Duke Senior Gina Kim is one step closer to blocking her LPGA card.
Kim won a medal in Level I of LPGA Q-School on Sunday after finishing a 15-under week with a 5-under-67 on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California. She was one of the 95 best players and draws who move up from the 72-hole qualifying tournament with 336 players to phase II.
“The putts didn’t ease off at the beginning, but I knew this was a marathon, not a sprint,” Kim said in a school announcement. “So I just took it one hole at a time and was patient. … [Duke] Coach [Dan] Brooks and [assistant] Jon Whithaus has helped me a lot in strengthening my mental side of the game. I think I just think smarter these days, I think much more calmly and I can simplify a lot, so it was a pretty stress-free round today. “
Kim finished one shot in front of Chinese Huize Lian and two in front of former Texan standout Agathe Laisne, one of four amateurs on T-4 or better along with Houston student Karen Fredgaard and Vanderbilt Senior Auston Kim. Laisne is the only one of the four who won’t be returning to school this fall.
However, Gina Kim has one more stop before returning to Durham, North Carolina. She is flying to Wales on Monday morning to join her U.S. Curtis Cup teammates. The games start on Thursday.
“A quick turnaround,” she said. “… After that, I have to go back to school and be a regular college student and take part in my college tournaments, so I’m pretty excited to see what’s in store.”
Stage II will be held October 21-24 at the Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice, Florida. This field will include the advanced level I and a list of others including the top 125 in Symetra Tour points, those outside the top 150 in LPGA points, players in the top 400 of the Rolex rankings, and the top 5 amateurs in both WAGR and last season’s Golfweek ranking.
Among the other amateurs who will compete in Phase II: Linn Grant from the US state Arizona, Maja Stark from Oklahoma State, Beatrice Wallin from Florida and Vivian Hou from Arizona as well as several colleagues from the first phase, including Brooke Matthews from Arkansas ( T -10), Arizona’s Yu-Sang Hou (T-19), Alabama’s Polly Mack (T-22), Virginia Techs Emily Mahar (T-22), Auburn’s Kaleigh Telfer (T-27), Texas’ Brigette Thibault (T – 66) and Oklahoma’s Libby Winans (T-66).
New rules that went into effect a few years ago allow college players to defer their status until after the NCAA championship this spring. Grant is the only player who is sure to leave the midseason should she at least secure the Symetra Tour status. Others, including Wallin and the House, have yet to make a decision. Stark has already decided to leave school.
All players who complete 108 holes in the 144-hole Q-Series, due to begin in Alabama in late November, will be granted Symetra status. LPGA cards will be dealt to the top 45 and ties after the two-week event ends on December 12th at the Highland Oaks Golf Club in Dothan, Alabama.
Other notable individuals who have left Stage One: Ole Miss grad Kennedy Swann (T-16), Duke Product and 2016 NCAA Individual Champion Virginia Elena Carta (T-19), Olympian Morgane Metraux’s sister Kim Metraux (T-49 ), South Carolina graduate and youngest All-American international Ana Pelaez (T-62), former USC teammates and alumni Amelia Garvey (T-4) and Alyaa Abdulghany (T-62), Arizona State graduate Olivia Mehaffey (T- 75) and junior golfer Alexa Pano (T-85).
Among those eliminated was Steve Stricker’s daughter, Bobbi; former South Carolina teammates Lois Kaye Go and Pimnipa Panthong; Junior golfer Paris Hilinski; and Hailey Davidson, who tried to become the first transgender woman to get an LPGA card through Q-School. Davidson missed the Stage II cut by just four shots at 7 overs.