Players Finish Final Stage of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament – LPGA 2017 Cards are Determined

I have to admit; I totally felt like an old golf Dad kickin’ back and clickin’ the refresh button on my computer earlier this month while I was watching the LPGA Final Stage scores roll in. As I scrolled down the list of names of players who were all vying for an all-important LPGA 2017 Tour Card at Daytona LPGA International, it struck me that I knew a lot of these people!

With so many golfers who I am fortunate enough to call friends, all in the field chasing after the same 20 LPGA spots, it led me to some mixed emotions.

LPGA qualifying tournament LPGA Tour 2016
LPGA 2016 Qualifying Tournament | Image credit: Symetra Tour

I had a few fist pump moments where I was saying something like, “Yes! Yes! Woohoo! I knew she could do it!”… and then a few times when I was saying, “Dangit! That’s a major bummer. She worked her tail off all year to have to finish by missing the cut by one”… and then there were a few instances that had me scratching my head and saying, “Well, she’s like right on the edge? What does that mean? Conditional status? Should I be excited for her?”

I can only imagine just how many emotions everyone who was actually there- who had put their heart, soul, time, and money… not to mention, in many cases, much of their loved one’s heart, soul, time, and money into it- must have been feeling on Sunday as the results rolled in.

For those of you who don’t already know, Jaye Marie Green took home the gold with a five-day total of 13 under par. She was followed closely by Iceland’s Olafia Kristinsdottir who shot a 12 under par to finish second. Along with the other top finishers, they are off to the LPGA next season!

medalist LPGA Qualifying tournament Jaye Marie Green
2016 LPGA Qualifying Tournament medalist, Jaye Marie Green | Image credit: Scott A. Miller, Symetra Tour

So, how did my pals fare you ask? Well… I had some make-its…. I had some kinda make-its… and I had some didn’t make-its.

Before I let you hear the reactions straight from them, I have to tell you, I was pretty impressed when I scrolled down my Facebook feed the day after the tournament came to a close and I read everyone’s reactions. Both the players who had gotten their card and those who didn’t were so positive and grateful about their journey. I was especially impressed by the positivity, gracefulness, and class from those folks who didn’t have their week.

When you put that much of your heart into a tournament, and you don’t pull through, it usually leaves some hard feelings. But success or no, every post online that I read stayed so incredibly thankful and positive. Both LPGA bound players and those who were not all were supporting each other and each other’s accomplishments.

I think this speaks volumes to the class of the ladies that play this great game that we all love… to be so gracious and supportive and excited in the face of all circumstances. It also speaks volumes to the game of golf as well.

So without further ado…

Makin it!!!

Katherine Perry: 5 under, T14

katherine perry symetra tour
Katherine Perry

“I am unbelievably excited to play on the LPGA next year! When I made the 15-footer on 18 to go -5 and make it… I couldn’t believe it. All the work over the years and the grinding on the Symetra Tour had paid off! I ran straight to Kevin and jumped into his arms!”

What are you most proud of about your week?
“The last day I was able to stay in the moment and focus only on the shot at hand. That’s what we always try to do, but it doesn’t always work!”

Anyone you’d like to give a shout out to that was in the field?
“I’d like to tell my friend Maia Schechter ‘way to go and keep battling’. She played really solid all three stages of Q-School. Maia works so hard on her game, and I know she is going to kick butt on the Symetra tour in 2017!”

Conditional Status (will get to play in some LPGA events next season!)

Madeleine Sheils: 3 under, T21

“I am really, really excited. Of course it was disappointing to fall just one shot short of the full card, but I played well on Sunday and birdied 16 and 18 coming in, so I walked away knowing I gave it everything I had. I’m still going to have the chance to play a lot of events next year, so I am feeling very positive.”

Madeleine Sheils Womens Golf LPGA Tour
Madeleine Sheils | Image credit: Symetra Tour

What are you most looking forward to?
“I am most looking forward to competing against the world’s best on an elevated stage. And traveling the world!”

Anyone you’d like to give a shout out to that was in the field?
“I’d like to give a major “way to go” to Brittany Benvenuto, because I respect and admire her dedicated, consistent work ethic. Therese O’Hara also deserves a major shout out because a 66 on Sunday at Q-School when you’re on the bubble is epic.”

Brittany Benvenuto: Even par, T29

“Of course the goal was to obtain a full tour card, but I am very happy with where I am at. I think that I will get into a fair amount of tournaments and possibly more if I get reshuffled.”

What are you most looking forward to next year?
“I’m really just looking forward to being ‘inside the ropes’ and playing in front of some bigger crowds out there. It’s going to be fun to compete against the best in the world, on the best courses in the world.”

Anyone that you would like to give a shout out to that was in the field?
I was super excited for Maddie Sheils. I feel like both Maddie and I have kind of progressed in our careers at a similar pace, and I am very excited to be a 2017 LPGA rookie alongside her.

Didn’t make it but will be back and is off to kick butt in 2017 on the Symetra Tour!

Maia Schechter: 8 over, cut

Overall, I’m obviously bummed. Everyone wants to get onto the Big Tour. But I also realize that I haven’t played a full season on the Symetra Tour. Now that I have my full Symetra Tour card I can play in all the events that I want to. I think that I still have a lot to learn and that the Symetra Tour and this next year will help me get ready for a long career on the LPGA.

Maia Schechter LPGA Q-School 2016 womens golf Allie White
Maia Schechter | Image credit: Symetra Tour

What are you most proud of about your week?
I would say that I’m most proud of the fact that I started at First Stage and made it all the way to Final Stage. I didn’t get exempt to a later stage, so I had to fight all the way through.

Anyone that you would like to give a shout out to that was in the field?
A big shout out to my buddy Katherine Perry for qualifying!!!!!!!! I’m so proud of her. She’s a great player and an amazing person. I’ll miss my travel buddy though!

And there you have it!

“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two imposters just the same,” Rudyard Kipling… posted in the Wimbledon Tennis Museum from the poem If…. I know, I know, I just had to drop some English major on y’all!

And, for the record, that was a complete coincidence that they all picked each other to congratulate… very fun!

Of course, I get the last word, because this is my article… and I say, “Way to go everybody and good luck next year on whatever road you may find yourself.

Allie WhiteAllie White from Lancaster, Ohio, is a professional golfer and golf journalist. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Journalism at Ohio University. With four years of experience on the Symetra Tour, a cut-made at the 2009 U.S. Women’s Open, and a 2016 Ohio Open Championship, White hopes to continue her golf career during her academic breaks.
“I grew up on an 88-acre farm in Southeast Ohio and currently live in the same area with my dog Finley where I cheer like crazy for all of my favorite Ohio sports teams. I love to play my guitar, listen to music, watch movies, and read good stuff!

My two biggest golf dreams are to play in Toledo Ohio’s LPGA event and to make it back to another US Open. I’m still hunting for that first hole in one!”

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