ECU's Millican Tied For 14th With Two Rounds Remaining
Dec. 1, 2006
Contributing Story by LPGA.com
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Former East Carolina standout golfer Adrienne Millican fired a second-round score of even par (72) on Thursday and currently sits in a tie for 14th place (70-72=142) at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament.
The 90-hole tournament is staged at LPGA International, where 138 players will play the Champions and Legends courses twice, hoping to be among the top-70 to advance to Sunday. After Sunday's final round, the top-15 finishers will earn exempt status for the 2007 Tour season, while the next 35 will earn conditional status.
A native of Fuquay-Varina, N.C., Millican is five shots behind co-leaders Angela Park and 2006 LPGA Tour rookie Hye Jung Choi, who have a two-day score of 137 (seven-under par).
Park (70-67=137, -7) shot a low-round 67 on Thursday to tie for the lead after coming into the round tied for 11th-place at 2-under-par 70. Park, who played on the Legends course, recorded six birdies to go along with just one bogey on the day. She made birdies on holes four and nine on the front nine to make the turn at 2-under for the day. On the back nine, she birdied the par-3, 12th hole, bogeyed the par-5, 14th hole and then made back-to-back birdies on holes 15 and 16. She closed out her round with a birdie on 18 to finish the day with a 5-under 67.
"I just played steady out there. I putted fine; I hit the ball pretty well. I think the key out there today was my ball striking," said Park, who tied for 15th at the Kraft Nabisco Championship this year, one of four major championships on the LPGA Tour.
"I was pretty calm out there. I wasn't really thinking about what I was going to shoot. We all know there's three more days and anything could happen. I'm not really looking ahead, just trying to stay calm and, if you make a birdie, there's another hole to birdie."
Park was a medalist at the 2005 U.S. Women's Public Links and a semifinalist at the 2005 U.S. Women's Amateur. She turned professional in April and played on the Duramed Futures Tour this year, recording seven top-10 finishes in 16 starts. She finished third at the IOS Futures Golf Classic and tied for third at the Tuscson Duramed Futures Golf Classic.
"I've learned so much over the past year. I think this is the most I've learned for nine years; I think this is the year that adds it up," said the 18-year-old from Torrance, Calif. "It's been a great experience going from amateur to professional. I've grown as a player and I want to keep that up."
Choi, who played the Champions course, held on to her first-round lead after carding a second-round 70 on Thursday to move to 7-under (67-70=137) for the tournament.
"I didn't hit (the ball) very good today. I had a chance, but I didn't make it. I wanted to go to 10-under, but I was a little nervous," said Choi, who carded four birdies against two bogeys. "I will be practicing more putting and keep focused and enjoy the day tomorrow."
On the front nine, Choi recorded back-to-back birdies on holes four and five after sinking two-foot birdie putts. She bogeyed the par-4, seventh hole, but came back to birdie the ninth hole and made the turn at 2-under for the day. On the back nine, she bogeyed the par-5, 13th hole, but finished strong making a 15-foot birdie putt on 18 to finish with a 70.
Choi, who earned non-exempt status for the LPGA Tour at the 2005 LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament, played just two events this season, and her best finish was a tie for 21st at the Corona Morelia Championship in October. She also competed on the Duramed Futures Tour, where she won 2006 The Power of a Dream Futures Golf Classic and posted four other top-10s this year.
Choi leads a 58-strong contingent of LPGA Tour players in the field. Clarissa Childs is among them and just one stroke off the lead after carding a 4-under-par 68 in the second round to go to 70-68=138 (-6) for the tournament. Childs is looking to regain the exempt status she held during the 2003 season. She just missed out on exempt status last year as she tied for 22nd, but lost in a three-hole, seven-way playoff to earn one the final three exempt cards.
The players have been split between LPGA International Champions and Legends courses and will be repaired by scores for the third round based on the course they started on the first round. The new groups will play the third and fourth rounds together before the Saturday cut to the top-70 and ties.
Two LPGA Sectional Qualifying Tournaments in Rancho Mirage, Calif., and Venice, Fla., were held to help determine the field for the Final LPGA Qualifying Tournament. The top-30 finishers and ties from each sectional advanced to the final stage and join 58 current LPGA Tour members who are trying to improve or retain their playing status for 2007. The field is completed by the eligible players who finished sixth through 15th on the final 2006 Duramed Futures Tour money list. The top-five finishers on the Duramed Futures Tour money list automatically received their exempt card for 2007: Song-Hee Kim, Charlotte Mayorkas, In-Bee Park, Kristy McPherson and Meaghan Francella.
Consistent with the LPGA's history as being a true World Tour, the 138-player field features 54 international players from 21 countries outside the United States, as well as one player from Puerto Rico. South Korea is represented by the most international players with 16, followed by Canada (7), Sweden (5), Australia (4), England (2), France (2), Mexico (2), Scotland (2) and Taiwan (2). The remaining countries are Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, India, Ireland, Paraguay, South Africa, Spain, Thailand and Venezuela with one player each.
There is no shortage of homegrown talent either. Twenty-nine states are represented in the final qualifying tournament, with California leading the way with 17 entrants, followed by Florida with 12. Texas has five representatives, while Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina and Ohio each has four. Minnesota, New York and Illinois each have three players in the field.