ROZSA LEADS BY TWO AFTER TWO ROUNDS
Csicsi Rozsa (Budapest, Hungary) holds a two-shot advantage through two rounds of play at Stage II of LPGA Qualifying School at the Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice, Florida.
Rozsa admitted there were nerves early in her round after starting the tournament with a 5-under par 67 on the Panther Course Thursday which put her in a tie for second thru 18 holes. The 2017 Epson Tour rookie shot even par on the front nine before settling in to a rhythm and rolling in five birdies on the back to finish at 4-under for the day and 9-under par overall.
“So I was a little nervous in the beginning. Who wouldn’t be? But after the front nine I got it under control and just let it go,” Rozsa said. “Just be free and just hit the shots one after another.”
The 20-year-old made it all the way to Stage III of the 2016 LPGA Qualifying Tournament where she ultimately finished in a tie for 128th. She was one of 11 players to play in every event on the 2017 Epson Tour schedule, recording two top-10 finishes and ending the year at 49th on the official money list.
Rozsa is keeping her focus off of what’s behind her, or in front of her, as she navigates through Plantation Golf and Country Club this week.
“Just thinking it’s a new day and every shot is a new shot. Like there’s no past, no future of it. It’s just right here, right now.”
Sitting in a tie for second at 7-under par are 22-year-old Klara Spilkova (Prague, Czech Republic) and 17-year-old Youngin Chun (Gainsville, Fla.).
Spilkova, who finished T48 at the 2016 Rio Olympics representing Czech Republic, became the first player to win on the Ladies European Tour by capturing the Lalla Meryem Cup in Morocco in April.
“I haven’t checked the results, even so, I don’t know. I’m just playing my golf,” said Spilkova. “I haven’t checked the results yesterday, I was like, ‘Ok, that’s fine.’ I’m just enjoying my golf because I’ve been playing really good this year after last year which was really, really tough for me because I didn’t play good at all. This year is more relaxed. Whatever happens, you know. I’m learning everyday.”
Chun is hoping a strong finish this week can propel her to play on the Epson Tour next season after LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan granted her an exemption to play in Q-School before turning 18 years old.
“This is my first time to play Q-School. I don’t know, I’m just happy,” Chun said with a smile.
Sandy Choi (San Diego, Calif.) and Luna Sobron (Palma De Mallorca, Spain) are tied for fourth at 6-under par. European Solheim Cup star Georgia Hall (Wimborne, England) made a strong push on Friday to climb up the leaderboard into a tie for sixth at 5-under par alongside top-ranked amateur Leona Maguire (Cavan, Ireland), amateur Muni He (Chengdu, China), Jennifer Hahn (Henderson, Nev.) and Ann Van Dam (Arnhem, Netherlands).
Two days of play remain and all players in the field will have the opportunity to continue competing as there is no cut this week. The low 80 and ties following the final round will advance to Final Stage, or LPGA Qualifying Tournament Stage III, which takes place from November 30 - December 3 at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Florida. Players that do not finish in top 80 will still have Epson Tour membership for the 2018 season.
IT’S GOOD TO BE YOUNG(IN)
23 amateurs are in the field this week, including one of the two youngest players in the field the No. 8 amateur in the world Eun Jeong Seong of South Korea and Youngin Chun of Gainesville, Fla. who recently turned professional, both 17.
In August, Chun was both a quarterfinalist at the 2017 U.S. Girls’ Junior and a member of the victorious 2017 U.S. Junior Solheim Cup team. Ranked fourth in the Rolex AJGA Rankings, she now finds herself in a good position heading into the weekend at Stage II of LPGA Qualifying School.
Chun used seven birdies to card a -5 (67), which tied the lowest round of the day on Friday.
“Before Stage I, I played Junior Solheim Cup. I did really good this year in the junior tournament so I’m just happy for that and I can play Q-School. So this year I think its the best year in my life,” Chun beamed.
Three amateurs are in the top-10 on the leaderboard through two rounds of play: Chun (-7, T2), China’s Muni He (-5, T6) and the No. 1 amateur in the world, Leona Maguire (-5, T6) of Ireland.
MAGUIRE RETURNING TO FINISH DEGREE AT DUKE
Leona Maguire, the top-ranked amateur in the world according to the World Amateur Golf Rankings, told reporters on Thursday of her intention to finish what she started at Duke University and earn her degree, which means that the Irish star won’t be seeking to play beyond Stage II of Q-School this year.
To read more from Global Golf Post’s Brian Keogh visit http://www.globalgolfpost.com/now/2017/10/19/news-world-no-1-maguire-will-forgo-lpga-q-school-finals
“My team always comes first,” Maguire explained on Friday. “I’ve always wanted to get my Duke degree and I have a plan of what I’m going to do. Come here this week, get Epson status and then be ready to go in May after graduation. It makes this week a little bit easier. I don’t have quite as much pressure on me maybe as some of the other girls, which is nice considering the week that’s in it. So I can just go and tee it up and play my usual golf.”
Youngin Chun’s father, Eric, is a commentator for JTBC with 17 years of experience covering the LPGA in Korea - he is in attendance watching his daughter compete this week at Stage II.
China’s Muni He, the No. 39 ranked amateur in the world, shot a 4-under par 68 on Friday to put herself in a tie for sixth thru two rounds. She is not a stranger to the highest level of competition - in 2015 she was one of just four amateurs who made the cut at the U.S. Women’s Open, finishing with a 288 (68-74-73-73) and she also finished T30 at the 2016 Reignwood LPGA Classic.
Muni He is a sophomore at USC this year, and as a freshman she earned Golfweek All-American honorable mention honors. She was also a 2016 Rolex Junior All-American first teamer, and reached the round of 64 in both the 2016 U.S. Women’s Amateur as well as the 2016 U.S. Girls’ Junior.
Anne Van Dam (Arnhem, Netherlands) is T6 at 5-under par and has the power of momentum on her side entering the Second Stage of Qualifying School this week. She came to Venice, Florida fresh off a T4 finish at the LET Lacoste Ladies Open De France for her fourth top 25 finish of the LET season. Van Dam is 16th on the LET Order of Merit, with one professional victory to her name (2016 Xiamen International Open).
First round leader Alazne Urizar Zapata shot 2-over on Friday to move back into a tie for 11th at 4-under par.
Georgia Hall, the No. 40 player in the world, put herself into serious contention with a second round 68 to move into a tie for sixth.