After opening with rounds of 73 and 71 at Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, Magnolia Grove, Colombian Mariajo Uribe turned up the heat on Sunday in Mobile, Ala., carding an 8-under 64 in round three of LPGA Q-Series to get to 7-under overall. Starting the day on No. 10 at the Crossings Course, the 33-year-old tripped up early with a bogey on her first hole of the round but cleaned up that mistake with a birdie on the par-5 13th hole to get back to even. She birdied again on the par-5 16th hole, snagging one more birdie on 18 to turn in 34 at 1-under overall.
Uribe then went on a tear, rattling off four consecutive birdies on holes 1, 2, 3 and 4, picking up another birdie on the par-5 6th hole to get to 7-under on the round. She grabbed one last birdie on the par-3 8th hole to post a 64 and move from T78 to T24 with one round left before the 104-player field is cut to the top 65 and ties for the final two days of play.
The two-time Olympian didn’t feel like she played much differently on Sunday than she did over the first two days in Lower Alabama and said that her slow start was really a good omen in her eyes, a superstition that proved itself correct considering her 8-under result.
“I actually prefer to start with a bogey (rather) than a birdie. My superstition is a birdie is bad luck, so it was okay,” said Uribe of her opening bogey. “I know there are a lot of birdies out there. We used to play a tournament here and I always went low here, too. I like this course. To be honest, I play pretty similar to the other days. Just some putts fell and the mistakes weren't that big.
“The whole group played really good and Kelly Tan was making a lot of birdies on the front nine so I was like, okay, I need to catch up. I feel like the tournament hasn't started yet, so you just have to put yourself in position. I'm really happy with my round, that the putts just kept rolling in. It's nice to see my golf game finally showing up.”
The 2023 season didn’t see a lot of success from Uribe, who competed in 16 total tournaments throughout the year. She missed nine cuts and only managed to crack the top 30 once, tying for 27th at the inaugural Mizuho Americas Open at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, N.J., a slate of results that ultimately saw her finish 146th in the Race to the CME Globe point standings, 46 spots shy of maintaining full LPGA Tour membership for the 2024 season.
Uribe didn’t originally plan to tee it up in LPGA Q-Series this week, only choosing to do so once the format of the event changed to six rounds at one venue earlier this year. She also wanted to give herself as many playing opportunities as possible next season so she can boost her position in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings and qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics, what Uribe announced on November 6 via Golf Channel Latin America’s Instagram would ultimately be her last event as a professional golfer.
“It's kind of weird to play Q-School six months before retiring,” said Uribe, who was an LPGA Tour rookie in 2010. “My whole goal right now is Paris 2024. I just want to give myself the most opportunities. At the beginning of the year, I thought for sure, I was not going to come to Q-Series no matter what position I was in at the end of the year. But the fact that it's only in one place and six rounds on a course that I really like because we used to play LPGA events here, that made the decision a little easier.
“And at the end of the day, I thought it's just one more week, just think about it like another LPGA event and then just give yourself the opportunity. I need to play as many events next year for my ranking to go up and be able to play in Paris. So why not come? Of course, it's not where I wanted to be right now. It's late in the year and I missed a couple of end-of-the-year recitals (for) my son, but it is what it is. My husband keeps telling me this is the last push.”
Through three rounds at LPGA Q-Series, Uribe is in prime position to finish inside the top 45 and ties and regain LPGA Tour status for the 2024 season, currently sitting in a tie for 24th with 54 holes to go in Lower Alabama. But she knows better than to get ahead of herself this early in the game and will instead continue to take each of the next three days as they come, working to build upon the momentum she generated with her third-round 64 on Sunday at Magnolia Grove.
“I think that's what I'm going to bring this week, like the experience,” said Uribe. “We’ve been out here for so long. We know things can change in one round, in one hole. So staying patient. We’re only halfway through, so I just got to stay in the present, enjoy it, and see what happens.”