As Ryan Ballengee and Emily Kay have noted, and as Randall Mell has been chronicling, Lexi Thompson has lead the 50 qualifiers from Stage I of LPGA Q-School with a dominating performance. After going 66-66-66-67 at LPGA International, Thompson finished at -23, 10 shots better than runner-up Mitsuki Katahira, the 21-year-old who was recently the #1 female amateur in the world (she's now #2, behind New Zealand wunderkind Lydia Ko).
How good was Lexi's performance this week? Well, consider that she also beat Ginger Howard, who's won 2 SunCoast Series events in a row and 3 of her last 4, by 12 shots, UCLA's Stephanie Kono, who went deep in the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links, by 14, Junthima Gulyanamitta by 18, Victoria Tanco by 19, Carlota Ciganda by 20, and current WAPL champion Brianna Do and former U.S. Girls champion Doris Chen by 24. Not half bad! Seriously, I had my doubts about Thompson's ability to bring the swing changes she's been working on into tournament conditions, but she clearly put those worries to rest this week.
Those who made the 36-hole cut but failed to finish in the top 50 will be alternates for Stage II, which is open to non-LPGA members of Rolex Rankings-recognized tours, everyone in the top 100 of the Rolex Rankings as of July 12th who isn't already an LPGA member, and Class A LPGA members who haven't played in an event in the last 2 years (so long as their handicaps are 4.0 or less). Given that there's room for as many as 216 players in this stage, which conflicts with the Japan Women's Open, I wonder how many JLPGA members will join those from the KLPGA, LET, ALPG, and Futures Tour in late September--and how many of those alternates will get into Stage II's final field?
[Update 1 (5:17 pm): Nice post by Shane Bacon!]