Jaclyn Lee and Katja Pogacar began a grueling stretch of Q-Series play. After four rounds that concluded Sunday, the players get two days “off” then dive into another four day, 72 hole event. The 102 player in the field have obtained Symetra Tour status. After the divots settle on November 3rd, we’ll know who the low 45 players, and ties, will have earned LPGA status.
The tournament was played on the Pinehurst #6 course. Again, to emphasize, the objective is after 144 holes, to be in the top 45 and ties.
Jaclyn had rounds of 68-70-70-71-279 (-9) to finish in 2nd place at the halfway point. Jaclyn and mid-point leader Klara Spilkova were the only two players to play each of the four rounds under par.
Jaclyn got off to a very good start with four birdies and 14 pars in her opening round of 68 (-4). Her second round had 3 birdies, 14 pars and a bogey for a 70 (-2). In her third round, Jaclyn picked up where she left off with an eagle on the 2nd hole followed by 3 birdies on her next 8 holes. She speed bumped a bit on her back nine with three consecutive bogeys, but still ended the round with a 70 (-2) and stood at -8 for the tournament to that point. In her final round, Jaclyn was +1 on her front nine, but birdied both par-5s on the back nine for another round under par of 71 (-1) and a tournament total of -9 to par.
Jaclyn had an eagle, 12 birdies, 54 pars and 5 bogeys. That’s 67 of 72 holes played in par or better. Her opening round of 68 (-4) was the lowest score for the field for the day. For the second consecutive 72 hole stretch, Jaclyn has scored nothing higher than a bogey. That is some incredible golf!
Katja, unfortunately, didn’t fare as well. Her rounds of 81-75-74-75-305 (+17) has put her in a tie for 97th place and in a pretty tough situation.
Katja began well enough, starting her opening round on hole #10 with a birdie. After one hole, she’s -1; so far, so good. Then things went to hell in a hurry. Over the next seven holes she had 2 bogeys, a double bogey and a quadruple bogey. Her opening round of 81 (+9) was tied for 3rd highest round of the day – not the way you want to start any tournament.
Her second through fourth rounds were similar, without the quadruple bogey. This type of play honestly surprised me. I’m sure it came as quite surprise to Katja. In her play on the Ladies European Tour, Katja makes a couple birdies a round as well as a few bogeys and a lot of pars. For her to card double bogeys, let alone a quad, is very atypical play for her.
So, with the final 72 holes looming in this year’s Q-Series, the chances of Katja finishing in the top 45 are pretty bleak. She has to overcome 45 players and 10 strokes. I guess there’s a non-zero chance of that happening, but I wouldn’t bet my Tour card on it. But, let’s make lemonade out of this. Katja needs to do a mental reset and look at the upcoming 72 holes as a new tournament to win, not an extension of what happened earlier in the week. She needs to clear her mind of “un-Katja” play and focus on “Katja play”.
The second gauntlet of 72 holes for the Q-Series will take place October 31st – November 3rd in Pinehurst, NC. I’ll keep you updated as this progresses.