NSA grad earns LPGA card

Published 10:07 pm Friday, December 7, 2012

NSA graduate Lauren Doughtie earned her LPGA card this past weekend after finishing in the top 20 of the final stage of the LPGA Qualifying School for 2012 in Daytona Beach, Fla. Doughtie will now be eligible to compete in all full-field LPGA events.

By Titus Mohler

Staff Writer

Nansemond-Suffolk Academy graduate and Suffolk resident Lauren Doughtie received her Ladies Professional Golf Association card this past weekend in Daytona Beach, Fla., giving her status to play in all full-field LPGA events for the coming season.

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“I’ve been working to get my LPGA card for as long as I can remember, I feel like,” she said. “I knew when I wanted to go and play golf in college I wanted to turn pro. So I’ve been working since then to get my card.”

“It just felt like a lot of the hard work that I’ve been (doing) the last few years finally came together,” she added.

Doughtie received her card by finishing in the top 20 of the LPGA Qualifying School for 2012. There are three stages to the Q-School, the first two being separate, four-day tournaments in which participants play 18 holes each day. Doughtie was exempt from these first two stages because of her performance on the Symetra Tour.

The Symetra Tour is a developmental tour in which players can earn their LPGA card and are prepared for playing professionally. This past year, Doughtie placed 21st on the money list for this tour and even won an event, the Ladies Titan Tire Challenge.

The third stage of Q-School is a five-day, 18 holes per day, tournament. After the fourth day, only the top 70, including players who are tied, move on to the final round.

Only the top 20 finishers in the fifth round receive cards. After 18 more holes, Doughtie was one of seven tied for the last four open spots.

“It was a seven-way playoff for four spots, and they start with a three-hole aggregate,” Doughtie said. “All seven of us played three holes, they add them up, and if they have four spots filled then, great.”

Only two spots were filled by that point, but Doughtie was in one of them, having shot 2-under par for the three extra holes.

“Honestly, I didn’t quite believe it was over,” she said. “It took 93 holes, which is a long time, but I was really excited. My mom actually got to come down, so she was there and I had a lot of good friends that stood and waited for the playoff to finish, so they were there to congratulate me.”

Her success on the Symetra Tour, particularly the win, uniquely prepared her for this past weekend’s achievement.

“I had a pretty good season this year with a win, which was nice because I won in a playoff in my win, so that made me a little more comfortable going into a playoff for my card.”

Doughtie, 25, traces her golfing experience back to her father.

“My dad would take me and my sister out when we were little after he would get off work, and I just really enjoyed the game,” she said. “I started playing in tournaments at age 10 and just fell in love with the competition and the sport of it, in general.”

She began playing for NSA in the eighth grade and continued playing during her college years, excelling at North Carolina State University.

She summed up how she achieved her dream of being a professional golfer.

“My parents supported me and taught me really how to work hard for something that I wanted,” she said. “I have a great coach in T.J. Young at Cedar Point (Country Club).”

Young, the director of Golf at Cedar Point, was excited for Doughtie.

“It’s a good feeling to know that you had any part, as small as it may be, in teaching her a better way to play golf and to hit certain shots,” he said. “I think for somebody in my position to (have) the privilege of being able to work with somebody that’s got that kind of talent, that’s got the ability to make it on the LPGA, is an honor.”

The official schedule has not been announced for the coming LPGA season, but Doughtie will likely begin in either February or March.