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Leblanc, Lee-Bentham earn full-time LPGA Tour cards

Maude-Aimee LeBlanc

Graham Hughes

Two more Canadians will make their full-time LPGA debut in 2012.

Maude-Aimee Leblanc of Sherbrooke, Que., and Toronto's Rebecca Lee-Bentham finished in the top 20 in the fifth and final round of the Tour's qualifying tournament on Sunday to guarantee their 2012 cards.

Leblanc, a former standout at Purdue who made her LPGA debut at the CN Canadian Women's Open earlier this summer, carded a final round even par 72 to finish tied for seventh.

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Lee-Bentham, who won her first professional tournament last week at a Florida mini-tour event, had six birdies and a single bogey to climb 29 places on Sunday into a tie for ninth.

Stephanie Sherlock of Barrie, Ont., finished in a tie for 20th after a round of 74 but lost a nine-way playoff for the final Tour card. She is guaranteed of conditional status based on her top 40 showing and the fact she finished 101st on the money list this year.

Isabelle Beisiegel of St. Hilaire, Que., finished with a 72 to end up tied for 34th with Kirby Dreher of Fort St. John, B.C., who closed out with a final round 73. The pair will have non-exempt status on the Tour next year.

Lisa Meldrum (74) of Montreal finished tied for 51st, Sue Kim (75) of Langley, B.C., ended up tied for 64th while Samantha Richdale (78) of Kelowna, B.C., finished tied for 69th. They will have status on the developmental Futures Tour for next season.

Three other Canadians - Edmonton's Susan Nam, Ashley Sholer of Hamilton and Adrienne White of Red Deer, Alta., - all failed to make the cut on Saturday and will have limited status on the Futures Tour as well.

Junthima Gulyanamitta of Thailand, who played her collegiate golf at Purdue alongside Leblanc, captured medallist honours with a second straight round of 68 to win the tournament at 10-under par.

Christine Song finished second, two strokes back while Jennie Lee ended up third.

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UCLA senior Stephanie Kono finished tied for ninth and accepted her Tour card, meaning she will leave school early to turn professional next year. Kono had wanted to stay in school to finish up her final year next June and thought she needed to complete the third stage in order to attain Futures Tour status, which would allow her to keep her amateur status. However, the LPGA says it erred when it informed Kono that she needed to go through the final stage, which meant that if she earned full status she would not be able to defer it until after she graduated.

Danielle Kang, the two-time U.S. women's amateur champion who was making her first appearance at Q-school, finished with back-to-back 75s and tied for 39th, meaning she will have conditional status next season.

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