As the Epson Tour sets to begin its 2023 season this week in Winter Haven, Florida, it’s a good time to look back on some the great champions who have earned their LPGA cards through the official qualifying tour.
Just last Sunday, Epson Tour alumna Lilia Vu broke through with her first victory at the Honda LPGA Thailand. The former UCLA standout won three times in 2021 to earn her LPGA card.
A total of 172 players have graduated from the Epson Tour since 1999. From 1999 to 2002, a total of three cards were handed out each season. That jumped to five in 2003 and beginning in 2008, that number increased to 10, which is where it currently stands.
Here are 15 players who graduated from the Epson Tour and found success on some of the biggest stages in golf:
LPGA Hall of Famer Inbee Park initially appealed to go straight to the LPGA at age 17 but was denied. She enrolled at UNLV for a hot second but ultimately turned pro and joined what’s now known as the Epson Tour after the age limit was lowered to 17. She finished third on the money list to earn her card and two years later won the first of seven career majors.
Lorena Ochoa never missed a beat when she transitioned from a stellar career at the University of Arizona to the pro ranks. The Mexican star left college after two years and won three of 10 starts in the 2002 Futures Tour season, topping the money list and earning Player of the Year honors in the process. She’s now in the LPGA and World Golf Halls of Fame.
Nelly Korda transitioned from junior golf straight to the pros, joining the Epson Tour in 2016 at age 17. She won her first professional title at the Sioux Falls Greatlife Challenge and finished ninth on the tour’s money list at season’s end to earn her card. She’s now a major winner and former No. 1.
Grace Park topped the money list in 1999, becoming part of the first graduating class to the…
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