Garden City Charity Classic
Buffalo Dunes Golf Course
Garden City, Kansas
September 19, 2015
Second-Round News & Notes
GARDEN CITY, Kan., September 19, 2015 - Vicky Hurst (Melbourne, Florida) hit a perfect chip with a 54-degree wedge on 18 that rolled right into the hole to cap a tournament record 6-under 66 on Saturday at the Garden City Charity Classic at Buffalo Dunes. Hurst is 8-under 136 and will head into the final round with a sizeable five shot lead over rookie Jordan Britt (Chattanooga, Tennessee).
Hurst will tee off in the final group with Britt and Olivia Jordan-Higgins (Jersey, Channel Islands UK) at 12:20 p.m. A total of 78 players made the cut at 7-over 151.
If Hurst wins, she will secure a spot in the final top 10 on the Volvik Race for the Card money list to earn full LPGA Tour status for the 2016 season.
Hurst, who was in a four-way tie for the lead heading into the round, actually slipped on the first hole with a bogey. After pars on two and three, Hurst seized control with a stretch of birdie-eagle-birdie from the fourth through the sixth hole to get to 5-under. Hurst then made six straight pars before finishing with birdies on 13, 15 and 18.
The highlights of the round were the chip-in eagle on five and the 50-yard chip-in on 18. Hurst said both shots were similar and she used a 54-degree wedge for both. The birdie on 18 was special.
“I hit a 3-wood off the tee, pulled it and left myself under a tree so I had to hit a little low hook shot from 140 yards out,” explained Hurst. “It caught some of the tree so I left myself short of the green. I had 50 yards to the pin so I grabbed my 54-degree wedge and tried to land it 41 yards away and it rolled in. It was a good hole.”
Hurst hit more fairways, more greens and attempted four fewer putts on Saturday compared to Friday.
“I’d say everything was working, I hit my tee shots good enough and I left myself opportunities to go at pins,” said Hurst. “My putting and chipping were working well so altogether I felt my game was strong.”
Hurst has played on the LPGA full-time since leading the Symetra Tour money list in 2008. From 2009-2015, she made 142 starts on the LPGA and finished in the top 10 nine times. Hurst peaked in 2010 when she finished 28th on the official money list and was selected to the 2011 U.S. Solheim Cup team.
Unfortunately, things started to take a turn in the wrong direction in 2013 when she finished 74th on the money list. In 2014, Hurst suffered a wrist injury and missed the cut or withdrew from 10 of the 11 events she played. She played in six LPGA events at the start of the year and then transitioned to the Symetra Tour since her status dipped to category 20 on the LPGA priority list.
The comeback started in Rochester at the Toyota Danielle Downey Classic when Hurst carded a final round 66 to nearly upend Annie Park. She has finished inside the top 15 in six straight starts including a win at the W.B. Mason Championship at Thorny Lea.
“Rochester was definitely the turning point,” said Hurst. “That was the first time I was in contention and up on a leaderboard in a long time. Since then, I’ve just been trying to improve and build on what I had there.”
Hurst credits her mom and caddie, Coco, for supporting her through a tough last year and half.
“My mom has helped me so much being here on the Symetra Tour and getting my game back to where it should be,” said Hurst. “She’s partially my swing coach so it helps a lot when she is out there caddying for me. She’s always there to pick me up and push me. Her support has been huge.”
Hurst will go for her sixth career Symetra Tour victory on Sunday. Only five players have won at least six events in the history of the Symetra Tour: Marilyn Lovander (10), Laurel Kean (10), Jenny Lidback (8), Lori Astedes (7), Marianne Morris (6).
ROOKIE JORDAN BRITT IN FINAL GROUP FOR THE FIRST TIME: Jordan Britt (Chattanooga, Tennessee) wasn’t even sure she was going to get into the Garden City Charity Classic a few weeks ago based on her status. After a 3-under 69 on Saturday, she is in solo second place and will try to chase her first win and top 10 finish on Sunday.
“It’s a little surreal to be playing in the final group,” admitted Britt. “I hit a lot of fairways and greens today and that’s the key on this course.”
Britt has hit 22 of 28 fairways this week and attempted 28 putts on Friday and 27 on Saturday.
The 2014 University of Tennessee at Chattanooga grad said she’s going to soak up the opportunity to play in the final group on Sunday. She’s also excited to play with a standard bearer walking with her group. She’s only done that a handful of times in her life.
Britt’s best finish in her rookie campaign is a tie for 47th at the Island Resort Championship.
NEW MINDSET, BETTER RESULTS FOR SHEILS: Maddie Sheils (Boise, Idaho) wasn’t having the finishes she expected during the Midwest Swing. She had a costly missed cut at the Sioux Falls GreatLIFE Challenge and closed T33 at the Prairie Band Casino & Resort Charity Classic. More than results, she wanted to change her mindset on the greens. It worked on Saturday as she posted a 3-under 69 to move to a tie for fourth.
“Before, I just wanted to make putts so badly that I think I was trying to hard,” said Sheils. “I was trying to be perfect on the greens rather than just getting out of my own way. Instead of thinking about results or
mechanics, I’m just doing my pre-shot routine and letting everything happen from there. It’s funny, the less you try, often the better you get.”
Sheils ranks 18th on the Volvik Race for the Card money list with a win this season at the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship in Battle Creek. She’s hoping for a strong finish to the season, but isn’t clouding her mind with things she can’t control.
“The fact that I changed my mindset and did what I wanted to do today is what I’m happy with,” said Sheils. “I’m confident that if I keep my same mindset, I’ll give myself a chance tomorrow. I just want to keep taking care of what I know I can.”
Sheils may not be able to catch Hurst, but a solo second place finish would net her $9,392 and could move her as high as 11th on the money list.
OF NOTE: Olivia Jordan-Higgins (Jersey Channel Islands, UK) might have the best chance to catch Hurst taking experience into account. After a 5-under 67 on Saturday, she is 2-under and six shots back. Jordan-Higgins won the 2013 Credit Union Classic and the 2014 Prairie Band Casino & Resort Charity Classic. She has 11 career top 10 finishes...There are only eight players under par through two days...Only three of the top 10 on the Volvik Race for the Card money list are inside the top 25.