June 23, 2003
Kristy McPherson has only been competing on the LPGA Futures Tour for three weeks now but the three-time All-American has already started to make a name for herself.
In just her third Futures Tournament, McPherson finished 12th in the Bank of Ann Arbor Futures Classic Tournament in Ann Arbor, Michigan, over the June 20th weekend, for the best finish of her young professional career.
After leading the 15th-ranked Gamecock women’s golf team to a 17th place finish at the NCAA Chamionships in West Lafayette, Indiana, in May, McPherson jumped into her car and drove from Columbia to Lima, Ohio, to participate in the June 6-8th Lima Memorial Hospital Foundation Futures Classic. In her first tournament, the SEC Player of the Year shot a four-over-par 220 to finish in a tie for 50th place. Her first check as a professional golfer? A $222 reward for the weekend’s work.
The Futures Tour moved to Forsyth, Illinois, for the June 13-15th Michelob Light Futures Charity Golf Classic where McPherson shot a one-under par 215 to tie for 25th place.
“I started off kind of shaky on the Futures Tour with the Lima (Ohio) Memorial Hospital Classic but it’s getting better now,” said the four-time All-SEC golfer. “I knew that it was going to be very competitive out here and I really haven’t seen anything to change that opinion or shock me yet. At that Lima Classic, I was surprised by how low the cut was. I shot a 77 on my first day but followed with a 69 on the second day. I made the cut by only one stroke. That shocked me. You know that you have to play good golf to get the opportunity to play on Sunday.
“It is also an adjustment to get accustomed to playing for yourself. If you have a bad round, your score counts. You don’t have teammates playing so you can throw out the team’s lowest score. It is weird to not see your teammates and other schools around.
“So far during these three weeks, I’ve been traveling with former Furman golfer, Leigh Turner, who I’ve known for awhile. The Futures Tour also arranges host families in each city we visit and we have the opportunity to stay with themover the weekend. That has been a lot of fun. It’s a good way to cut back on some of the expenses and we’ve met some very nice people.
“We have a two-week break now and then finish up with six weeks of tournaments. My goals are to finish in the top 10 in all six tournaments and move up in the money list. If I am not one of the five golfers who receives an automatic LPGA card after this season, I plan on going to one of the LPGA Qualifying Schools this summer and fall. The first one is at the end of August in Florida and then there’s another one in California in September.”
Back in November, the South Carolina senior qualified for the Futures Tour by doing well in the four rounds of the Futures Qualifying School in Lakeland, Florida. As a result, McPherson earned the right to play in the 17-event 2003 Futures Tour schedule after her collegiate career at USC concluded.
At the end of the 2003 Futures Tour in August, the top five money winners on the Futures Tour will be given their LPGA Tour exempt cards for the 2003 season.Golfers ranked sixth through 10th will receive direct entry to the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament.
Anyone who hopes to obtain an LPGA card must work their way in through LPGA Qualifying School. The top 30 golfers from each of the two Qualifying Schools advance into the Final Qualifying School stage in Florida in October. The LPGA then accepts a pre-determined number of new golfers each season.
Over its 23-year history, the Futures Tour has remained committed to fulfilling the dreams of its players who are aspiring to the LPGA Tour, thus earning the reputation as “the road to the LPGA”. In 1999, the Futures Tour became “the official developmental tour of the LPGA”, a relationship that provides its players with direct avenues to qualify for the LPGA Tour. Last year, a total of 30 Futures Tour players from the 2002 season obtained status on the 2003 LPGA Tour.
Here are the remaining dates of the Futures Tour. Look for the Futures Tour site on the Internet (www.futurestour.com) for more information.
Remaining Events on the Futures Tour
July 11 – 13 Lincoln Futures Golf Classic Avon, Conn.
July 18 – 20 GE Futures Professional Golf Classic Altamont, N.Y.
July 25 – 27 M&T Bank Loretto Futures Golf Classic Syracuse, N.Y.
Aug. 1 – 3 Hunters Oak Hospice FuturesGolf Classic Queenstown, Md.
Aug. 8 – 10 Betty Puskar Futures Golf Classic Morgantown, W.Va.
Aug. 15 – 17 York Newspaper Company Futures Classic York, Pa.