he LPGA qualifying stage’s last stage has a familiar feel to it. At the halfway mark of the Q-Series marathon, Pauline Roussin-Bouchard, the victor of Stage II, is back on top of the leaderboard.
On the Robert Trent Jones Trail, Roussin-Bouchard blasted a 7-under 65 on the Crossings Course on Sunday to take a two-shot lead entering Week 2 at 19 under. In the Q-Series field, six players are ranked in the top 75 in the Rolex Rankings, with four of them in the top ten: Hye-Jin Choi (-17), Na Rin An (-14), Atthaya Thitikul (-13), and Ayaka Furue (-13). (-11). Hinako Shibuno, a major winner, and Emily Kristine Pedersen, a two-time European Solheim Cup winner, are tied for 24th place.
Stephanie Kyriacou, an Australian, shot a 9-under 63 on the Crossings Course on Sunday, with seven birdies and an eagle. As a 19-year-old amateur, Kyriacou won her maiden LET event at the 2020 Australian Ladies Classic Bonville.
“Somethings were working and some things weren’t working over the last two days,” she explained, “and then today they were both in sync.”
Kyriacou, who is now ranked 77th in the world, won the Big Green Egg Open on the LET in 2021 and has a dozen top-10 finishes.
Although Roussin-Bouchard and Kyriacou are looking forward to the 72-hole event at Highland Oaks Golf Club in Dothan, Alabama, not everyone in the field will be able to attend.
On Sunday, the top 70 players and ties were eliminated, and 74 players advanced. Haley Moore, Sierra Brooks, Beth Wu, Sarah Burnham, Virginia Elena Carta, and Polly Mack and Hyo Joon Jang were among those who did not make the cut.
Mariah Stackhouse, an LPGA veteran, had a fourth-round 69 to move up the leaderboard heading into the weekend. Meghan MacLaren of England shot back-to-back 68s to reclaim a spot on the T-39 tour.
Roussin-Bouchard attributes her early success to the “pressure-free” environment that her staff assisted her in creating.
— Meghan MacLaren (@meg_maclaren) December 5, 2021
“I perform a lot of martial arts, including boxing,” Roussin-Bouchard explained, “and I went boxing before going to relieve some stress.” It was extremely beneficial because it put me in a mentality where I wanted to demolish everything in my path.”
For 2022, the top 45 players and ties obtain LPGA status. The rest of the field is classified as Symetra.
Six amateurs made the cut, including the Hou sisters of Arizona, who are tied for 29th place. Yu-Sang shot 66 on Sunday to tie for 5th place with her sister Yu-Chiang.