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Piccio, Ardina advance

Mia Piccio and Dottie Ardina floundered with over par cards but breezed through the second stage of the 2013 LPGA Qualifying tournament just the same as they finished third and joint 24th respectively at the close of Stage I elims at the Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, California Friday.

Piccio, who moved into contention for low medal honors with a seven-under 65 at Palmer course Thursday, struggled at the tougher Dinah Shore layout, carding a two-over 74 to settle for third with a 280 aggregate.

Belgium’s Laura Gonzalez Escallon, an amateur, matched par 72, also at Dinah Shore, to gain top honors with a 276, beating Cheyenne Woods by three. Woods shot a second 69 and wound up with a 279.

Despite her failed bid for low medal honors, Piccio’s eight-under total in four days spoke well of the University of Florida’s product and ICTSI-backed bet’s form heading to the next phase of the grueling three-stage elims leading to a coveted LPGA card next year.

Ardina, who bounced back from an awful opening of 76 with solid 69 and 71, also wavered with a three-over 75 but safely made it to the next stage with a 291 for a share of 24th place with seven others.

The top 100 players and ties from a starting field of 242 thus moved to the next phase at the Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice, Florida on Oct. 8-11. The top 80 and ties from Stage II will advance to the Final Qualifying Tournament.

Stage III of LPGA Q-School will be contested over 90 holes from Dec. 4-8 at the LPGA International in Daytona Beach, also in Florida with the top finishers in the final stage earning 2014 LPGA membership and all others who make the cut will get Symetra Tour status.