IOA Golf Classic
Alaqua Country Club
October 9, 2015
First-Round News & Notes
LONGWOOD, Fla., October 9, 2015 - Laetitia Beck (Caesarea, Israel), the first Israeli to ever play on the LPGA or Symetra Tour, carded a 6-under, 65, on Friday at the IOA Golf Classic at Alaqua Country Club to lead by two shots. The 65 ties the course record set by 2014 tournament winner Kendall Dye in the final round. Four players sit two-shots behind Beck including Jackie Stoelting (Vero Beach, Fla.), who won the Symetra Tour’s last event the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout, and Lee Lopez (Whittier, Calif.), who ranks third on the Volvik Race for the Card Money List.
The Duke grad, who was a two-time All-American and part of the 2014 national championship team, started her day with a birdie on the first and added two more on her outward nine. After pars on 10, 11 and 12, Beck caught fire running off three-consecutive birdies to take the lead at 6-under. Following her lone bogey of the day on the par-5 16th, Beck quickly responded by calmly sinking an 8-foot birdie on her final hole to post her 65.
“The course is pretty narrow in my opinion and I was able to keep the ball in play and hit a lot of fairways,” said Beck, who hit 15 of 18 greens in regulation. “I’m happy to be playing well as I get ready for Final Stage of LPGA Qualifying Tournament.”
Beck, who played full time on the LPGA Tour this year, has fared well since coming to the Symetra Tour at the end of the year. She finished third at the Garden City Charity Classic and finished T46 in Arkansas after fading over the weekend.
“I struggled a little on the LPGA this year, I just didn’t play my game so that is why I am here to gain my
confidence and be more aggressive,” said Beck. “Seeing my scores compared to the others is helping with my confidence. I know that I have the game, I just need to sharpen a few things.”
Beck made 14 starts on the LPGA this year with her best finish a tie for 19th at the Manulife LPGA Classic.
After this week, Beck is headed back to Israel to be part of the first ever professional golf event in Israel. The event is part of the Alps Golf Tour, a European based circuit.
“It’s a big event for Israel in terms of trying to promote the sport of golf,” said Beck. “We only have one 18 hole course and one nine hole so we are hoping this helps. I hope that golfers all over the world will want to come to Israel after they see the course we have. I’m very excited to be there and I’m always trying to
promote my country.”
The 23-year-old is a rookie on both Tours.
MOLINARO MAKING LAST BID FOR PLAYER OF YEAR: No. 1 on the Volvik Race for the Card money list, Giulia Molinaro (Treviso, Italy), finds herself in contention yet again following an opening round 69 at the IOA Golf Classic.
“I hit my irons very well and the birdies that I made were pretty close,” Molinaro said. “The wind started blowing towards the end but it was nothing too difficult.”
Molinaro tallied four birdies against a pair of bogeys en route to her 2-under round. While the Arizona State grad has had an impressive year with nine top-10 finishes she has yet to record a victory and would like to change that this week.
“It would mean a lot,” Molinaro admitted. “I’ve been working for a win all year and it might be enough to help me secure the No. 1 spot for the year too so that would be a huge deal. That’s definitely my goal for this week and that’s what I’ve been hoping for all year.”
Molinaro currently holds a $1,211 advantage over Annie Park in the Player of the Year race. Park is off this week, while Molinaro will be skipping the final event of the year. Park plans to play in the Symetra Tour Championship next week.
“I’d love to finish the year as the Player of the Year,” Molinaro explained. “Most of the year I’ve been No. 1 so I’d like to finish there at the end too.”
ELIZABETH TREASURES TRIP TO BIG HOUSE: Most people from Dayton that attend Ohio State like Victoria Elizabeth refer to the University of Michigan as “that school to the North”. On Tuesday, Elizabeth was asked to go to Ann Arbor to take part in a new LPGA tournament announcement. She had the chance to go inside the football stadium to hit golf balls on the 50-yard line for a promotional video. On Wednesday morning, she took part in a press conference to make the LPGA Volvik Championship a part of the 2016 schedule.
