FAR HILLS, N.J. – Jaye Marie Green, the 2012 U.S. Women’s Amateur runner-up, and six USGA champions earned 2014 LPGA Tour cards when the 90-hole LPGA Qualifying School Finals concluded on Sunday at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Two players who competed for the USA in the Curtis Cup and 2013 U.S. Women’s Amateur runner-up Yueer Cindy Feng also earned playing privileges.
Green, 19, of Boca Raton, Fla., carded rounds of 62-68-66-67-68 on the Jones and Hills Courses for a record-setting, 29-under-par total of 331, shattering the previous mark of 18-under 342 by eight-time LPGA Tour winner Stacy Lewis five years ago. Green’s 10-stroke victory over Mi Rim Lee, of Korea, was the largest margin since Ai Miyazato, of Japan, won by 12 strokes eight years ago.
“This is going to be a week that I’ll always remember,” said Green, who lost to Lydia Ko of New Zealand in the 36-hole U.S. Women’s Amateur final at The Country Club in Cleveland before turning pro last fall. Ko, 16, won her first event as a professional – and fifth pro event overall – on Sunday in Chinese Taipei.
“I was the most nervous on that last green when I didn’t have to be but I really was,” said Green. “But when that putt fell I was just speechless and I think I was just seeing stars really. It was a cool feeling. I just felt really relieved.”
The low 20 scorers earned fully exempt (Category 12) status on the LPGA Tour for 2014, while places 21 through 45 (and ties) received conditional (Category 17) status. The remaining players who survived the 72-hole cut earned Symetra Tour status. The first four rounds were split between the Jones and Hills Courses, with the final round on the 6,389-yard, par-72 Jones Course.
Tiffany Joh, of San Diego, who won the 2006 and 2008 U.S Women’s Amateur Public Links titles, celebrated her 27th birthday on Sunday with a final-round 71 for a 15-under total of 345, good for third place.
“Pressure-wise, there’s nothing that compares to this week,” said Joh. “With it coinciding with my birthday, half the time I think it’s a jinx and the other half I think it’s awesome. It’s definitely up there with my top golf accomplishments.”
Amy Anderson, of Oxbow, N.D., winner of the 2009 U.S. Girls’ Junior and a member of the 2012 USA Curtis Cup Team, finished fourth at 14-under 346. Anderson graduated from North Dakota State this past May with 20 college titles, the most ever by a collegian.
“This is not what I expected at all,” said Anderson. “The week or so leading up I was actually struggling with my game quite a bit. So I was thinking I would sneak in by the skin of my teeth. To come out here and just play well all week was really exciting and took the stress out of it.”
Lisa Ferrero, of Lodi, Calif., the 2000 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion, tied for 13th with Silvia Cavalleri, of Italy, the 1997 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion, at 7-under 353.
Erica Popson, of Davenport, Fla., one of three 2012 USA Curtis Cup Team members to earn 2014 LPGA Tour privileges at the tournament, tied for ninth at 8-under 352.
Two other USGA champions earned conditional status.
Birdie Kim, who holed out a miraculous bunker shot on the 72nd hole at Cherry Hills Country Club in suburban Denver to win the 2005 U.S. Women’s Open, finished at 4-under 356.
Brianna Do, of Lakewood, Calif., the 2011 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links champion, tied for 32nd at 2-under 358.
Jenny Suh, of Fairfax, Va., a 2006 USA Curtis Cup Team member, lost in a playoff for the final exempt spots after finishing at 6-under 354. Four golfers competed for the two positions.
Lindy Duncan, of Plantation, Fla., the final 2012 Curtis Cup player to earn a card, finished in a tie for 38th at 1-under 359. The four-time All-American at Duke University was a semifinalist at the 2006 U.S. Women’s Amateur.
Feng, who lost to Emma Talley in the 36-hole U.S. Women’s Amateur final in August at the Country Club of Charleston (S.C.), had to play catch-up the entire event after opening with a 76. She closed with rounds of 68-69 to tie for 23rd at 356. Feng played the first two qualifying stages as an amateur, but turned professional at the final stage.
Two notable golfers failed to qualify for the final round: 2009 U.S. Women’s Amateur and U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links champion Jennifer Song and two-time USA Curtis Cup Team member Jennie Lee (2006 and 2008). Song was a member of the 2010 USA Curtis Cup Team.Information from lpga.com was used in this story.