Taylor Totland of Hollywood, winner of the 2014 and 2015 NJSGA Women’s Amateur and runner-up this past summer, is one stage away from earning an LPGA Tour card.

Last month she tied for fourth in Stage II of the Symetra Tour and LPGA Qualifying School at the Plantation Golf Country Club in Venice, Florida, and earned full status on the Symetra Tour.

Next up is Stage III, Nov. 28-Dec. 4, at LPGA International, in Daytona Beach, Fla. She had placed T-18 in Stage I of Q-School.

“Originally, I had no intention of going to third stage because I thought you had to declare professional in order to play, which I found out was not the case,” stated Totland, who lives in Tinton Falls. “So going into second stage I really had no expectations, which I think led to me playing well.

“I was just going there trying to get the best Symetra Tour status I could get and ended placing T-4 which has made going to third stage very tempting.”

Finishing in the Top 20 at Stage III receives full status on the LPGA Tour and placing 21-40 earns partial LPGA status.

“I probably will go to third stage, play the best I can and in the end see where I stand,” said Totland, who has one season left as a senior standout at Furman University.

If she does well at Stage III, she would have to accept LPGA Tour status immediately, if she wishes, and forego her senior season at Furman. She already has full status for the Symetra Tour, which she can join following the Furman season.

Last spring, Totland finished 20th at the NCAA championships and was named honorable mention All-American for the third straight year. As a sophomore, she was Southern Conference Player of the Yer and Furman Female Athlete of the Year.

In 2012, the Red Bank Catholic graduate was New Jersey Girls Player of the Year and claimed the state title at the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions. That year, representing Colts Neck Golf Club, she won the NJSGA Tournament of Club Champions.

She has played in four U.S. Amateurs and three times advanced into match play.

Totland played a practice round earlier this fall at her home course (Hollywood Golf Club) with LPGA Hall of Famer Betsy King. King urged Totland to go through the Symetra and LPGA Qualifying School now to try and earn status.

“Betsy told me that it is better to go through it now so I can play as a pro right after I graduate,” said Totland. “I really want to finish my career at Furman.”

In 2017, a new qualifying series may be implemented that eliminates Qualifying School and makes it more difficult for college players like Totland to quickly earn an LPGA tour card.

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan is working to build a better way to assign priority status to incoming tour members and believes this new series will create a fairer measurement of who deserves higher priority rankings. He also believes the new qualifying system will better serve the collegiate game as it feeds his tour.

Also, Whan believes a Qualifying Series will elevate the importance of the Symetra Tour as a season-long proving ground for future LPGA pros.

The new system appears to make it a longer road to qualify for the LPGA, but there will be room built in where players can still make a straight jump in late fall from the amateur ranks to the LPGA.

First, Whan is looking at the possibility of setting up Symetra Tour Q School so a player who finishes first, second or third there becomes immediately eligible for the Qualifying Series that shortly follows. This would allow a player to advance through the Symetra Tour Q-School and the LPGA Qualifying Series in the same fall season.

Also, amateurs who achieve a high world ranking (among the top 100 or so, that’s TBD) would be eligible to go straight to the Qualifying Series.

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