The Philippines’ Pauline del Rosario boosted her drive for an LPGA card after fashioning out a four-under-par 68 on Tuesday at the start of the LPGA and Epson Tour Qualifying Tournament Stage II.
Del Rosario, 24, is tied for fourth, just three strokes off leader Samantha Vodry of the United States in the meet held at the Plantation Golf and Country’s Bobcat and Panther courses in Venice, Florida.
She decorated her opening round with birdies on 4, 6, 9, 11, 14, 15 and 16, more than making up for her double bogey on the par-5 third, and bogey on the fifth.
Still, it is a promising start for Del Rosario as the tournament dangles spots to the Q-Series Qualifying Tournament for the LPGA slated next month in Alabama.
Fellow Filipinos Tomita Arejola and Chanelle Avaricio weren’t as lucky as they faltered with a 75 and an 84, respectively.
Avaricio tied for 38th in Stage I at Mission Hills last August, while Arejola finished T43.
There will be no cut in the 72-hole stroke play tournament with the number of players advancing to the last phase, the Q-Series, to be announced later in the day.
Players who complete 72 holes but do not advance to the Q-Series will earn 2024 Epson Tour status.
Vodry is making her second career start at Stage II and began the tournament in a bogey-free fashion.
The seven-under 65 is Vodry’s best performance at Stage II by a wide margin, topping her previous best round in Venice, Fla., by 12 shots. Vodry played in 16 events on the Epson Tour during the 2023 season as a rookie, making the cut in six of her appearances.
Vodry is coming off a strong performance at the Epson Tour Championship, where she put together four straight under-par rounds, and is hoping to carry this early momentum into the rest of the week.
“I felt pretty comfortable. Played here last year, so that was nice to know the course well,” Vodry said.
“You know, I drove it well so didn’t really ever get into any bad spots. And then my ball striking was just really good, so I had a lot of opportunities for birdie and was able to roll those in.”
Two shots behind the leader sits World Amateur Golf Ranking No. 1 Ingrid Lindblad. The Louisiana State University Tiger signed for a bogey-free, first-round 67 and shares second alongside her fellow amateur, Sabrina Iqbal.
Even with 54 holes left to play, Lindblad sees her solid first round as proof that she belongs on a professional stage and hopes to keep that going throughout the week. Capitalizing on the par 5s helped her go low on Tuesday, something the Swede will continue to emphasize for the remaining rounds.
“It felt pretty good. I had birdied all the par-5s before nine, so I was just like, okay, hit it up on the green and just — I only had a 5-wood in, so just hit up on the green, two-putt, and walk out of there with a birdie,” Lindblad said.
“So, it felt really good. Overall, all day it was solid. It felt like golf was very easy today.”