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Mariah Stackouse Earns LPGA Membership

Tiffany Fitzgerald  | Published on 12/4/2016
Mariah Stackhouse and Sadena Parks Earn LPGA Membership for 2017 Tour
Mariah Stackhouse just became the 8th African American woman to earn LPGA membership by completing the three stages of LGPA Qualifying School. Mariah joins trailblazers like Althea Gibson and Renee Powell who were the first and second African American woman to play on the LPGA Tour. These two were followed by LaRee Sugg, Shasta Averyhardt, Cheyenne Woods, Sadena Parks, and Ginger Howard.

Maria Shares how she prepared for Stage III of the Qualifying Tournament

We are looking forward to seeing some great golf from Mariah Stackhouse on her upcoming rookie year on LPGA Tour in 2017. To follow Mariah on Twitter @stackhouse_KPMG and on Instagram @MoStacksbirdies. Mariah Stackhouse is joining Sadena Parks on the 2017 LPGA Tour.

Although Sadena and Mariah  have the talent, it takes more than talent to rise to the level of play required to compete on the LPGA Tour. Professional golfers incur expenses that other professional athletes may have covered by sponsors. Expenses include tournament entry fees, equipment, range and course time, coaching, and travel & lodging. This can rise to the tens of thousands dollars over one season. Not to mention, if you aren't making the cut, you don't earn any money on the tour. Without sponsors, this can be a heavy financial burden. This financial burden is what keeps many from ever pursuing golf past high school or college.

What is Qualifying School

For the women who compete to earn a place on the LPGA Tour, Qualifying School is required. Q School, as it is commonly called, is a series of tournaments that have been held since 1973.

There are three stages of Q School

The first-stage(Stage I) qualifier is open to Symetra Tour members who are not ranked in the Top 120 on the tour's money list or inside the Top 300 in the women's world rankings. Stage I is also open to amateurs or professionals (who are not currently LPGA Tour members) ranked outside the Top 300 in the world rankings.

A minimum of the Top 60 players plus ties (exact number determined at time of qualifier) from Stage I advance to the Stage II qualifier. Others eligible for the second-stage qualifier include the Top 5 finishers on the Canadian Women's Tour's Order of Merit; LPGA Tour Class A members who have not competed in an official LPGA tournament in the previous three years; Symetra Tour members inside the Top 120 on the money list or who have higher-ranking exemption statuses (compared to Stage I-eligible golfers); and any other amateurs or professionals (who are not already LPGA Tour members) ranked inside the Top 300 in the world rankings.

The Top 80 plus ties in Stage II advance to Stage III, the final stage. Those who fail to advance out of the second stage receive Symetra Tour status, as do those who made the cut in Stage I. Stage III, the final-stage qualifier includes LPGA members seeking to improve their exemption status; plus the 10 highest-ranking Symetra Tour golfers from the year-end money list who did not automatically earn their LPGA cards via the money list and are not otherwise qualified for Stage III; plus the 70-plus Stage II qualifiers.

Typically the top 20 finishers in Stage III earn LPGA membership for the upcoming tour. The number of golfers who make the cut could change year-to-year based on number of eligible golfers.Golfers who don't make the cut receive Symetra Tour status.