An abbreviated LPGA Q-Series gets underway on Thursday at Robert Trent Jones’ Magnolia Grove Golf Course in Mobile, Alabama. The event, which has been shortened from 144 holes to 108 holes, concludes on Dec. 5.
A field of 104 players will compete over the Falls and Crossings courses, with a cut after Round 4 to low 65 and ties. Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Hae Ran Ryu medaled at the 2022 Q-Series.
Players who finish in the top 45 and ties will earn 2024 LPGA cards. Those who finish in the top 20 and ties will earn the Category 14 status while those who are 21-45 and ties will fall into Category 15.
Any player who completes 72 holes will receive Epson Tour status.
Here’s a breakdown of notables in the field:
Top 75 in the world
Players in the top 75 players of the Rolex Rankings as of Oct. 10 had the opportunity to advance straight to Q-Series (for an entry fee of $5,500). South Korea’s Jin Hee Im, currently ranked 40th, is in the field as is Mao Saigo (43), So Mi Lee (57), Yu Jin Sung (66) and Yuri Yoshida (69).
Im has four victories this season on the KLPGA. Saigo, who tied for third at the 2022 Amundi Evian, has six wins on the Japan LPGA the past two seasons.
Christina Kim, a three-time winner on the LPGA, is one of 29 players in the field who advanced through the second stage of Q-School to earn their spot in the field. The 39-year-old was a rookie on the LPGA in 2003. Kim finished 168th on the CME points list this season.
Other LPGA winners in the field include Annie Park (2018 ShopRite Classic) and Cydney Clanton (2019 Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational).
2023 LPGA rookies
Of the 32 rookies on the LPGA this season, nearly half are at Q-Series this week. Thailand’s Natthakritta Vongtaveelap has two top-10 finishes on the LPGA this season but hasn’t competed on tour since she was disqualified from the U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach after her caddie, Jinsup Kim, used a distance-measuring device on multiple holes.
Vongtaveelap finished runner-up in her first LPGA start of the season at home in Thailand and tied for sixth last April in Hawaii.
U.S. Women's Amateur champs
Saki Baba, hot off of earning her JLPGA card earlier this month, heads to Alabama to try to add to her card collection. Baba won the 2022 U.S. Women’s Amateur in dominating fashion at Chambers Bay, defeating Monet Chun, 11 and 9.
Baba is one of five past U.S. Women’s Amateur champions in the field, joined by Sophia Schubert (2017), Emma Talley (2013), Jennifer Song (2009) and Mariajo Uribe (2007).
Stage 1 advancers
Seven players in the field advanced through the first two stages of qualifying school. Former Clemson player Savannah Grewal, who shared medalist honors in Rancho Mirage, California, is among them. She’s joined by Tzu-Yi Chang, Benedetta Moresco, Malia Nam, Jiaze Sun, Lilly Thomas and Briana Chacon.
The second stage of LPGA Q-School wrapped up in Venice, Florida, on Oct. 20 and of the 188 players who started the week, 41 advanced. Among those 41 were nine amateurs. LSU’s Ingrid Lindblad topped the field by four strokes with an 18-under total.
In order for players to continue on to Q-Series, they had to first turn professional. Lindblad, the No. 1 amateur in the world, chose to remain at LSU to complete her fifth season.
Four players decided to turn professional and move on to the final stage: Baba, Chacon, Grewal and Thomas.
Solheim Cup players
It seems like just yesterday that Mina Harigae became the first player to collect a seven-figure check for finishing second place in a major at the 2022 U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst. The year prior, she was a rookie on Pat Hurst’s U.S. Solheim Cup team in Toledo, Ohio, after a rapid rise.
Harigae, however, dipped to 101st on the CME points list this season. After ranking 16th on tour in putts per greens hit in regulation last year, Harigae plummeted to 83rd this season.
Christina Kim, a three-time Solheim Cup participant, last represented the U.S. in 2011.