LAKE WALES, FLORIDA, March 22, 2014 – Maude-Aimee Leblanc shot an even-par 72 in the second-round of the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic on Saturday to remain at 5-under-par for the tournament and maintain a one-stroke lead.
Leblanc got off to a strong start with a birdie on the first hole. She made four total birdies on the front nine to move to 8-under for the tournament at the turn.The tides turned on the back nine quickly when she made bogey on the tenth hole. After three straight pars, Leblanc made double bogey on the par-4 14th hole.
“It was not as good as yesterday, I didn’t make as many putts,” said Leblanc. “The greens were very tough to read again and I just made a couple bad swings on the back nine and it cost me a double bogey on 14.”
Leblanc finished her round with four straight pars to stay at 5-under-par for the tournament.
“Even par is not that bad and I’m still in contention, so I can’t be too disappointed.”
Leblanc, who led by two strokes after day one, will take a slim one stroke lead into Sunday.
“I’ll just try to focus on what I do best and keep a good tempo, today I struggled a bit with my tempo and my swing,” said Leblanc, who won a National Championship at Purdue in 2010. “Tomorrow, I need to just stay relaxed and smooth and just play as if I was playing back home.”
The recipe for her first tournament win in her first Symetra Tour event will be simple.“If a can drop a couple putts, I’ll be in good shape.”
Jackie Stoelting, Karlin Beck and Yueer Cindy Feng are tied for second at 4-under-par for the tournament.
Stoelting fired a 2-under-par 70 to close the gap on Leblanc.
“It feels good to back in contention,” said Stoelting, who entered the round tied for fourth. “A couple years ago I finished second here so I’m kind of ready to hopefully get a win out here tomorrow.”
Stoelting made birdie on the first and second holes to build momentum. However, she proceeded to par the next nine holes. After a birdie on number 12, Stoelting gave two shots back on the 14th and 16th holes.
“I started off really well by making birdie on my first two holes and thought it was going to be one of those days that I would shoot way under,” said Stoelting. “To be honest, it was probably the most frustrating under-par round I have ever shot."
In her 65th career Symetra Tour event, Stoelting will be aiming for her first win.
“I’m just going to stick to my same game plan and take it one shot at a time,” said Stoelting. “I’m also going to play more aggressive, I didn’t birdie a single par-5 today and I think I lost that to the field so tomorrow hopefully I can take advantage of those par-5 holes.”
Stoelting has 11 career top-10 finishes including one runner-up result in 2011 and two third-place finishes in 2013.“To win would mean everything, obviously were out here to get our LPGA Tour card and a win could change my year with where I’m going to play,” said Stoelting, who has conditional LPGA Tour status. “I’ve come really close to winning so to finally be able to get that off my shoulder would be awesome.”
Karlin Beck used a 2-under-par 70 to move into a tie for second place. She birdied the third and fourth holes and made the turn at 3-under for the day. Beck birdied the tenth hole before making a double bogey on the 14th.
“It was a really solid round, just one hiccup on 14, but other than that it was in the fairways, hitting greens and making putts,” said the third-year Symetra Tour player Beck. “I hit it better off the tee today, which was good for confidence ball-striking.”
In 17 career Symetra Tour events, Beck has never finished in the top-10.
“I’ve been playing great, so it is nice to see the results, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself because we still have a full round left,” said the former Auburn Tigers golfer Beck. “I’m just going to come out tomorrow and try to play solid and keep calm.”
Seven players are currently three shots off the lead at 2-under-par.
Amateur Kelly Shon fired a 3-under-par 69 to move within striking distance. She is currently at 1-under for the tournament, which is good for a tie for 12th place.Shon is currently a senior at Princeton. She was the 2013 Ivy League Player of the Year.
The cut was made at 6-over-par. A total of 76 players made the cut and will play on Sunday.
“I was happy to get the first tee time in the morning because I thought I’d be able to go out there when it wasn’t so windy and post a low number,” said De Groot. “I had a pretty steady front nine and as soon as I hit number three putts started falling and I holed a few really long putts and hit some nice iron shots and it all came together.”
De Groot, who started on the back nine, birdied five consecutive holes from the third through the seventh.
“It was a lot of fun, everything I looked at went in,” said the former University of Tennessee Chattanooga golfer. “It was one of those take it when it comes because it so rarely comes and it was just a lot of fun, everything worked out.”
De Groot made seven birdies on the day with her only hiccup coming on the par-4 16th hole when she made bogey.
“I knew I had to shoot a pretty good score just to make the cut because I wasn’t looking so good after yesterday,” said De Groot, who shot a 4-over-par 76 on Friday. “So, I just went out there and tried to shoot as low as I could and be as aggressive as possible and the pins were in more accessible spots.”
OTHER NOTABLE JUMPS UP LEADERBOARD: Amy Meier shot a 4-under-par 68 in round two to skyrocket from T48 to T5. Meier made five birdies over her first 12 holes. Her only blemish on the day was a bogey on the par-5 13th.“I didn’t play as well as I wanted to yesterday, but I came on strong and made a lot of good putts today,” said Meier. “I definitely put myself in contention for tomorrow.”
The outlook was bleak after day one, but Meier did exactly what she needed to do on Saturday.
“There are a lot of great players out here and the scores are reflective of that so it was important for me to climb as high as I could.”
Meier will have her work cut out for her, but she is within reach of the lead with 18 holes to play.
“I definitely need to stay around the greens tomorrow, they can be kind of tricky,” said Meier, who was sporting Ohio State gear from head to toe on March Madness College Spirit Day. “The speed and the right reads are the two things that are going to be important.”
Min Lee (Taoyuan County, Taiwan) also made a jump up the leaderboard. She shot a 4-over-par 76 on Friday and entered the second round in a tie for 78th.
On Saturday, she made six birdies and just one bogey to finish 5-under for the day. She moved into a tie for 13th place.
Lee opened the back nine with three straight birdies.
Garrett Phillips Hole 1
Shannon Fish Hole 4
Maude-Aimee Leblanc Hole 10
Alice Kim Hole 13
Madeleine Sheils Hole 13
Jaclyn Jansen Hole 4
Fiona Puyo Hole 4
Jane Rah Hole 14
FIRST TEE OF LAKELAND: The Symetra Tour and Florida’s Natural hosted a junior clinic for future golf professionals on Tuesday at the First Tee of Lakeland. Jackie Stoelting, Emily Flanigan-Motta and Angela Yang hosted the clinic on Tuesday. On Saturday, golfers from the clinic served as standard bearers during second round play at the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic.
Bret Lasky, Coordinator, Symetra Tour Media, email@example.com, 1 (386) 679-1292