Regina de Guzman hit a clutch birdie on No. 15 to save a 72 and finish tied at 14th to earn a full LPGA status but Dottie Ardina fumbled at the finish and missed the 20-player cut by one with a 74 in the LPGA Qualifying Tournament Final Stage in Florida Sunday.
De Guzman, tied with Ardina at 16th after four rounds, stayed within the cutoff score with a slew of pars, moved to 13th with a birdie on No. 7 but tumbled down with a double-bogey mishap on No. 13. But the 24-year-old amateur bounced back with the crucial birdie on the par-3 15th, her 72 and a five-day total of 355 netting her one of the coveted cards for next year’s staging of the world’s premier ladies tour.
“I had fun. I’m very lucky and grateful to be able to do this,” said De Guzman, a San Jose State U senior who primed up for the event by winning a tournament two weeks ago, also in Florida.
Ardina also looked headed to finally earning the elusive card after bucking two bogeys at the front with a birdie and an eagle on the par-5 eighth for a one-under card. But she stumbled with a bogey on No. 12 and dropped two more shots on Nos. 15 and 16 and hobbled with a 74.
She ended up dropping to joint 21st with a 357, one stroke behind Thai Pavarisa Yoktuan and amateur Karen Chung of US, who took the last two slots in the Top 20 with 68 and 72, respectively, for 356.
While De Guzman earned a full Category 12 status on the LPGA for 2017, Ardina, along with those who finished at 21st to 48th, again settled for a Category 17 or priority status the way she did in 2013 when she finished tied for 32nd in the final stage.
American Jaye Green took the low medal honors despite a closing 74, finishing with a 347 for a one-stroke victory over Iceland’s Olafia Kristinsdottir, who had a 348 after a 73.
The LPGA Tour kicks off the 2017 season on Jan. 26-29 for the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic in Bahamas.