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Aug. 24, 2016

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Former South Carolina women’s golf standout Sarah Schmelzel is set to compete in Stage I of the 2016 LPGA Qualifying Tournament this week, beginning on Thursday. The 72-hole event will take place over four days at two locations in Rancho Mirage, Calif., with golfers in action at Mission Hills Country Club and Westin Mission Hills Resort.

Schmelzel and the 346 other golfers in the field look to make the first step in securing a spot on the 2017 LPGA Tour. The competitors will play one round each on the Palmer, Dinah Shore and Gary Player courses for the first three days, and there will be a cut following 54 holes. Any golfer that posts a score of 88 or higher prior to the cut will automatically be withdrawn from the Qualifying Tournament and will not be eligible to receive any type of Tour status for 2017.

The number of players who will make the cut will be determined during the tournament. Those that complete 54 holes will receive Symetra Tour status for 2017.

Sunday’s final round will be contested at the Dinah Shore Course, and following the event a minimum of 60 golfers and ties will move on to Stage II of qualifying school. Stage II will take place Oct. 20-23 at Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice, Fla., where golfers will play 72 holes of stroke play with no cut. The top 80 after the tournament will advance to Stage III, set for Nov. 30-Dec. 4 at LPGA International in Dayton Beach, Fla.

Stage III will feature 90 holes of stoke play with a cut after the fourth round, and the number of players who will receive LPGA Tour membership will be determined after the completion of the final round. Those that don’t earn LPGA Tour membership in Stage II and III will receive Symetra Tour status as long as they complete a minimum of 72 holes at either stage.

Schmelzel earned All-America Honorable Mention accolades in her final season at South Carolina this past spring. The Phoenix, Ariz., native’s 74.25 career stroke average ranks fourth in program history, and she earned her medalist honors at the 2016 Bryan National Collegiate in April. Schmelzel ended her collegiate career with eight top-10 finishes and 19 top-20 showings.