Annika Sorenstam, the greatest women’s golfer of our time, qualified for LPGA status back in 1994 with a stellar performance in Venice at the Bobcat and Panther courses at Plantation Golf and Country Club. Plantation has been the site of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament for thirty consecutive years.
This year, Sorenstam was Captain of the European team for the Solheim Cup. The only player whom Annika started in all five matches was Georgia Hall of England. “This stage is big,” said Sorenstam, “and Hall has performed beautifully.”
In Venice last weekend (October 19-22), Hall continued to “perform beautifully.” She won first place against a field of 192 women from 35 countries around the world.
The eighty players with best scores in Stage 2 of the Qualifying event move on to Stage 3 in Daytona, Nov. 30 – Dec. 3. The top twenty at Daytona earn their LPGA cards, which qualifies them to play in LPGA Tour events in 2018. Those who don’t make the LPGA can continue to play on the Symetra Tour. Of course, LPGA Tour players compete for bigger prizes.
Georgia Hall was already an established young professional player when she began this past weekend at Plantation. In 2013 she won the British Ladies Amateur title. She turned pro and joined the Ladies European Tour (LET) in 2015. Ten days after her last shot in the Solheim Cup earlier this year, Georgia entered Stage 2 of the LPGA Qualifying School event.
Georgia Hall’s closest competitor at Plantation from October 19-22 was expected to be the world’s top-ranked amateur player, Leona Maguire of Ireland and Duke University. But Csisci Rozsa of Hungary, relatively unknown, finished the 72-hole, 4-day tournament in second place, just two strokes behind Hall, who posted scores of 71, 68, 69, and 68 for a 12 under par 276.
Rozsa finished two strokes back at 278. Leona Maguire came in at 281.
The golfing styles of these three great young athletes could hardly be more different. Where Georgia Hall is quiet, focused, and unflappable, Csicsi Rozsa swings fluidly, then charges ahead leading other players toward their next shots. And she lines up her putts with a unique style.
Leona Maguire, the world’s top-ranked amateur golfer, has chosen not to turn pro until she graduates from Duke – and she carries her own golf bag.
Mark Seiden is a former college professor of literature and writing who has reinvented himself in retirement as a golfer and golf columnist for the Venice Gondolier Sun. A book of his entertaining columns, “Golf’s Old Magic,” is available at Amazon. Mark and his wife Renee are dad and mom to five children and seven grandchildren.