The LPGA is replacing their traditional Q-School concept in 2018 with an eight-round, two-tournament series dubbed the Q-Series, and they’ve released the details for the events.
North Carolina’s Pinehurst Resort will host the events, played in back-to-back weeks from Oct. 22 to Nov. 3. The no-cut, 72-hole tournaments, presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina in the first of a three-year deal, will be played on Pinehurst No. 6 (Oct. 24-27) and Pinehurst No. 7 (Oct. 31-Nov. 3), with the cumulative scores determining the fate of 45 LPGA Tour cards and the $150,000 combined purse.
The field will comprise players who finished Nos. 101-150 and ties on the current-season LPGA official money list and players ranked Nos. 11-30 and ties from the Symetra Tour official money list. A maximum of 10 spots will go to players in the top 75 of the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings not otherwise in those two categories. Additionally, the top five collegiate players in the country according to Golfweek/Sagarin College Rankings will also be exempt into Q-Series.
There will remain Stages 1 and 2 of Q-School, with a to-be-determined number top finishers from Stage 2 advancing to the Q-Series.
The top 45 finishers and ties from Q-Series will receive LPGA membership in category 14 of the LPGA Priority List, with the rest earning Symetra Tour membership. At the the 2017 Q-School final stage, which was played over 90 holes with a cut, the top 20 players earned their full LPGA cards.
The LPGA is also relaxing their rules for amateurs who qualify and participate in Q-Series. Amateurs can now play in all stages. Any amateur earning LPGA status through Q-Series can defer acceptance of that status and turn professional on July 1 the following year. They will be barred from playing on the LPGA as an amateur while holding this deferral. As has been the case, amateur players can join and play on the Symetra Tour and turn professional at any time.
The LPGA has also amended the Q-School age requirements, allowing players aged 16 to compete for Symetra Tour status in Stages 1 and 2 if they turn 17 by the end of the calendar year. Players 17 years of age can compete for LPGA membership if they turn 18 by the end of the year. The LPGA’s age floor of 18 remains in effect, and players can petition the commissioner for a waiver.