Eight-round Q-Series gauntlet ends with 46 players securing LPGA status for 2023

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Charlotte Thomas described this week as a “do or die” chapter of her professional career. Six years into the play-for-pay ranks, Thomas felt that whatever happened at Q-Series over the last eight rounds could be a sign.

In the end, the sign read: Back to the LPGA.

“I’m exhausted and ready for a drink,” said Thomas, who tied for 28th to earn back her tour card for 2023. A total of 46 players earned LPGA cards at Q-Series, a 144-hole grind that takes places over a fortnight in Alabama.

“I think when I look back on last year, I initially was disappointed that I lost my card and had to come back here,” said Thomas, “but I think the fact that I didn’t play golf for 16 months was – I kind of don’t give myself enough credit sometimes I don’t think.”

Thomas missed the 2021 LPGA season while struggling to find a treatment for chronic eczema.

Everyone in the field in Dothan has a story. Some have been toiling in the professional ranks for years, while others, like Michigan State’s Valery Plata, turned pro just before Q-Series. Plata tied for third with recent Stanford grad Aline Krauter.

Tournament winner Hae Ran Ryu, a KLPGA veteran, is ranked 50th in the world. (Epson Tour photo)

South Korea’s Hae Ran Ryu, currently No. 50 in the Rolex Rankings, topped the field at 29 under, clipping Bailey Tardy by two strokes. The top 20 players and ties earn category 14 status on the LPGA, while those who finished 21-45 and ties earned category 15 status. Players who finished outside the top 45 and completed all four rounds before the cut earned Epson Tour status for 2023.

“Feels good, especially since our first event of the year would be my home course in Phoenix,” said Dana Finkelstein, who tied for 15th.

LPGA Q-SERIES: Leaderboard

“Superstition Mountain is kind of where golf started for me. The Safeway Open out there, I was like 12 or 13 and I went to go watch Annika [Sorenstam] and Morgan [Pressel] and all them. I have pictures of my awkward 12-year-old self at the golf course, and now it’s cool that I’m going to be playing and some other 12-year-old is going to be watching me. It’s pretty cool.”

The first full-field LPGA event of the season, the LPGA Drive On Championship, will take place March 23-26, 2023, in Gold Canyon, Arizona.

Finkelstein, an LPGA veteran, shared 15th with 2022 Alabama grad Polly Mack, who held on despite a closing 76. Mack played the first 72 holes without a caddie but employed a good friend for the second week.

Alexa Pano, the 18-year-old who starred in the Netflix series “The Short Game,” shot 68-67 over the weekend yet missed the top 20 by one stroke. Pano turned professional in the spring and finished 13th on the Epson Tour money list this season.

Jaravee Boonchant was one of three former Duke players who finished in the top 45. Boonchant had former Blue Devil teammate Gina Kim on her bag for Q-Series. The pair, along with Ana Belac (T-38), helped Duke win the 2019 NCAA title. (Kim earned her LPGA card earlier this year via the Epson Tour.)

Lindy Duncan, a former NCAA Player of the Year at Duke, shot three consecutive 73s to also take a share of 38th.

“I keep asking Gina questions that probably shouldn’t be asked on the course, but she was really helpful and very supportive,” said Boonchant, who tied for 21. “And she honestly was like the one who kind of put me in place and shape my thought and my mental game.

“I’m really thankful for that.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek

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