Harang Lee, a two-time All-American for the Georgia Bulldogs, earned conditional status for next year’s LPGA Tour last weekend by tying for 45th at final stage of Q School at the LPGA International Courses in Daytona, Fla. Lee covered the 90-hole event at 2-over 362.
“It’s something that I’ve always wanted,” Lee said. “It wasn’t exactly the week I wanted to have because I made some mistakes and didn’t get full status. It was a long week. It was very stressful. Some negatives happened, but I also did some good things I can think about. I think I could have done better, but I’m pretty happy. It’s a good start.”
Of the 166 players in the field at the final stage of Q School, the top-20 finishers earned full status on the Tour for 2018, while golfers tying for 21st-45th received conditional status. Those with conditional status earn spots in Tour events with larger fields. Twice during the season status is reshuffled, with conditional players who perform well in LPGA events given the chance the upgrade their status. When she’s not competing in LPGA tournaments, Lee will play on the Symetra Futures Tour.
“I’m really happy for Harang to achieve conditional status and be a member of the LPGA,” head coach Josh Brewer said. “She came here to Georgia because she wanted to play the Tour, and now she gets that opportunity. Whether she’s playing in tournaments on the LPGA or Symetra Tour next year, Harang will be competing against the best players in the world. I’m very confident she will have great success.”
Lee made a 40-foot birdie putt on the final hole of the fifth round to gain her conditional status.
“I didn’t know it made the difference at the time,” Lee said. “I didn’t know for sure until later.”
Lee opened the tournament with a 1-over 73 that placed her in a tie for 45th. She slipped to 88th following a 75 in the second rounds, but ascended to 56th and then 53rd following a pair of even-par 72s in the third and fourth rounds.
“I knew going into the final round I needed a low round to get full status,” Lee said. “I was hitting it close and had some great chances, but it seemed like I wasn’t able to make any of them.”
Lee teed off from No. 10 and played the back side of the course first. She turned at even-par by mixing a birdie at No. 12 and a bogey at No. 17 with seven pars. Lee moved into red numbers with birdies at No. 1 and No. 5. She bogeyed No. 6 to slip one shot below the projected cut for conditional status with three holes to play.
“I think I got a little impatient,” Lee said. “On the last hole, I left it pretty far from the pin. Instead of a 6-iron I hit a 7-iron and left it about 40-feet short. With it being so long, I didn’t spend as much time on the putt as I did on the other ones that were easier chances. As soon as I hit it, I started walking toward the pin and I saw it was rolling right into the hole. I said to myself ‘of course you’re going to make this one.'”
A native of Castro Uridales, Spain, Lee finished her collegiate career this spring by earning All-America and first-team All-SEC recognition for the second consecutive year. She competed in 43 events for Georgia from 2013-17, with 13 top-10 and 21 top-20 individual finishes. Lee posted the fifth- and seventh-best season stroke averages in school history and posted a 74.13 career average over 114 rounds, with 33 par-or-better loops.
Lee advanced through three stages of qualifying to earn her Tour card. She shot 8-under 280 to tie for eighth in the first stage on August 24-27 in Rancho Mirage, Calif., and then fired a 5-under 283 to tie for 11th at the second stage on Oct. 19-22 in Venice, Fla.
Lee is the 18th Georgia golfer to earn playing status on the LPGA Tour.
Jillian Hollis, a current junior and also a two-time All-American for the Bulldogs, also reached the final stage of Q School. Hollis shot 5-over 293 and missed a 72-hole cut by a single stroke.