If any doubt persisted that 21-year-old Jennifer Kupcho, currently ranked as the No. 1 amateur in the world, was ready for the LPGA Tour, the Westminster native erased it during the LPGA Marathon Classic July 12-15.
The rising Wake Forest University senior, who qualified for the event by virtue of her victory in May’s NCAA Division I Championship, shot a 9-under-par 275 at Highland Meadows Golf Club outside Toledo, Ohio, to finish tied for 16th, five shots behind Thailand’s Thidapa Suwannapura, who won in a playoff with Brittany Lincicome.
On the strength of a third-round 66, Kupcho had entered the final round tied for fifth. A finish in that position could have earned her a spot in the Ricoh Women’s British Open, held August 2-5 at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club, England.
In her final round in Ohio, she hit all but four fairways with drives that averaged nearly 10 yards longer than those in the first three rounds, and she also hit 15 greens in regulation.
But she putted 32 times, going 1-under on the front nine and offsetting two bogeys with two birdies—including one on the par-5 18th—on the back.
She closed with a one-under-par 70, finishing all four rounds at par or better.
The three professionals with whom she finished tied in 16th place—Nanna Koerstz Madsen, P.K. Kongkraphan and Caroline Inglis—each earned $21,302. Among the notables ahead of whom she finished were Stacy Lewis, Lexi Thompson, Charley Hull and Christina Kim.
Kupcho’s next stop is Vancouver, British Columbia, where she’ll defend her championship in the Canadian Women’s Amateur Championship at Marine Drive Golf Club July 24 – 27.
A member of the victorious Curtis Cup and Arnold Palmer Cup teams earlier this summer, Kupcho has received an exemption into the final stage of the new LPGA Q-Series, bypassing the first two stages held in California and Florida. The eight-round, two-tournament finals, held at Pinehurst Oct. 22-Nov. 3.
Should she secure LPGA status, Kupcho plans to defer until she wraps up her final year at Wake Forest.