NO. 13 POPOV GOES LOW EARLY IN DAY
Sophia Popov (Heidelberg, Germany) made three birdies over her first six holes and posted a 4-under, 68 early in the day.
“I made a couple longer putts on the front nine,” said Popov, who made three 20-footers on the day. “The good putting came on the front nine and the back was about ball striking, which was better, but I just didn’t make any putts.”
Popov said it was important to get a low round on the board with wind speeds expected to increase over the weekend.
“I feel like today wasn’t as windy as it could be,” said Popov. “The weekend is supposed to be the gusty days so you definitely want to get a head start.”
Popov’s game plan was to keep the driver in the bag and use the 3-wood to hit the tighter fairways.
“I feel like driver brings out a lot of trouble on this course so I usually just keep it in the bag,” explained Popov. “I learned last year that I need to stay below the holes.”
YADLOCZKY MAKES BACK-TO-BACK HOLE-OUT EAGLESCarlie Yadloczky did something she has never done in her golf career. She made hole-out eagles on back-to-back holes. It was the first time in her career that she made eagle on consecutive holes.
“On one, I had 60 yards into the wind and it bounced once and disappeared and I asked Lucy (Luciane Lee) if it went in and she said ‘yeah’ so I celebrated,” said Yadloczky. “When I hit the second one, I thought ‘this looks freaking good’ and then it bounced once and disappeared and I thought it went over and Lucy said that it went in and I was like ‘no way’. I almost put the ball away after the first one.”
She started on the back nine and made the turn to one and holed-out on the par-5 first from 60 yards with a 60-degree wedge. On the next hole, she holed-out from 80-yards with a 56-degree wedge. The pair of eagles vaulted her into the lead at 5-under. She made birdie on hole five to move into the outright lead, but made bogey on eight to fall back to a share. She made a 12-footer for par on the last hole to close strong.
“I was hitting the ball really well today,” said Yadloczky, whose best finish is a tie for 25th at the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship. “The wind made it a little harder coming down the stretch, but I was putting decent and chipping really well.”
Yadloczky currently ranks No. 124 on the money list. Her major goal is to try and move up into the top 30 to skip Stage II of LPGA Qualifying School.
“I obviously want to win some,” said Yadloczky when asked about her goals for the remainder of the season. “I really would love to just advance to Final Stage because right now I have to go to Stage II. That is my main goal right now.”
EMILY CHILDS STARTS STRONG AGAINEmily Childs (Alameda, Calif.) started with a 68 last week at the Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge and finished in a tie for 8th, her third top 10 of the season. This week, Childs opened with a 4-under, 68 to stand in a tie for third.
“I was playing really solid golf, hitting fairways and greens,” said Childs, who made five birdies on the day. “I was working on my speeds on the green and going for pars, but birdies came. It was a fun round.”
Childs faded a bit on the final day in Sioux Falls with a 77 so she hopes for two more steady rounds.
“I tried to make a run for it (win) last week and it didn’t turn out well so I think I’m just going to stick to my game plan and if it happens to produce a good finish, that would be awesome,” said Childs. “Moving up on the money list is an outcome goal in the back of my head, but you get there by working on one hole at a time and one shot at a time.”
Childs currently ranks 29th on the money list.
OLIVIA JORDAN-HIGGINS POSTS 68 WITH BACK ON MENDOlivia Jordan-Higgins (Jersey, UK) missed four months this season with two bulging discs in her back. She won the first tournament of the season in early March and appeared on her way to a big season.
She didn’t play again until early June in Albany, but had to withdraw after one round due to continued pain. She missed another seven tournaments before returning in early August at the PHC Classic.
The Garden City Charity Classic is only her fifth event of the season. She carded a 4-under, 68, her first under-par round since the season-opening event.
“I had a chip in on seven and made a few good saves when I needed to,” said Jordan-Higgins. “The conditions are not easy so you have to stay a little patient and take the birdies when they come.”
Jordan-Higgins is still dealing with pain and some nerve issues that run from her lower back down her left leg.
“It has been a long year, but I don’t feel a ton different than Winter Haven (first event), but I have to take it easy,” explained Jordan-Higgins. “I have to stay confident and keep believing in myself that I still have a chance at this.”
Despite missing most of the year, Jordan-Higgins ranks 34th on the Volvik Race for the Card money list and could move as high as 12th on the money list with a win.
“It has been tough physically and to be back out here gives me a new perspective on this,” said Jordan-Higgins. “I appreciate being back out here so much. It’s fun to play a good round.”
Jordan-Higgins has three career Symetra Tour wins, but hasn’t yet advanced to the LPGA.
“I have a dream to achieve so I have to put these things aside (injury),” said Jordan-Higgins, who elected not to have surgery. “It has been frustrating because it has taken a lot longer than I expected to recover, but it can happen to anyone at anytime so you have to just keep doing what you need to. I just need to stay healthy.”