Alberni Valley golfer Christina Proteau has made it through the first round of qualifying school for the LPGA.
Proteau finished 29th out of 150 golfers at the Champions Course at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla. last month. The top 50 players head to the next stage.
This is the first year for a new format for Q-School. There are three stages: the first is for golfers who have no membership on pro tours and who are not ranked in the Top 100; the second is for members of non-LPGA tours and the third is the final stage for everyone.
The next stage takes place Sept. 27-30 at Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice, Fla. It will be another 72-hole tournament and there will be 216 players, with the top 70 moving on to the final round.
“It was good,” Proteau said of her performance in the first stage. She shot rounds of 72-72-71-74 on a par-72 course, so she was one over par for the week.
“The week before I won the Canadian Mid-Amateur but didn’t have as strong a showing as I wanted to in the amateur (in Duncan),” she said.
“Once I got down there [Florida] it was nice to get away and clear my head.”
She was comfortable on the course, playing with non-status professionals and golfers right out of Div. 1 NCAA colleges.
At 28, she was also one of the older players at Q-School.
“I even had a girl on the first tee box ask me, ‘so how old are you?’,” Proteau said. “She was obviously a little surprised.”
Proteau could have attended Q-School when she left college too, but decided to pursue a career in law, first. As a member of Crown Counsel in Port Alberni, she has turned her attention back to the golf course.
“Twenty-eight is not old at all,” she said. “My story doesn’t fit the mould. I feel those were good decisions and I’m glad I made them,” she said.
Proteau was partnered for the first two days with Alexis Thompson, a 16-year-old golfing sensation from Florida. Thompson won the primary stage with 23 under par in the 72-hole event, 10 strokes ahead of her nearest competitor, Mitsuki Katahira.
“I knew she was the most notable player in Q-School and I got paired up with her,” Proteau said.
Proteau also beat Thompson’s score at the US Women’s Open last month.
“That was pretty cool to play with her.”
Despite trying out for the pro tour, Proteau will keep her amateur status for now. She doesn’t have to give it up while going through Q-School qualifying.
“I haven’t made a decision to turn pro yet,” she said.