ASU alumna Molinaro eyes LPGA tour berth

Just a couple years ago, ASU alumna golfer Giulia Molinaro was considered a long shot to make it on a professional tour.

In Molinaro’s junior season, she averaged 75 strokes per round, which isn’t bad, but is not at a professional level.

Then the transformation came.

In her senior season, Molinaro drastically reduced her per-round scoring average to 72.33. Now, just months after graduation, Molinaro has a decent chance to qualify for the LPGA tour.

After advancing through the first two stages of LPGA qualifying school, Molinaro just needs to finish in the top 20 overall in the final stage to qualify for the LPGA tour. Ties will be broken by a sudden-death playoff.

ASU women’s golf coach Melissa Luellen said that if there were an award for the most improved golfer, Molinaro would win it. Luellen added that the biggest difference between her in the past and her now is belief.

“It was always a matter of belief,” Luellen said. “The power of belief is what’s made her from a good player to a great player.”

Molinaro said she hasn’t done anything different in her preparation since her junior season, but the improved results indicate a different story.

In the first stage of qualifying school, Molinaro shot 3-under and tied for 14th. Then in the second stage, Molinaro was 6-under and finished tied for fourth.

The final stage consisting of five rounds will determine whether or not Molinaro qualifies for the LPGA tour. Most tournaments that Molinaro competed in while in college consisted of three rounds. The increase in rounds will test her mental and physical strength.

The process to qualify for the LPGA tour has been strenuous. First, the golfers must fill out applications and pay fees to compete in each stage of qualifying school.

If a golfer qualifies for the LPGA tour, the fee certainly becomes inconsequential. But the opportunity costs if one doesn’t make the cut can be severe, considering the time allotted to making the cut.

After filling out the application and paying the fee, golfers must advance through three stages of qualification that spans through most of the fall.

Stage one took place Sept. 4 through 7, and stage two occurred Oct. 9 through 12.  The final stage takes place from Nov. 28 through Dec. 2 at the LPGA International golf course in Daytona Beach, Fla.

It is a lot of pressure on Molinaro, but she has played through many high-stakes tournaments before, such as the NCAAs and the World Amateurs, to help prepare her for the biggest one of her career thus far.

 

Reach the reporter at justin.janssen@asu.edu