Elizabeth arrived back in Florida on Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m. and saw only nine holes of Alaqua
Country Club on Thursday.
“I hit all 18 fairways and only missed one green and had so many close putts so I was a little disappointed that my score wasn’t lower,” said Elizabeth. “Overall, I was happy that I kept going through my routine and was able to get one good putt to drop.”
Elizabeth made birdies on holes six, twelve and sixteen during her bogey-free round.
The 23-year-old, who has been playing professionally for seven years, said that the hectic travel schedule is something she is accustomed to.
“I actually don’t mind the travel, I think I play better without a practice round,” said Elizabeth. “My boyfriend, who is caddying for me, was saying that this could actually work to your advantage. I feel relaxed and I didn’t push myself this week, which is important when you are traveling a lot.”
Elizabeth said although painful to put on Michigan gear as a lifelong Ohio State fan, the experience was unforgettable.
“Michigan is such a beautiful state and I’m excited that we (LPGA) are adding a second event there,” said Elizabeth. “It is almost like a hometown event for me since I’m only three and a half hours away in Ohio.”
Elizabeth finished third on the Symetra Tour’s Volvik Race for the Card money list in 2012 and played on the LPGA since. She has made 40 career starts on the LPGA.
BRIANNA DO SAYS “PEDAL TO THE METAL” WITH TWO LEFT: Brianna Do (Lakewood, California) ranks No. 18 on the Volvik Race for the Card with two events left. She posted a strong 2-under 69 to put herself in position to make a run at the trophy this weekend.
“I have to go pedal to the metal because the top 10 is just getting further and further away from the top 20,” said Do, who made two birdies and no bogeys on her final nine. “My mindset coming into these two is win one otherwise I’m going to Q-School. I’m trying to be aggressive and trying not to leave putts short.”
Do started the year with five top 10 finishes in the first seven events. She has had top 20 finishes since, but no top 10 results. Her Friday round was encouraging especially since she woke up a little under the weather.
“I was honestly just happy to get through the round being a little sick,” said Do. “I hit some good shots, hit some key putts and then was able to cruise on the back nine.”
Do and her trainer used Demi Runas as an example when discussing the final two events. Runas finished tied for second at the Symetra Tour Championship last year to move from 15th to ninth to earn her card.
“My trainer was looking at the money and told me that Demi was in the same position last year,” said Do. “She ended up playing well in the last two and getting her card so I know it is doable.”
Do is currently $10,619 outside the top 10.
FEEDING CHILDREN EVERYWHERE FOOD PACKING EVENT: One of the key events taking place at the IOA Golf Classic is “Swinging Away at Child Hunger” where hundreds of volunteers will look to pack over 100,000 meals for distribution in the local community with the help of U.S. Hunger and Feeding Children Everywhere (FCE).
“This is a pretty unique and really awesome event,” said FCE Logistics Coordinator Justin Everett. “It’s great that people are coming in here and helping out from all of these different places. The people are coming in and doing a great job.”
Volunteers, who will be coming-and-going during all three days of tournament play, typically work in hour shifts in an assembly line putting together the meals. At the end of each day the meals will be picked up by Second Harvest and distributed throughout the Orlando and Central Florida communities.
One of the groups out volunteering today was Clean Channel Communications, which saw over half of its 40-plus person staff out at Alaqua volunteering at Swinging Away at Child Hunger.
“It really falls in line with what we like to do in the community,” said Bruce Skinner, a Senior Account Executive at Clear Channel. “We actually use this as a type of spirit day to have volunteers come out and dedicate their time to give back to a community that does so much for us as well so we’re really excited to be a part of it.”
A total of 29,000 meals were packedon Friday. The tournament is hoping to pack at additional 71,000 meals over the next two days.