
T60/+3 Mollie Fankhauser (76)
It's looking like going for dual LPGA-LET membership was on the minds of Lindberg, D'Alessio (T22 at LPGA Q-School), Lee (T32), Fankhauser (T58), Uribe (T12), Hernandez (T5), Walshe (54th), Schreefel (52nd), Jun (MC), Blackwelder (T38), Nagl (69th), Welch (T38), and Na (MC) long before the tours' 2010 schedules were officially released. With Azahara Munoz already getting it by winning on the LET this season and finishing T5 at LPGA Q-School, and Julieta Granada retaining her LET status by playing in 6 tour events in '09, finishing 73rd on their money list, and getting full LPGA status by finishing 4th at the LPGA's Q-School, we could have as many as 8 new dual LPGA-LET members in 2010.
It'll be interesting to see how they handle their schedules next season. Getting an early start to the LET season in New Zealand and Australia gets them 3 competitions under their belts heading into the crucial start of the LPGA's season. Having LET membership also gives them a chance to keep their games sharp in May and early June heading into the meat of the LPGA schedule in June and July. And it gives them the option of staying on the LET after the LPGA's European swing for part or all of the rest of the season, depending on whether they've played well enough on the LPGA to put themselves in the running to qualify for the tour's Asian swing. And for those with only partial LPGA status in 2010--D'Alessio, Lee, Blackwelder, and Welch--the LET could well be their main tour next season, as it would definitely be for Fankhauser, Walshe, Schreefel, Jun, Nagl, and Na.
In September, I already went out on a limb and claimed that Lindberg's rookie season on the LPGA will be better than Nordqvist's. So I'll hold off on speculating further on how a new generation of dual LPGA-LET members might handle their worldwide schedules in 2010. First they have to make the 54-hole cut and finish in the top 30 to get full LET membership next season. But it is worth noting already that I'm following 6 more players in the current LET Q-School than I did for last season's. Wonder how many more I'll be following this time next year?
[Update 1 (4:27 am): Ah, the 2nd round has been postponed by heavy rain and some snow--in Murcia, Spain!]