Ten outlast the rest at the Marathon Classic
A total of 10 players who had not previously qualified made their way into the AIG Women’s Open field after performing strongly at the Marathon Classic, an event won by Danielle Kang over Lydia Ko.
Maria Fassi, the Mexican star who captured hearts and minds at the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur last year, was one of the 10, and will now play in her second successive AIG Women’s Open.
Joining the likes of Fassi, Kang and Ko at the AIG Women’s Open will be American players Andrea Lee and Emma Talley, the highest-placed qualifiers, who finished T5 in the Marathon Classic on eight under par.
Talley finished in the top 20 in her most recent AIG Women's Open appearance in 2014, and shares amateur pedigree with Kang and Ko. The 26-year-old won the US Women's Amateur in 2013, while Ko won the year prior in 2012, and Kang the two years prior to that in 2010 and 2011.
Lee also had a day to remember. The talented young American was initially eligible to play in the event this year thanks to her prolific amateur success last year, but after turning professional she lost her space and had to qualify for her first AIG Women’s Open all over again. A stunning six-under-par 65 in the final round on Sunday ensured she did just that.
One shot further back was Fassi, who finished the week with a two-under-par 69 to earn her place. Alongside her in a share of ninth position were fellow qualifiers Kendall Dye of the United States, Germany’s Sophia Popov, Malaysia’s Kelly Tan and Thailand’s Patty Tavatanakit.
Tan will be playing her first AIG Women’s Open since 2016, Popov will play her first since 2011, and both Dye and Tavatanakit will be making their debuts in the event, with the 20-year-old Thai making the grade in her rookie year on the LPGA Tour.
Rounding out the qualifiers were Peiyun Chien from Taiwan and Dottie Ardina from the Phillipines, who finished a shot further back at six under par, and American Lindy Duncan, who finished amongst a host of players at five under but qualified thanks to her Rolex World Ranking.
Duncan and Chien both have played in the event previously, with the former playing in last year’s edition too, but Ardina will be the fourth of the 10 qualifiers making her AIG Women's Open debut at Royal Troon next week.
All to play for at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open
The 10 Marathon qualifiers have brought the total field up to 123 of 144, leaving 21 spots available from the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open.
This represents a huge opportunity for a whole host of players yet to qualify for the AIG Women’s Open at Royal Troon.
The top 21 finishers of those not already exempt will earn spots in the starting field. Should there be a tie at the cut-off point, a player’s Rolex World Ranking will act as a tie-breaker.
The ASI LSO will get underway on Thursday, with home hopefuls Kelsey MacDonald, Michele Thomson and Kylie Henry among those eyeing up one of the final qualifying spots for next week’s AIG Women’s Open.