Former CU golfer Coleman first local to earn LPGA Tour status in 4 years
by Gary Baines
The last time a player with strong Colorado connections landed LPGA Tour playing privileges through Q-school was four years ago. But former University of Colorado golfer Jenny Coleman was more than happy to be the one to end the drought on Sunday.
Coleman, who played for the Buffs from 2010-14, finished 29th Sunday in the third and final stage of LPGA Tour qualifying, in Daytona Beach, Fla. With the players who placed 21st through 45th (and ties) earning conditional status on the LPGA Tour, Coleman made the grade for 2017.
“It feels great,” Coleman said in a phone interview with coloradowomensgolf.org. “I’m so glad the hard work is paying off. I couldn’t be happier.”
The 24-year-old from Rolling Hills Estates, Calif., who started the day outside of the top 45, finished strong on Sunday — making downhill birdie putts of 7 and 15 feet on her final two holes — to shoot a 1-under-par 71. That moved her off the bubble and left her at even-par 360 for the five-round tournament. She ended up with four birdies and three bogeys on the final day.
Coleman said she didn’t know how she stood down the stretch relative to the top 45, but noted that may have worked in her favor.
“I felt I needed to get close to even (par) total,” she said. “I was nervous, but when I started pulling it off (in the final holes), it gave me confidence.
“I was trying to make birdies and solid pars and stay more offensive.”
Depending on how she performs during the 2017 LPGA Tour season, conditional status should get Coleman into at least a handful of tournaments on the top women’s circuit in the world. Several players who earned conditional status at Q-school a year ago competed in six to eight LPGA events in 2016. In all likelihood, Coleman will play in a mixture of LPGA and Symetra Tour events next year.
Coleman is believed to be the first CU golfer to earn LPGA Tour status.
The former Buff, who competed in the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open, played in 2016 on the Symetra Tour, finishing 31st on the money list. She posted three top-10 performances — with a third-place her best showing — and ended up 13th at the season-ending Symetra Tour Championship in October.
“I played well in the first event of the season (finishing third), then I lost some momentum,” she said. “But the last four events, I was top 15 or better, and I made eight cuts in a row. So my game was coming back again.”
The 2017 LPGA Tour season will begin the week of Jan. 23-29 in the Bahamas.
Before Sunday, the last players with strong Colorado ties to qualify for the LPGA Tour through Q-school were Kelly Jacques, who grew up in Longmont, and former University of Denver golfers Shephanie Sherlock and Kimberly Kim — all of whom advanced from Q-school four years ago and played on the LPGA Tour in 2013. That was also the last year that Colorado Golf Hall of Famer Jill McGill competed on Tour.
Here are the scores of all the players with strong Colorado ties who competed at the LPGA Q-school finals, which was the last stage of a three-stage qualifying process:
29. Former CU golfer Jenny Coleman 72-70-73-74-71–360
Missed 72-Hole Cut
96. Becca Huffer of Denver 72-75-75-72–294
96. Former DU golfer Eleanor Givens 78-72-70-74–294
For all the scores from the finals, CLICK HERE.