Kelly and Alyaa begin quest to qualify for lucrative LPGA Tour

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s Kelly Tan and Alyaa Abdulghany (pic) will be staking a strong claim to play in the US LPGA Tour as a whopping US$85.7mil (RM362.21mil) is up for grabs over 34 events next season.They begin their qualifying campaign tomorrow at the LPGA Q-Series in Alabama.

The Malaysian duo will be among the 110 competitors vying for the playing rights to the world’s most prestigious women’s golf circuit.

The Q-Series features a gruelling 144-hole format, with the opening 72 holes to be contested at the Magnolia Grove Golf Course before the field will be trimmed for the final battle at the Highland Oaks Golf Course in the following week (Dec 9-12).

LPGA Tour cards will be awarded to the top-45 and ties in the Q-Series.

Those who complete the Q-Series will be given second-tier Symetra Tour status.

National No. 1 Kelly had to turn to Q-Series to re-secure her full playing privileges after struggling to impress this season.

Only the top 100 point-finishers on the season-long Race to CME Globe standings get to retain their Tour card for next season, but Kelly could only finish 140th.

Kelly made only seven cuts from 14 appearances, with a tied-22nd finish at the Lotte Championship as her best outing.

It will be Kelly’s fourth appearance in the Q-Series. She succeeded in the first back in 2013 to earn her a debut season in 2014.

She sustained her full membership for four seasons before losing it in 2017. After that, it took her two attempts to regain the Tour card by coming in joint 20th in the 2019 Q-Series, then in North Carolina.

As for Alyaa, who holds a US permanent residence status, she will be aiming to strike it big in her very first attempt.

As a newly-turned professional several months ago, Alyaa needed to battle through first two qualifiers to reach this all-important stage.

In October, Alyaa was one of the 47 successful candidates who punched their tickets to the Q-Series via the second stage in Florida.

Alyaa can certainly expect a stiffer challenge this time as she will be going up against established professionals like Kelly, who are ranked 101st-150th in this season’s overall rankings as well as some of top 75-ranked players in the world who do not hold LPGA Tour status yet.