KirkwoodGolf: Canada's Lee-Bentham Stars At Qualifying School

Monday, December 03, 2012

Canada's Lee-Bentham Stars At Qualifying School


DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA | Rebecca Lee- Bentham of Canada came from seven shots back with a 5-under 67 in the final round to chase down leader Moriya Jutanugarn and the pair finished as co-medalists in the LPGA Qualifying Tournament on Sunday.
Lee-Bentham and Jutanugarn posted five rounds of 13-under-par 347 at LPGA International to lead the top 20 and ties who earned playing privileges on the LPGA Tour for 2013.
Jutanugarn, of Thailand, entered Q-School one of the world’s most decorated amateurs. She was ranked No. 7 on the World Amateur Golf Ranking when she turned professional. Her younger sister, Ariya, was No. 2. Ariya, who doesn’t meet the age requirements for the LPGA, is preparing for the Ladies European Tour Q-School next month in Morocco.
“The biggest thing for me right now is just getting my card,” said Moriya Jutanugarn. “Then I get to look forward to next year and how to hang on. That’s hard. It’s life. There will be so many challenges and you’ll have to work harder and harder. Everybody works hard.”
Lee-Bentham, of Toronto, was a rookie this season on the LPGA Tour. She played in 14 events and earned slightly more than $16,000.
Ayako Uehara, of Japan, was third, at 12 under, one shot back of the leaders. Kathleeen Ekey posted the day’s low round, a 7-under 65, and finished fourth at 10 under. Chie Arimura, of Japan, who has spent most of her career on the Japan LPGA Tour and won 13 tournaments there, tied for fifth with Lisa McCloskey. Arimura entered Q-School as the highest-ranked player in the field, No. 19 on the Rolex World Ranking.
Austin Ernst and Brooke Pancake, teammates and partners in the Curtis Cup over the summer, each shot 2-under 70 on Sunday and finished tied for 11th at 4-under 356. Also at that number was Kayla Mortellaro, who made up the most ground of anyone who got a card. Mortellaro was tied for 39th heading into the final round but shot 5-under 67 to tie for 11th. Kim Welch started the day tied for 30th and shot 68 to join the group at 4 under.
Australian amateur Breanna Elliott, No. 8 on the WAGR, started the final round tied for 30th and shot 69 on the last day to make it in on the number, as did Lauren Doughtie, who also shot 69 on Sunday. Elliott entered Q-School as an amateur and will make a decision about turning pro.
LPGA veteran Laura Diaz regained her card by tying for eighth. On the other side, 2005 U.S. Women’s Open winner Birdie Kim failed to qualify, as did Melissa Reid, who played on the victorious European Solheim Cup side. Christina Kim, a two-time winner on the LPGA Tour, also failed to qualify.