EL DORADO, ARKANSAS, October 1, 2016 - Madelene Sagstrom (Enkoping, Sweden) has a chance to put an exclamation point on the single greatest season in the history of the Symetra Tour. She posted a 4-under, 68 on Saturday at Mystic Creek to move into the 36-hole lead at 7-under, 137. Sagstrom, who leads the Volvik Race for the Card money list, will go for her third win and 12th top 10 finish on Sunday.
Three-time Tour winner Marissa Steen (West Chester, Ohio) is in second at 5-under, 139 while former Razorback Emily Tubert (Burbank, Calif.) is in third at 4-under, 140.
The final-round will begin at 8:00 a.m. and a split-tee start will be used. The final group of Sagstrom, Steen and Tubert will tee at 9:50 a.m.
Sagstrom, who has earned $141,184, came out firing on all cylinders on Saturday with five birdies and no bogeys on the front nine to turn with a three shot lead.
“I hit it pretty solid and gave myself a lot of chances,” said Sagstrom. “I was really rolling it good all day.”
Sagstrom needed 28 putts on the day.
Sagstrom made birdie on 12 to move to 9-under and at that point she had a four shot lead on the field. She stumbled with a bogey and a double-bogey on the next two holes to come back to the field.
“On 13, I had to chip out of the woods, which was not good,” said Sagstrom. “On the next hole, it was a little communication error and I had to chip-chip and then two-putt, which is never fun. I had a little talk with myself when I went to the bathroom and I didn’t beat myself up too much.”
Sagstrom kept her cool and made a birdie on 17 to get back to 7-under.
Sagstrom won the Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial and the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic. Although she has virtually wrapped up a Tour card for 2017, Sagstrom still wants to finish strong.
“I would love to finish on top and play really well this tournament and my final one,” said Sagstrom. “I want to finish feeling really prepared for next year by playing my best golf and I feel like I am getting there.”
Sagstrom has preached all year about sticking to her game plan and not reacting differently to good shots and bad shots. She said those two will be key on Sunday.
“I have a few side goals this week that I want to accomplish because those are contributing to my success,” said Sagstrom, who tries to avoid getting mad when she hits a bad shot. “I’m not going to focus on where the ball goes or what the score is going to be. If I focus on those things, I think I have a good chance for sure.”
The 23-year-old won three times as a senior at LSU and was the SEC Player of the Year in 2015.
STEEN IN HUNT AFTER VISIT TO HER COLLEGE: Marissa Steen (West Chester, Ohio) left her home a day early last weekend to pay a visit to her former college, Memphis, to speak to the current women’s golf team. Steen still keeps in touch with her college coach, Beth Walthal Harrelson, and she has been trying to find time to visit the team.
“It was great to go back and talk to the current team,” said Steen. “It is good to give the knowledge that I now have and let them know how I feel like they can improve their game. It also makes me practice what I preach. It’s a good reminder of the little things. My coach texted me on Thursday and said the girls really loved having me and she said to now go heed your own advice and play well.”
That is exactly what Steen has done. She had a stretch of five straight birdies from the end of her first nine wrapping around to her back nine.
“I made a 15-foot slider on 17 and that green is really narrow so I was happy to have a good look at birdie,” said Steen. “On two and three, I hit them to two feet so it was just really nice to go on a run.”
Steen currently ranks sixth on the Volvik Race for the Card money list so a win or high finish would be big in trying to secure a card.
“It (a win) would be huge, but I’m not focusing on that,” said Steen. “I just want to come out and hit really good golf shots. I don’t really do good when I think about outcomes.”
TUBERT IN THE FINAL GROUP AND EXCITED: Emily Tubert hit two great shots into the par-5 18th hole and had a 20-foot putt for eagle to move to 6-under. Unfortunately, she 3-putted for par.
“I knew the first putt was going fast and there was adrenaline going,” said Tubert. “Then, the second putt was all nerves. I haven’t had a three-putt all week and my putting had been solid. I have been making everything. I hated to do it in front of the crowd, you always want to give the people what they want.”
The crowd in the 18th VIP tent still serenaded Tubert with the “Hog Call” after her group finished.
The three-time All-American at Arkansas still carded an even-par 72 on Saturday.
“I was two over through three and I shanked one on the first hole and I was really proud with how I fought back,” said Tubert. “I made back-to-back birdies on five and six to turn in even. It was birdie-bogey-birdie-bogey all day.”
Tubert will go for her first career win on Sunday.
“It was a frustrating round, but also exciting and encouraging at the same time,” said Tubert. “I’m in a position to win a championship and that is all you can ask for.”
AUGUSTA JAMES FEELS FRESHER INTO FINAL STRETCH: Augusta James (Bath, Ontario) posted her second straight steady round at Mystic Creek to stand at 2-under, 142. James has made three birdies and two bogeys each day.
“Solid first two days, but definitely a few shots left out there which is good looking forward to Sunday,” said James. “Lots of two putts - even on the undulating greens - when I don’t leave myself in good spots so that has been good.”
James narrowly missed her LPGA Tour card last year, finishing 12th on the money list, and said the lesson she learned heading into the final stretch this year was solved during the offseason.
“Nutrition and physical fitness have been better so I feel so much better now,” said James. “I’m not as tired where last year I was dead at this point of the season.”