LPGA Q-School: Bobbi Stricker advances with father Steve Stricker on bag; Hailey Davidson’s bid to become first transgender golfer to earn LPGA card falls short

Former Wisconsin player Bobbi Stricker, daughter of Steve Stricker, was one of 106 players to advance to Stage II of LPGA Qualifying. Bobbi closed with a 69 on the Dinah Shore Tournament Course to finish in a tie for seventh at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California.

Steve Stricker, a 12-time winner on the PGA Tour and the winning captain for the U.S. squad at the 2021 Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, caddied for Bobbi, who didn’t begin playing competitive golf until after high school. Emily Lauterbach, a Wisconsin senior, also advanced to Stage II with a share of 25th.

Italian amateur Alessandra Fanali, who played collegiate golf at Arizona State, topped the field with back-to-back 69s over the weekend. Fanali, 23, finished at 14 under for the tournament, one stroke ahead of two more amateurs, Natthakritta Vongtaveelap (67) and Valery Plata (68).

“It feels good,” said Fanali, who didn’t have a caddie this week. “I still don’t really realize it, but it’s good. I’m so excited. This is what I’ve been waiting for since I was 12.”

The second stage of Q-School will be held Oct. 18-21 at Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice, Florida. From there, players will advance to Q-Series, a two-week contest in Mobile, Alabama, and Dothan, Alabama, where LPGA cards will be handed out.

At this week’s event in blistering Rancho Mirage, 311 hopefuls teed it up in carts on three different courses: Mission Hills Country Club (Dinah Shore and Palmer Courses) and Shadow Ridge.

The youngest player in the field, 16-year-old Holly Halim, finished in the top 100 as did Shuangshuang Fan (17) of China, Ting-Hsuan Huang (17) of Taipei, Yunxuan Zhan (17) of China and Bailey Shoemaker (17) of the United States.

Shoemaker, a rising high school senior and USC commit who recently advanced to the semifinals of the U.S. Women’s Amateur, finished T-67 to advance to the second stage of Q-School. Shoemaker said she has no plans to turn professional this year.

Hailey Davidson, 29, a transgender woman who first competed at Stage I last year, was among those who missed the cut after rounds of 70-76-73.

Davidson became the second transgender golfer to compete in the event after Bobbi Lancaster, a 63-year-old physician from Arizona who earned Epson Tour status in 2013, but ultimately spent her time traveling the country as a human rights advocate.

Davidson earned a scholarship to play on the men’s team at Wilmington University, an NCAA Division II school in Delaware, before transferring to the men’s team at Christopher Newport, an NCAA Division III school in Virginia.

Davidson began undergoing hormone treatments on Sept. 24, 2015, a date that’s tattooed on her right forearm, and in January 2021, underwent gender reassignment surgery, a six-hour procedure that’s required under the LPGA’s Gender Policy.

Players who completed 54 holes without a score of 88 or higher earned 2023 Epson Tour status.