With five weeks remaining before the next phase of the LPGA Q-School, Pauline del Rosario and Abby Arevalo are doing everything they can to sharpen their skills and develop consistency and maturity.
Given the depth of the competing field and the rigidity and severity of the upcoming competition, the Filipina pair hopes to play with considerable panache to measure up to the standard of play in the penultimate stage of the grueling three-part eliminations leading to the coveted LPGA Tour cards next season.
“Five weeks are enough if I use it wisely,” said Del Rosario during a break in training for Stage II of the LPGA Q-School slated 18 to 24 October at the Plantation Golf and Country Club’s Bobcat and Panther courses in Venice, Florida.
Del Rosario, the first Filipina to win on the LPGA of Taiwan Tour in 2017 when she also dominated the Ladies Philippine Golf Tour with four victories to mark her rookie season, posted a Top 2 finish in her first Women’s All Pro Tour (WAPT) sortie, which served as part of the LPGA qualifiers, recently.
That earned her an outright ticket to Stage II, which will be a lot tougher, more challenging with Symetra Tour members ranked No. 1 to 125 plus ties headlining the cast.
Throw in the LPGA Tour members ranked outside the Top 150 and ties on the 2021 LPGA Points List, along with those ranked within the Top 400 in the Rolex Women’s world golf rankings and the Top 5 in the collegiate ranking and world amateur standing, Stage II indeed looks nothing but a survival of the fittest.
What makes the next 72-hole tournament doubly tough is that only the top 30 plus ties will advance to the final stage, the Q-Series, in November in Alabama.
But to get to Alabama, the aspirants first need to hurdle the Florida test, which Del Rosario treats just like an ordinary event.
“Stage II to me is just another four-day tournament,” Del Rosario said. “But I expect good competition because of the ranked players who will be playing.”
As part of her buildup, she is vying in a Louisiana tournament next week then heads to South Carolina in the first week of October for another event.
Arevalo, meanwhile, lived through the first stage of the elims at various courses in Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage (Dinah Shore and Pete Dye courses) and the Shadow Ridge Golf Club in Palm Desert, both in California, finishing tied at 33rd to advance to the next phase along with 94 others.
The 2020 Philippine Ladies Open winner, whose pro campaign and that of Del Rosario are backed by the leading global port operator ICTSI, toughens up by competing in Monday’s qualifier for an LPGA event, the Cambia Portland Classic, at the Oregon Golf Club.
The runaway winner of a Cactus Tour leg last June also had a couple of stints in the WAPT, finishing tied for 12th in both the Natchez Golf Classic and the Babe Zaharias Open. Like Del Rosario, she is keen on toughening up more by competing in a couple or three more tournaments before the Florida bash.
Arevalo and Del Rosario are aiming to live their LPGA dreams and join the likes of fellow ICTSI players Yuka Saso, Bianca Pagdanganan and Dottie Ardina, along with Fil-Am Clariss Guce, in the world’s premier ladies circuit next year.
The duo are most specifically inspired by Saso’s rise to golfing stardom following the Filipino-Japanese ace’s major breakthrough in the US Women’s Open last June that also netted her a full five-year Tour membership.
But while the road to the LPGA will be bumpy, challenging and exacting, Del Rosario and Arevalo believe they have the drive, the tools and the competitiveness — not to mention the positive mindset needed to propel one in such kind of tests — to measure up with the best and the brightest.
“I am confident with my overall game,” Del Rosario said. “I think my mental game and thoughts are what I need to improve since golf is said to be more than 70 percent mental, anyway.”