ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA, May 17, 2014 – Marissa Steen tied the low round of the tournament with a five-under-par 67 to take a two shot lead into the final round of the Friends of Mission Charity Classic presented by Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort. Steen is 5-under-par 139 through two rounds.
The cut was made at 5-over-par 149 and 70 players will play on Sunday.
“I’d say pretty much everything was working out there,” Steen said of her play. “I hit a lot of greens and made a lot of clutch par putts, some really good saves. It was my goal to have a steady round and make a couple of birdies. Obviously bogey free is always a great day out there so I’m really happy about it.”
Steen, who currently sits in second on the Volvik Race for the Card money list, will look to become the first multiple-event winner on Tour this season as she captured the Guardian Retirement Championship at Sara Bay in Sarasota earlier this year by defeating Cindy Feng with a birdie on the fifth playoff hole. Steen would also take over the top spot on the Volvik Race for the Card money list with a win unless Cindy Feng finishes in the top-5. Feng is currently T45 at 4-over-par.
“I think the feeling of being there and knowing that I’ve gotten it done before will help me going into the final round,” Steen explained. “It feels really good to be in contention. I love that feeling. I’m a competitor and obviously everyone out here likes to win so I’m just thrilled and just want to have another solid day tomorrow.”
Steen made the turn at one-under, but got it going on the back nine making four birdies including a 15-footer on the 18th to close out her day. The University of Memphis graduate was on point with her ball striking hitting every fairway and 16 of 18 greens on the day.
Asked of her approach going into the final round tomorrow Steen calmly said, “I’m not going to put pressure on myself or try to shoot a particular number. I just want to go out and hit fairways and greens and then good things will happen.”
Desiree Dubreuil, Casey Grice and Jackie Stoelting are two shots back at three-under for the tournament, while Hye-Min Kim and Wei-Ling Hsu are three strokes behind at two-under.
WEI-LING HSU IN CONTENTION FOR $1 MILLION: Wei-Ling Hsu won the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic and is therefore eligible to win the $1 million Park Sterling Cup.
Hsu fired her second-consecutive 1-under-par 71 to sit at two-under for the tournament and is in a tie for fifth, a mere three-shots back.
“It’s really tough,” Hsu admitted. “This is my second year and I’ve never seen a player win three tournaments in a row. There are 144 players each week who all play very well. I’m just going to do my best and not think about that.”
The Park Sterling Cup promotion awards a Symetra Tour player $1 million if she wins all three events in the Carolinas.
Hsu needs to win the Friends of Mission Charity Classic and the Symetra Classic next week in Charlotte.
STOELTING STAYS IN THE HUNT: Big Break Florida finalist Jackie Stoelting was able to stay in the hunt after her second round.
“Today I didn’t play quite as well as yesterday,” Stoelting admitted. “I played ok but I didn’t make a lot of putts. I hit some good shots but nothing would fall. I had a lot of good opportunities coming in but I kept lipping out and then the last two holes I bogeyed so it’s a little tough ending on that but usually I play better when I’m behind so maybe it’ll be good heading into tomorrow.”
Despite shooting a two-over 74, Stoelting sits at three-under for the tournament, two shots back of Marissa Steen’s lead.
“Yesterday I made everything and today I couldn’t make anything. So, tomorrow I will definitely feel like putts will drop.”
Stoelting has two top-10 finishes already this year including a tie for second at the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic.
GRICE PLAYING WELL IN TAR HEEL COUNTRY: Casey Grice will tee off in the final group tomorrow after firing a one-under 71 to back up a first round 70 and is currently at three-under for the tournament.
“Everything went pretty well,” Grice said. “I hit 13 out of 14 fairways so the tee shots were good. I hit a lot of greens. I hit the ball well and I made a couple of really long putts so if you have that combination it’s pretty good. It was just a solid day overall.”
Grice is coming off her best performance of her young career at the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic where she tied for eighth.
“I really enjoy playing three or four weeks in a row because it builds momentum,” Grice explained. “It gets me wanting to keep competing and wanting to keep playing well especially if I’m already playing well. I had my highest finish last week so that was awesome and the whole tournament was awesome last week. I tied for eighth last week and had a couple of really good practice rounds early this week and I was just feeling good about my game and I just really tried to keep the momentum going and it’s worked well so far.”
The run of solid play has been especially meaningful for Grice as it is taking place in a part of the country that is like a second home to her as she played her collegiate golf at North Carolina.
“I love this area of the country. I loved going to school here,” Grice said. “It almost feels like a part of home coming back up this way. I’d love to put up a good showing here back in the state where I went to school. I love the area. It’s so pretty, so beautiful to look at while you’re playing.”
FAMILY AFFAIR FOR DUBREUIL: Symetra Tour rookie Desiree Dubreuil tied the lowest round of her three event career, a three-under 69, on Saturday to get herself into the final group.
“It just seemed like kind of an easy day,” Dubreuil said. “I was hitting fairways. I was hitting greens. I was giving myself good birdie opportunities and some of them went in. I didn’t make too many mistakes so pretty much everything today went well.”
The final round should be extra special for the University of Texas grad as both of her parents are in town and her dad is on her bag.
“Having a daddy caddy has been an awesome experience,” Dubreuil gushed. “To have my parents around to support me during my first year on Tour has been so special and means so much to me.”
Dubreuil is coming off a solid 14th place finish in the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Charity Classic in just her second event on Tour and hopes to climb up the Volvik Race for the Card money list to earn her 2015 LPGA Tour card.
GINGER HOWARD MAKES BIG MOVE: Ginger Howard shot a 4-under 68 in the second-round to vault up the leaderboard from T92 to T18.
Howard made eagle on the second and three birdies on the back nine.
She is 1-over-par for the tournament.
Bret Lasky, Coordinator, Symetra Tour Media, firstname.lastname@example.org, 386-679-1292