Symetra Tour Championship presented by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
LPGA International – Jones Course
Daytona Beach, Florida
September 20, 2014
Third-Round News & Notes
How Things Would Stand
Grice Gives Herself a Chance
Showdown: #9 Blackwelder v. #10 Felibert
Another Ace, This Time Jean Chua
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., September 20, 2014 – The scene is set for a climactic finish. Maude-Aimee Leblanc fired a 1-under 71 to snag sole possession of the 54-hole lead on Saturday at the Symetra Tour Championship presented by Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. She is 11-under 205 for the tournament and two strokes clear of Rachel Rohanna, who is 9-under 207 after a 1-over 73 in the third-round.
The final four LPGA cards are still up for grabs with one day left as five players between No. 11 and No. 21 on the Volvik Race for the Card money list are currently T14 or better.
The equation is simple for Leblanc. If she wins on Sunday, she has a good chance of fitting inside the top-10 on the money list. The $22,500 winner’s payout would jump her from $25,229 to $47,729, which is more than No. 8 on the current money list. If she finishes second or higher, she will go to Stage III of Qualifying Tournament.
“It’s fun, it has been a while since I have been in this position,” said Leblanc, about being 18-holes away from her first professional win. “It’s nice to be at the top and I am just going to keep doing what I am doing.”
Leblanc was last in the position at the third event of the year, the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic when she slept on the lead going into the final day, but finished four shots back of Cindy Feng in a tie for second. Leblanc shot an even-par 72 on the final day while Feng fired a 5-under 67 to win.
“Cindy played really well that day. I did everything I could to stay there, but she took the tournament.”
Leblanc hopes that the experience in Lake Wales will help her in Daytona Beach.
“I feel very comfortable on this golf course. It fits my game really well. I hit the driver really well which is a big advantage here especially when it doesn’t roll because it is wet.”
So, does Leblanc think she needs to go get the tournament like Feng did in Lake Wales?
“For now, I’ll stick to my game plan. If I need to be a little more aggressive I can always adjust.”
HOW THINGS WOULD STAND: Below is a breakdown of how the final Volvik Race for the Card Money List would shake out if things ended after Saturday’s round for players currently ranked between No. 7 and No. 15 on the money list as well as potential Card winners in Emily Talley, Nicole Vandermade, Maude-Aimee LeBlanc and Casey Grice.
|Player||Current Money||2nd Rd. Finish||Projected Money*||Projected Ranking|
|#7 Jackie Stoelting||$48,580||T27 (-2)||$1,484||7 ($50,064)|
|#8 Kendall Dye||$46,032||T14 (-4)||$2,484||8 ($48,516)|
|#9 Mallory Blackwelder||$39,487||T21 (-3)||$1,827||10 ($41,314)|
|#10 Veronica Felibert||$39,479||T27 (-2)||$1,484||12 ($40,963)|
|#11 Sara-Maude Juneau||$36,538||T7 (-5)||$4,448||$4,448|
|#12 Lee Lopez||$36,115||T64 (+4)||$481||14 ($36,596)|
|#13 Lindy Duncan||$36,063||T7 (-5)||$4,448||13 ($40,511)|
|#14 Brittany Altomare||$33,864||T27 (-2)||$1,484||16 ($35,348)|
|#15 Demi Runas||$33,223||T21 (-3)||$1,827||18 ($35,050)|
|#16 Emily Talley||$32,747||T14 (-4)||$2,484||17 ($35,231)|
|#17 Nicole Vandermade||$31,896||T7 (-5)||$4,448||15 ($36,344)|
|#21 Maude-Aimee LeBlanc||$25,229||1 (-11)||$22,500||9 ($47,729)|
|#34 Casey Grice||$19,521||3 (-8)||$10,255||19 ($29,776)|
*projected money does not account for ties (i.e. T1 standing is projected out as solo first place money)
GRICE GIVES HERSELF A CHANCE: Casey Grice (College Station, Texas) used a 5-under round of 67 to jump from a tie for 20th into solo third heading into the final round of the Symetra Tour Championship.
“I hit the ball great,” Grice explained. “My ball striking was really good. Every time I hit a green I probably didn’t have a putt over 15-feet so I gave myself a lot of opportunities. One bad swing on the bogey but other than that I’ve been hitting it well.”
Grice’s big jump was enough to bring her back into the hunt for a 2015 LPGA Tour Card. A win would give Grice a chance.
“I’m close. I gave myself a chance and I think if I can just have fun out there tomorrow and hit some great shots it’ll be a good day.”
Being in contention for the win has been just another highlight on the week for Grice who took home the ANNIKA Academy Elite Athlete Award at the pro-am party on Tuesday and got to share the stage with Annika Sorenstam herself.
“It’s been an awesome week,” Grice said with a smile. “First the ANNIKA Academy Award, that was surreal. I didn’t know that it was happening so it was a big surprise. That was a really cool way to end the season. Just to be up there on stage with her was awesome. Then to play well on top of that. I just wanted to go out with a bang and finish the season off well. Obviously, I know what I have to do and I’m just trying to give myself a chance.”
Regardless of how things shake out tomorrow Grice has thoroughly enjoyed her rookie season on the Symetra Tour.
“It was exciting and it was fun,” Grice said. “The girls out here have been great. I’ve met some friends that I know I’m going to be friends with for a long time. To get to play golf everyday that’s been one of my goals, to play golf every day for a job, and it has been surreal to be able to do it day in and day out.”
SHOWDOWN: #9 BLACKWELDER v. #10 FELIBERT: A mere $8 separates No. 9 on the money list Mallory Blackwelder ($39,487) and No. 10 Veronica Felibert ($39,479) on the Volvik Race for the Card money list. After three rounds of golf, a single stroke separates the two at the Symetra Tour Championship.
Blackwelder is in a tie for 22nd at 3-under 213 while Felibert is in a tie for 27th at 2-under 213 with 18 holes left.
There is a real likelihood that the player who finishes higher tomorrow will earn their card, while the player who finishes lower will miss a shot at their card without a top-3 finish.
Felibert will be able to set the pace in the 8:40 group with Blackwelder having her chance go low two groups later at 9:00 a.m.
“I haven’t been hitting it great, so I hit it and it looked pretty good and I told myself it was going to be somewhere around the green so I looked down and picked up my tee,” said Chua, who is in a tie for 55th. “Then, I heard Mary (Narzisi) yelling ‘it’s in, it’s in’ and I still didn’t believe it. Mary said ‘Jean, look up, it is in the hole.”
Jean saw it land and saw it roll, but didn’t see it go in the cup.
She used a 4-hybrid from 173-yards out. It was her third career hole-in-one and second on the Symetra Tour. Her first hole-in-one came in Harris, Michigan three holes before the hole where an ace means a free car. Her consolation prize was $500.
This week, Chua made her ace on the same hole that was offering a free BMW for a hole-in-one during the pro-am on Wednesday.