ALBANY, N.Y., Sept. 7, 2008 – Ten Duramed FUTURES Tour players earned 2009 LPGA membership today by finishing in the top 10 on the season money list.
This year’s Duramed FUTURES Tour graduates are, in order of finish: 1. Vicky Hurst of Melbourne, Fla.; 2. Mindy Kim of Diamond Bar, Calif.; 3. Sarah-Jane Kenyon of Queensland, Australia; 4. M.J. Hur of Seoul, South Korea; 5. Jin Young Pak of Kang Leung, South Korea; 6. Song Yi Choi of Seoul, South Korea; 7. Jessica Shepley of Oakville, Ontario; 8. Leah Wigger of Louisville, Ky.; 9. Sophia Sheridan of Guadalajara, Mexico; and 10. Kim Welch of Sacramento, Calif.
The 2008 season is the tenth year in the 28-year history of the Duramed FUTURES Tour that players have been able to earn automatic exemptions onto the LPGA Tour and the sixth year that at least five LPGA memberships have been awarded. From 1999 to 2002, three exemptions were offered to top money winners. The 2008 season marks the first time 10 LPGA memberships were awarded.
Also today, the next five players on the Tour’s money list, excluding current LPGA members, earned automatic entry into the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla., set for Dec. 3-7. Those players, in order of finish, are as follows: Haeji Kang of Seoul, South Korea; Mo Martin of Altadena, Calif.; Lisa Ferrero of Lodi, Calif.; Kristina Tucker of Stockholm, Sweden; Gerina Mendoza of Roswell, N.M.; and Stephanie Otteson of Wilson, N.C.
“It’s believable and it means so much to me to have my LPGA status for next year,” said Hurst, 18, who finished on top of the Tour’s season money list with record single-season earnings of $93,107, and a rookie year that included four tournament wins. “Now I have my LPGA card. It’s something I’ve dreamed about since I was a little kid.”
Kim won three times this season and finished second on the Tour’s money list with earnings of $79,270. She finished second in today’s final round of the ILOVENY Championship.
“I had no pressure going into this week because I was second on the money list with some cushion, but I tried my best and I got some good results,” she said.
Kenyon started the week ranked 8th on the season money list, but her win at this week’s ILOVENY Championship and her $14,000 winner’s check vaulted her up the money list into the No. 3 spot with earnings of $48,637. That was good for one of the 2009 LPGA memberships.
“I knew a top three could possibly get me there, but a win was what I wanted today,” said Kenyon, who has non-exempt LPGA membership this season. “I feel like I’ve been holding my breath out here for a long time.”
Hur also was a rookie this season. She recorded eight top-10 finishes, including a win in April at the Louisiana Pelican Classic in Lafayette, La., and finished the season ranked fourth in earnings at $45,137.
“It’s not easy to be in the top five out here,” said Hur, 18, a member of the 2006 Korean National Team. “I knew that to be a rookie on this tour, I had to try extra hard. This is really exciting for me.”
Rounding out the top five with earnings of $42,368, was 2007 LPGA Tour member Pak. Pak lost her LPGA status and was forced to return to the Duramed FUTURES Tour, where she won her first professional title in 2005.
“I came back here and got a lot of good experience this year,” she said. “I’ll continue to work hard and hopefully, I’ll have a good year next year on the LPGA Tour.”
About the Duramed FUTURES Tour
Called “The Road To the LPGA and Beyond,” the Duramed FUTURES Tour has become the world’s largest international women’s developmental tour. In its 28th competitive season this year, the Tour has remained committed to developing LPGA stars of tomorrow and creating viable role models for youth today. Effective this year, the top-10 money winners each season earn automatic memberships for the LPGA Tour. With more than 300 alumnae as current members of the LPGA, through 2007, former Duramed FUTURES Tour players have won a total of 330 LPGA titles, including 35 major championships. Duramed FUTURES Tour events have contributed more than $4 million to charitable organizations throughout the nation since 1989. For more information, visit www.duramedfuturestour.com.
Contact: Lisa D. Mickey, Duramed FUTURES Tour,