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Grier earns Futures Tour card

November 12, 2006|by TIM KOELBLE

Hagerstown's Ashley Grier took the first of many steps she hopes will lead her to the pinnacle of women's golf by competing in the Futures Tour Q-School in Lakeland, Fla., from Tuesday through Friday.

Grier, 22, was one of 296 players who began the rugged 72-hole attempt at gaining exempt status on the Futures Tour, one of the major stepping stones to the LPGA Tour. Grier survived the test and finished in a tie for 60th place, good for a playing card for the Futures Tour. She posted a four-round total of 301, 13 over par.

"Some of the players will also be trying the LPGA Q-School in December, so that will make a difference on the level that I am exempt," said Grier, noting that exemptions for those who made the cut to the final day will range between full and partial.

The University of Central Florida graduate wasn't looking at a promising tournament. She was mired in 110th place after shooting 13-over 155 the first two days.

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"Teeing off the first day was the most nervous I've been," said Grier. "After the 80 on the second day I knew I had to come out and shoot 70 to make the cut."

Facing elimination at the 54-hole cut, Grier carved out a 1-under 71 on the Cleveland Heights Golf Course to jump up to a tie for 56th and the all-important spot in the final cut.

"I didn't come back down here (to Florida) to just play and have to turn around and come home," said Grier. "(The third round) was the most pressure I've had to respond to. I had to stay focused."

She sealed her round with birdies on 16 and 17 coming in.

Grier said she'll go through the process of turning professional as she spends the upcoming months playing some tournaments on the Hooters Winter Tour throughout Central Florida, gearing up for what she hopes is a successful run on the Futures Tour.

In-Kyung Kim, an 18-year-old amateur from Seoul, Korea, was the Q-school champion, shooting 7-under 281.

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