MANILA, Philippines - Mia Piccio of University of Florida rallied with a three-under 69 and finished joint 18th in Stage I of this year’s LPGA Qualifying tournament topped by Thai ace Moriya Jutanugard at the Champions Course at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Florida recently.
Piccio, the US-based mainstay of the ICTSI-The Country Club squad, bucked a shaky first round stint of two-over 74 as she settled down with 72 and 71 in the next two days before closing out with that three-under card for a 286 total to safely make it to the next leg of the grueling three-stage qualifier.
“She’s doing fine. She had a tough time in the early going but recovered just in time,” said ICTSI coach Bong Lopez. “I hope her solid finish will further boost her confidence heading to the second stage of the elims.”
Piccio, winner of the Women’s Trans National crown in 2010, is hoping to become the next Filipina to play on the lucrative LPGA circuit after Jennifer Rosales and Fil-Am Dorothy Delasin.
Jutanugard sizzled with rounds of 69-66-68-70 to top the first stage with a 273, nipping Garrett Philips (70-274) by one while three players, including Marta Silva (67), Brooke Pancake (71) and Jaye Marie Green (73) finished tied for third at 278.
Meanwhile, Stage 2 will start Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) with Piccio bunched in the seventh group that includes Sue Kim of British Columbia and Kitty Hwang of Ecuador at the Bobcat Course of the Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice, Florida.
The top 70 plus ties will advance to the final Qualifying Tournament slated over 90 holes from Nov. 28 to Dec. 2 at the Champions and Legends courses in Daytona Beach, Florida.