After stepping into the winner’s circle for the first time in her professional career at the Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge, Linnea Ström launched 22 spots in the Volvik Race for the Card to No. 2 to earn our “Move of the Week.”
Her previous season-best finish was tied for third at the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic.
“Going into the last five tournaments, it provides a little more confidence,” said Ström, who has accumulated $58,788 across 15 starts this year. “I felt like I was close to playing this good, but hadn’t put it all together. Last week I proved to myself that I can win at this level and jumping up in the rankings is positive. In the end I’ll just keep focusing because what I did is basically all I can do, not worrying about what anyone else does and letting the rest figure itself out.”
The top-10 in the Volvik Race for the Card after the Epson Tour Championship earn full LPGA Tour membership for 2019. Meanwhile, those from Nos. 11-30 qualify for Q-Series. With five events remaining on the schedule, the battle is really starting to heat up.
Prior to the 17th tournament on the official qualifying tour of the LPGA Tour, the top-10 in the Volvik Race for the Card saw some big changes. Dottie Ardina (Laguna, Philippines) still holds a commanding advantage at No. 1 with $72,482, followed by Ström and Stephanie Meadow (Jordanstown, Northern Ireland).
Checking in at No. 4 is Charlotte Thomas (Guildford, England) following a career-best result of solo second last week in the Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge. The showing moved her up nine places in the standings at $53,319 earned.
Having already been inside the top-10 earlier in the season and now making a return, Thomas is feeling good about how her game is progressing at the right time.
“It was really important for me to play well last week, just from a confidence perspective because I didn’t play well the last couple events in Battle Creek and Milwaukee,” Thomas said. “I was glad to get one under my belt where I’m playing solid, especially in a purse like that since it makes such a massive difference. I’m excited and five events left, keep doing the same thing.”
Continuing down the rankings, Isi Gabsa (Munich, Germany), Jenny Haglund (Karlstad, Sweden), Elizabeth Szokol (Winnetka, Illinois), Eun Jeong Seong (Yongin, Republic of Korea), Ruixin Liu (Dalian, China) and Stephanie Kono (Honolulu, Hawaii) round out the rest of the top-10. Each player moved down two places from their previous position. In addition, a difference of just $6,198 stands between Gabsa and Kono.
Every member of the top-10 is in Garden City, Kan. this week for the Garden City Charity Classic from Sept. 7-9 at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course.
“I think it’s important to just play consistent and do whatever you can to make sure that happens,” said Ström, who is third on Tour with 171 sub-par holes this season. “There are so many good players out here, everybody wants to be in the top-10 and they are going to give it their all. I will enjoy the win, but in a couple days I’ll find my focus then it’s on to the next week and what I have ahead of me.”