Four amateurs emerge from Q-Series to earn LPGA status
Four amateurs emerged from the dust of the LPGA Tour’s two-week, eight-round grind of Q-Series, the final stage of three qualifying tournaments, in the top 45 to earn LPGA status for the 2022 season.

Vivian and Yu-Sang Hou, sisters who play at the University of Arizona, along with Arkansas' Brooke Matthews and Gina Kim of Duke, secured their LPGA status for next season by virtue of finishing in the top-45 of the two-week-long Q Series which wrapped up Sunday at Highland Oaks Golf Club in Dothan, Ala. Na Rin An of South Korea won the 144-hole event with a combined score of 33-under.

“Just to achieve this goal with my sister,” the low amateur Vivian Hou, who shot 10-under-par to finish T-20, said, “and knowing that we are both going to play on LPGA next year, it's something really special.”

Hou’s sister, Yu-Sang Hou, finished T-30 at seven-under-par. Vivian and Yu-Sang are junior and fifth-year seniors from the University of Arizona, respectively. The Taiwanese duo is the third-active sister tandem on the LPGA, joining Jessica and Nelly Korda and Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn. Both of the Kordas and Jutanugarns are winners on tour.

“It's been our goal since we were little,” Yu-Sang explained, “and then it's just great then just have the role models out there and just want to follow their footsteps.”

Na Rin An of South Korea
Matthews, an Arkansas redshirt junior, shot 8-under to finish T-30, building off her two NCAA victories this year. Matthews broke the Razorback’s 54-hole scoring record with a 25-under par burst in her successful title defense at the Blessing Women's Intercollegiate, surpassing now LPGA peer Maria Fassi’s 2018 record at the Mason Rudolph Challenge. LPGA veteran Jaclyn Lee held the old 54-hole NCAA scoring record of 19-under par at the Westbrook Spring Invitational in 2018. Matthew’s explosive play channeled into consistency over the eight rounds of Q-Series, shooting a 69, four rounds of 70, a 71, a 73, and a closing 74.

“I'm happy it's over, to be honest,” Matthews said. “Yeah, it's about as stressful as it gets. Didn't have my best stuff this week but was able to scrape it out and kind of make it work, so I was happy with that.”

Kim, a Duke senior who helped the Blue Devils win the 2019 NCAA Championship, finished at five-under-par for a T-35 finish. In August, Kim won Stage 1 of qualifying with a 15-under at Mission Hills Country Club. However, the 2021 ACC individual champion already left a mark on tour, finishing T-12 in her second U.S. Women's Open in 2019. She sat tied for second after an opening-round 66 at the Country Club of Charleston.

Following a four-over 76 Sunday, the 21-year-old reflected on the lengthy process to earn her card.

“It's just crazy to think how this thing started in August,” Kim said. “Just to come to the end of the year, to be able to say, yeah, I got my LPGA status, it's a really rewarding feeling, and I feel like all my hard work paid off.”

Beatrice Wallin, a Florida State senior, was tied at 44th at the start of the final round before posting a Sunday 77. It was her worst round of the week. The challenging closing round knocked her out of status, posting one-over for the two weeks and a T-60 finish.

The other amateur to make the four-round cut, Karen Fredgaard, a University of Houston junior, shot seven-over for Q-Series and finished T-70.

As part of making it to Q-Series, all those who finished outside the top 20 and ties received 2022 Symetra Tour status. All six amateurs received status on the LPGA's developmental tour.

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A total of 13 amateurs were among the 75 players to make it through to the five-round Final Stage of the Ladies European Tour qualifying, which takes place between December 16-20 at La Manga Club in Cartagena, Murcia, Spain.

by Kent Paisley, special to AmateurGolf.com

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ABOUT THE LPGA Qualifying Series - Final Stage

Final stage of qualifying consists of 8 stroke play rounds over consecutive weeks, with the top 45 players and ties earning LPGA Tour status, and all others earning Symetra Tour status. Each year, many top amateurs try to earn their Tour cards, with successful qualifiers having to decide whether to remain amateur or turn pro.

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