Dec. 8, 2009
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Former Purdue women's golfer and 2009 NCAA individual champion Maria Hernandez earned an opportunity to compete on the LPGA Tour this season after finishing tied for fifth in the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament in Daytona Beach, Fla. Hernandez carded scores of 73-70-70-72-70 to finish with a cumulative total of 355 (-5). The tournament was played on the LPGA International Legends and Champions Courses.
Hernandez has been serving as a part-time assistant coach for the Boilermakers after graduating with a bachelor's degree in management in May.
With the fifth-place finish, Hernandez will receive priority status in category 11, which is reserved for the top twenty finishers at Q-School. These qualifiers will alternate with players 81-100 on the 2009 LPGA money list. What this means is that fans can expect to see Hernandez competing on the LPGA tour this spring and summer.
Hernandez was not the only former collegiate star to play well in the tournament. Amanda Blumenherst won the tournament with a nine-under par 351. Blumenherst was a three-time NCAA Player of the Year at Duke. Katie Kempter and Marianne Skarpnord of Norway finished tied for second with cumulative scores of 353 (-7). Kempter, who played at the University of Denver, became the first player from that program to earn a spot on the LPGA tour.
Hernandez racked up the awards in her senior season at Purdue. The Pamplona, Spain, native earned the Honda Sports Award as the top collegiate women's golfer, the PING/NGCA National Player of the Year award and the Big Ten Suzy Favor Female Athlete of the Year Award. After winning a second-consecutive Big Ten Championships individual and team title, Hernandez was awarded the Big Ten Player of the Year and the Mary Fossum Award for the third-straight season. She was tabbed first team All-Big Ten for the fourth year and first team All-American for the third time.
Hernandez does have some LPGA experience. This summer, she competed in the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic and the U.S. Women's Open where she finished tied for 34th with a score of 295 (+11).