Blumenherst Medalist At Qualifying Tournament
By David Shefter, USGA
Far Hills, N.J. – As an amateur, Amanda Blumenherst achieved just about every imaginable milestone.
She won a U.S. Women’s Amateur in 2008, played on a pair of victorious USA Curtis Cup Teams in 2006 and 2008, earned three college player of the year honors and helped Duke win two NCAA Division I titles.
Now she can add LPGA Q-School medalist to the résumé.
Amanda Blumenherst, the 2008 U.S. Women's Amateur champion, found Q-School to be a good test of what awaits on the professional ranks. (Steven Gibbons/USGA)
The 23-year-old Scottsdale, Ariz., resident, who turned pro after graduating this past May, posted a 90-hole total of 9-under-par 351 for a two-stroke victory at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Because of inclement weather on Friday and Saturday, the tournament was extended into Monday, where Blumenherst shot a final-round 68 (four under) on the Champions Course to edge Katie Kempter and Marianne Skarpnord. The competition was played on both the Champions and Legends courses the first four rounds, with the low 70 golfers and ties advancing to the final round.
The low 20 competitors earned LPGA Tour cards as Category 11 members for the 2010 season. The next 10 finishers will have Category 16 status, with those placing 31-40 having Category 20 status.
Blumeherst, who also represented the USA on two World Amateur Teams (2006 and 2008) followed the lead of 2008 Curtis Cup teammate Stacy Lewis, who was the Q-School medalist last year.
“Of course coming into Q-school is extremely nerve-racking,” said Blumenherst, who made the cut at the 2009 U.S. Women’s Open at Saucon Valley Country Club in Bethlehem, Pa. “It's kind of a one-shot deal for the whole deal. I was confident in my game, but still, you never know what can happen. Golf is a funny game. Coming into the last few days I was very confident in how I was playing. I just stayed in the fairway and got onto the greens and my putts were close. It was a winning combination
“I did feel pressure from myself and media and even my peers and sponsors, but that's just a part of it. It's part of playing a professional sport and having to deal with it and the energy. That is what makes a great athlete.”
Four other players with USGA ties also achieved Category 11 status for 2010, including Mariajo Uribe of Colombia, who defeated Blumenherst in the 2007 U.S. Women’s Amateur final at Crooked Stick Golf Club outside of Indianapolis. Uribe left UCLA in the spring after just two seasons and made her professional debut at the U.S. Women’s Open, where she was paired with Blumenherst in the third round. Uribe closed Q-School with rounds of 68-69 for a 3-under-357 total and a share of 12th position.
Julieta Granada, the 2004 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion, shot a final-round 67 and finished fourth at 6-under 354.
Spain’s Azahara Munoz, the 2008 NCAA Division I individual champion and the runner-up to Blumenherst at the 2008 Women’s Amateur at Eugene (Ore.) Country Club, shared fifth place at 5-under 355. Munoz turned pro shortly after playing in the 2009 U.S. Women’s Open, where she was exempt based on her Women’s Amateur runner-up finish.
Former Duke standout Liz Janangelo, a member of the 2004 USA Curtis Cup Team, tied for 16th at 1-under 359.
Two players with USGA ties earned Category 20 status. Meredith Duncan, the 2001 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion and member of the victorious 2002 USA Curtis Cup Team, tied for 32nd at 3-over 363, while 2000 U.S. Girls’ Junior champion Lisa Ferrero tied for 38th at 4-over 364.
Virada Nirapathpongporn, the 2003 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion and ’03 U.S. Women’s a Amateur Public Links runner-up to Michelle Wie, failed to gain any 2010 status by finishing at 9-over 369. Two-time WAPL champion and 2008 USA Curtis Cup Team member Tiffany Joh also failed to get status after finishing at 11-over 371. Joh, a 2009 UCLA graduate, did win the Duramed Futures Tour qualifying event last month and will likely play on that circuit next year.
Past Curtis Cup participants Alison Walshe (2008) and Mollie Fankhauser (2002) wound up at 7-over 367 and 9-over 369, respectively. Ayaka Kaneko, the 2007 U.S. Girls’ Junior runner-up, finished at 8-over 368.
David Shefter is a USGA staff writer in the Communications department. E-mail him with questions or comments at email@example.com.