Kempter Retains Futures Status 0 4

Here’s an update on Katie Kempter, following her Stage II LPGA Tour Qualifying School T102 finish in Venice, Fla.:

“My finish at the second stage will have no bearing on my status for Futures Tour in 2012. Since I finished inside the top 90 on the money list, I will have full status for the Futures Tour.

“As far as the LPGA Tour is concerned, I won’t have any status since I didn’t advance to the final stage. However, I will still have to option to Monday-qualify in any full-field event in 2012 and I plan to when it’s feasible.

“As for the rest of this year, I’m taking the entire month of October off from competition and will play two events in November in Daytona Beach (through the Suncoast Tour) and play the Hawaii State Open in December.

“I’m moving to Jupiter, Fla., next Friday for the foreseeable future, probably until the start of the Futures Tour in the middle of March. Yes, Albuquerque is still home in my eyes! I’ll be playing some events on the Suncoast Tour starting in mid-January and through the first week in March.”

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Sierra Del Rio to Shutter for Two Months 0 30

Sierra del Rio Golf Course

Sierra Del Rio Golf Course, which restricted play in December to Thursday through Sunday only, will close for two months after the New Year.

The temporary closure of the 18-hole Elephant Butte golf course was announced in an email Sunday. The golf course’s food and beverage operation, also will close. Plans are to reopen on March 1, the course said.

“The course is in reasonably good condition but we want it to be in the best shape possible when we reopen,” a golf shop employee said Sunday. Maintenance crews will devote the downtime to earth and drainage work to repair damage to native areas off the playing surfaces caused by heavy rains in September, the employee said.

Sierra Del Rio, a Richard Phelps design, is the centerpiece of a retirement- and second-home community near the Rio Grande in Southern New Mexico. Its director of golf is Guy Wimberly, who retired to Elephant Butte after decades running Arroyo Del Oso Golf Course in Albuquerque. Wimberly had no comment on the closure on Sunday.

Sierra Del Rio reduced playing days earlier this month. Winter is typically playable in Southern New Mexico, where daily highs reach into the 50s and 60s.

Sierra Del Rio is part of the Turtleback Mountain Resort. It opened in 2007 on the footprint of the old Oasis Golf Resort and is the nearest golf course to Spaceport America, where Virgin Galactic plans to fly tourists to the edge of space.

The renovated course and new homes built near it provided a boost to the local economy, but homebuilding and rounds played suffered following the 2008 housing collapse.

Dan Vukelich is editor of NewMexicoGolfNews.com. Reach him at dan@newmexicogolfnews.com.