Ridderström, Kim share lead after first round
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — A frigid morning gave way to a warm afternoon at the Country Club of Winter Haven, as Louise Ridderström (Stocksund, Sweden) and Hyemin Kim (Seoul, Republic of Korea) share the lead after round one of the 10th annual Florida’s Natural Charity Classic.
The two are tied at 5-under par and each went about the same way to shooting 67—two bogeys and seven birdies.
“It feels very good. I’m happy that some practice paid off,” said Ridderström. “I felt like the things that I’ve been working on really hard this off-season were actually working out there. It’s nice to see that in a competitive mindset, it paid off.”
For Kim, the day started rough, but she overcame the adversity and ended better because of it.
“My first hole at No. 10, my second shot went into the bunker and plugged. It was a struggle, but I made a good up and down from there,” Kim said. “Then I feel way more comfortable to be on the course and I don’t really nervous when I’m going somewhere that’s really wrong spot.”
Even under the difficult circumstances, Kim still made par on No. 10. If anything, the beginning to the round helped ease any nerves and let her play more free.
“That’s what I feel like. Sometimes I even hit the perfect shot when it’s not going well,” said Kim. “I don’t get discouraged at all, but sometimes when the missed shot go into good situation, then give me a lot of confidence. It’s like golf.”
Out of the 132-player field, 22 find themselves in the red after day one. With 28 countries represented at the first event for the official qualifying tour of the LPGA, Sweden is second only to the United States when it comes to the number of individuals competing.
As the pacesetter for not only the field, but also her Swedish peers, Ridderström hopes to build off the momentum gained today.
“It was very calm this morning so we’ll see how that affects things, but I’m looking forward to it,” Ridderström said. “It’s going to be a little bit windier tomorrow. I’m just going to do the things that I did today and see if that works. If it doesn’t, then I’ll have to think about it again.”
Second round action gets underway at 8:15 a.m. with players going off both No. 1 and No. 10 tees. Following the completion of round two, a cut will be made to the low 60 players and ties.
IACOBELLI AVOIDS PROCRASTINATING, NEAR TOP OF LEADERBOARD
As she walked out of the scoring tent at No. 18 today, Daniela Iacobelli (Melbourne, Florida) signed an autograph for her group’s volunteer scorekeeper, then laughed at a comment about her getting off to a fast start.
“I’m a procrastinator, I always have been,” said Iacobelli. “My mom always gets on me. She’s like, ‘If you would just start the tournament like you do on Sunday.’ I tried to remember that a little bit today. Just get it going early and alleviate some of the pressure of trying to play catch-up all the time. I guess it takes nine years of being out here to learn something.”
Iacobelli carded two birdies and a double bogey on the front nine to shoot even par. It started to look as though her mom’s advice might go unused.
Then she made the turn and fired 3-under par to end the day with a mark of 69.
“It seems like the pins were a little more accessible on the back,” Iacobelli said. “You had some pretty legit Sunday pins on the front. There was a lot more room to position yourself on the greens. Sometimes it just takes me nine to warm-up, so usually good for the back nine.”
Heading into the weekend, the forecast calls for an increase in temperatures and perhaps slightly in wind. Nonetheless, the gameplan will go unchanged.
“Same thing, nothing different,” said Iacobelli. “The way the wind is blowing, it’s not necessarily a course that I can take advantage of par 5s, which is my strong game. I really have to play a lot of position golf.”
Louise Ridderstrom's Round 1 Interview
Hyemin Kim Interview