Dec. 3, 2009
By Zach Stipe, Media Relations Graduate Assistant
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- All four former Lady Vols shot even-par or better on day two of competition at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament on Thursday at the par-72 Champions Course at the LPGA International.
Young-A Yang, Angela Oh, Jessica Shepley and Nicole Smith, four of the most decorated women's golfers in Tennessee history, are looking to earn their LPGA Tour membership or improve their status for the 2010 season at the five-day tournament.
Yang charged up the leaderboard, moving from 59th to a seven-way tie for 13th after firing a 4-under 68. The Tae-Gu City, South Korea, native has a 75-68=143 (-1) total. Among those she is tied with are the last two women to earn the NGCA National Player of the Year award, Maria Hernandez, the 2009 recipient while at Purdue, and Amanda Blemenherst, who took the honor from 2006-08 while at Duke.
Yang is five strokes back of the co-leaders Jane Chin (73-65=138) and Nikki Garrett (67-71=138).
The other three former Lady Vols vaulted up the leaderboard, as well.
Shepley and Oh each improved by at least seven strokes to move into the top 70. Shepley is tied for 48th at 3-over (77-70=147), while Oh is tied for 70th at 6-over (79-71=150).
Smith, in her first Final Qualifying Tournament, fired an even-par 72 and is tied for 58th at 5-over (77-72=149).
The top 70 players and ties among the 106-player field will move on after 72 holes to Sunday's final 18-hole round.
The top 40 finishers in the tournament will earn membership on the 2010 LPGA Tour.
The top 20 players will earn Priority in Category 11 membership, while players finishing 21st through 30th will receive Priority in Category 16 and places 31st through 40th will receive Priority in Category 20.
Oh, Shepley and Yang all played in the tournament last season with Oh tying for 40th to earn her LPGA Card.
Shepley also gained membership on the 2009 Tour after finishing seventh on the Duramed FUTURES Tour money list in 2008.
Yang has played on the LPGA Tour since 2003, making 72 cuts, while earning nearly $700,000 in prize money.
Oh and Smith will continue to play on the Champions Course for Friday's third round, starting at 8:33 a.m. and 9:06 a.m., respectively.
Starting from the Legends Course at the LPGA International on day three will be Yang at 8:44 a.m. and Shepley at 9:06 a.m.