Former UNC, Duke golfers advance to next stage at LPGA Q-School

Peter Koutroumpis, Triangle Sports Network

RANCHO MIRAGE, CALIF. – While Emily Tubert shot a final round of 70 to finish with a 12-under 276 to claim medalist honors, former UNC and Duke golfers Katherine Perry and Laetitia Beck respectively, also moved on to the next stage of LPGA Qualifying School at Mission Hills Country Club on Friday.

Perry (T4, 283-74-67-69-73) and Beck (T19, 289-74-73-71-71) finished in the Top 20 of the group of 102 players who finished at 298 (+10) or better to advance to Stage II that will take place at Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice, Fla. from Sept. 30 – Oct. 4.

Since graduating, both players have stayed busy while competing to qualify for various LPGA tournaments, which included the 2014 Women’s U.S. Open that was played at Pinehurst Resort and Golf Club in June.

Neither player qualified for that major tournament via the sectional qualifier they played in at Carolina Trace in Sanford, but they continued to compete and work on their games throughout the summer in hopes of earning LPGA playing privileges in the season-ending Q-School competition.

Though her first round didn’t go as well as she had planned when she opened with a 74, Perry, the former Tar Heel and Athens Drive standout, kept her composure and was able to fire a bogey-free, 5-under 67 to advance herself from a tie for 65th after the first day into a more secure tie for sixth following day two.

She followed that up by carding scores of 69 and 73 during her final two rounds and stayed near the top of the leaderboard throughout the remainder of the stage.

“I worked hard all summer on my swing, on my short game, on my putting,” Perry said.

“Putting is really a big factor for me and I feel a lot more confident with it.”

She also referred to her UNC network to seek advice before heading into Q-School for the first time.

“Yeah absolutely, I picked their brains, especially Allie White and Catherine O’Donnell,” Perry continued.

“They’ve been big mentors for me. They told me not to let things get to me too much and just focus on my game.”

Perry had her father on her bag during the week which provided comfort to her throughout the tournament.

“This is the first big tournament that he’s been on the bag for and it’s been really fun,” Perry said with a smile.

“He keeps me calm out there which is nice.”

Beck, a member of the Blue Devils’ 2014 NCAA-championship team, who became the first Israeli to play in an LPGA event earlier this summer at the RICOH Women’s British Open, will now continue her journey to become the first full-time Israeli player on the LPGA at Stage II, after finishing the week at 1-over 289.

“I came here to advance to the next stage and have fun,” Beck said.

“I’m taking every stage one at a time and trying to play my best game and obviously if I do well it will be amazing for me and my country, but I just want to enjoy myself and try my best.”

Beck said that the experience at the British was a good one to draw from as she starts her professional career.

“The experience helped me,” Beck said.

“It was my first time playing as a professional so the adjustments were in my head because it was a different way to approach the situation I was in. It was a great experience and this was a great experience too. From now on I’m sure that every new situation will help my game.”

While Beck continued on to the next stage, it didn’t come without its challenges.

“I thought it was going to be a little easier,” Beck admitted.

“I was getting pretty stressed in the beginning of the week because I wasn’t hitting it so well, but then I just tried to enjoy the experience and not expect too much.”

Both Perry and Beck will now play to be a part of the top 80 from Stage II who will to advance into the Final Qualifying Tournament, Stage III, a competition that will be contested over 90 holes from Dec. 3-7 at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla.

From there, if either or both can stay near the top of the leaderboard by the end of it all, they will earn LPGA membership for the 2015 season.