Daytona Beach, FL (Sports Network) - Moriya Jutanugarn and Rebecca Lee-
Bentham finished tied atop the leaderboard on Sunday at the LPGA Final
Jutanugarn entered the fifth and final round ahead by six strokes before
stumbling to a 74. Lee-Bentham took advantage with a 67 and both players ended
at 13-under 347 -- one stroke ahead of Ayako Uehara, who shot 69.
The top 40 finishers (including ties) at this high-stakes event earned their
LPGA Tour cards for 2013. The top 20 players received Priority in Category 12
(exempt status), while the 21st-45th finishers earned Priority in Category 17.
Kathleen Ekey, the 2011 Symetra Tour Player of the Year, carded a 65 and ended
alone in fourth place at 10-under, world No. 19 Chie Arimura (70) and Lisa
McCloskey (71) tied for fifth at 8-under and Felicity Johnson (70) took
seventh at minus-7.
Two-time LPGA Tour winner Laura Diaz (72) and Karlin Beck (70) tied for eighth
place at 6-under and Stephanie Sherlock (74) placed 10th at 5-under, while
amateur Marina Stuetz (71), Honda Award winner Brooke Pancake (70), 2011 NCAA
individual champion Austin Ernst (70), Caroline Masson (71), Kayla Mortellaro
(67) and Kim Welch (68) tied for 11th at minus-4.
Seven golfers -- Kelly Jacques, Irene Cho, Jiayun Li, Nicole Jeray, Taylore
Karle, amateur Breanna Elliott and Lauren Doughtie -- tied for 17th,
necessitating a playoff for the final four Category 12 spots.
Cho, Jeray, Karle and Doughtie earned their Category 12 positions in the
Two-time LPGA Tour winner Christina Kim stumbled to a 74 on Sunday and ended
at 1-over -- good for a 39th-place tied and Category 17 status.
Also finishing in the top 40 were Second Stage Qualifying medalist Katie
Burnett as well as amateurs Marita Engzelius and Perrine Delacour.
After rotating the first four rounds on the Champions and Legends Courses at
LPGA International, the final round was contested on the Champions Course.
The 18-year-old Jutanugarn had been cruising through the early stages of the
tournament. She held a 6-stroke lead after both the third and fourth rounds,
but failed to record a birdie on Sunday, while picking up a pair of bogeys.
Lee-Bentham, meanwhile, started the day seven strokes off the pace and
methodically worked her way into contention.
Playing in the same group as Jutanugarn, the Canadian picked up a shot during
her front nine, then tallied consecutive birdies starting at No. 12. That
feat, coupled with a bogeys on Nos. 10 and 12 by Jutanugarn, had Lee-Bentham
two shots back.
A birdie on the par-4 16th narrowed the gap to a single shot, and Lee-
Bentham capped her improbable march to the top with another birdie on the
NOTES: Former U.S. Women's Open champion Birdie Kim failed to the cut on
Saturday ... She carded rounds 76, 78, 72 and 69 and finished at plus-7, which
was one above the cut line ... LET member and European Solheim Cup Team member
Mel Reid also failed to qualify for the final round, ending at 9-over ...
Australian Kristie Smith withdrew from the tournament.
The Sports Network