The long grind of Q-Series has reached its midway point and crunch time is fast approaching. The top 70 players and ties have made the three-hour trip from Mobile, Alabama to the Highland Oaks Golf Course in Dothan, Alabama to make their final push for LPGA Tour status starting Thursday.
Forty-five LPGA Tour Cards on the Line
Q-Series is a 144-hole stroke-play tournament played across two golf courses over two weeks with cumulative scores. The event began last Thursday at the Magnolia Grove Golf Course with the cut line to the top 70 and ties coming in at 2-under par. This week, those who made the cut will battle at Highland Oaks Golf Course to reach the top-45 and ties based on their scores over the two weeks of competition. Those top performers will receive LPGA Tour status for 2023.
The better the finish, the better the reward with those in the top-20 and ties earning category 14 status on the LPGA Tour. Meanwhile, players from 21-45 will earn category 15 status and category C Epson Tour status and those outside the top 45 will receive Epson Tour status for 2023.
At the Top of the Leaderboard
After four rounds at Magnolia Grove Golf Course, Lauren Hartlage sits in solo first on the leaderboard at 14-under par. After finishing T26 last year at Q-Series, Hartlage struggled in her rookie season on the LPGA Tour. But having gotten a taste of the top tour in women’s golf, Hartlage is reluctant to leave it.
“I got to play some last year, and obviously I didn't play well enough to keep my card,” said Hartlage after her final round on Sunday. “Being able to go out there and see what it was like, it's been something I've been dreaming of my whole life. It's been a great journey, and I'm excited to be this position.”
Four players sit below Hartlage in a tie for second at 13-under: Luna Sobron Galmes, Polly Mack, Manon De Roey and Riley Rennell. Five players round out the top 10 in a tie for sixth at 12-under. Mack, De Roey and Rennell were on top of the leaderboard for most of the week, with Sobron Galmes joining after carding an 8-under final round that saw six birdies on the back-nine.
On the Bubble
Several players will start this week on the bubble, just a few spots inside or outside the top 45. Six players are T41 at 6-under par, including seven-year LPGA Tour veteran Su Oh who is making her first return to Q-Series since she first earned tour status in 2015. Epson Tour members Weiwei Zhang, Jiwon Jeon, Louise Ridderstrom and Dottie Ardina join Oh at T41.
Dewi Weber and seven additional players sit just below them, tied for 47th at 5-under par. Weber is no stranger to life on the bubble after finishing her rookie season at No. 101 in the Race to CME Globe, earning automatic entry into Q-Series. Weber is joined by several Epson Tour members including Kim Kaufman, Anita Uwadia and Robyn Choi. After spending six seasons on the LPGA Tour, Kaufman has spent the last three years as an Epson Tour member, trying to work her way back up the ladder.
Some recently turned pros are flexing their young golf muscles at Q-Series this year. Newly graduated from Michigan State University, Colombian Valery Plata leads the pack at T11 after going 11-under par in week one. Big Ten rival, University of Michigan’s Ashley Lau, will join Plata in Dothan, Ala. after just making the cut at 2-under par. Lau has just wrapped up a storied career at Michigan where she became the first player in program history to win Big Ten Golfer of the Year and the Big Ten Mary Fossum Award for the lowest stroke average in her senior season.
Aline Krauter, fresh off winning the NCAA Division I Golf Championships with Stanford, is also in the mix. At 6-under par, the German is T41 and right on the bubble of earning her 2023 LPGA Tour card. Krauter is no stranger to playing among the world’s best, she was given the exemption into the Dana Open presented by Marathon traditionally awarded to one member of the NCAA Championship team where she finished T29.
The Usual Suspects
While there will be many newbies on the course this week, there are several Q-Series regulars. Bianca Pagdanganan visited Q-Series in 2019 and 2021 and came out with LPGA Tour status both times. At 10-under par at T17, she is well positioned to succeed at Q-Series again this year. Isi Gabsa is also making her third appearance at Q-Series and joins Pagdanganan at 10-under. In 2021, Gabsa finished T14 to graduate Q-School and looks to go two-for-two this year. Dani Holmqvist, who joins Pagdanganan and Gabsa at 10-under, is making her sixth appearance at Q-Series. Having not made it through the first week last year, Holmqvist is already in better shape to reclaim her LPGA status for 2023. At 34-years-old, the Swede is the oldest player at Q-Series.