W.B. Mason Championship
Thorny Lea Golf Club
August 14, 2015
First-Round News & Notes
BROCKTON, Mass., August 14, 2015 - Dottie Ardina (Laguna, Philippines) had a scare on Wednesday when her mom began having a difficult time breathing and she had to rush her to the hospital. Fast forward two days and mom is back on the bag and feeling much better and Ardina carded a 5-under 66 to post the low score on Friday at the W.B. Mason Championship at Thorny Lea Golf Club.
Ardina made four of her five birdies on the front nine and did not make a bogey on the day.
“I’m very happy, I really hit the ball well today,” said Ardina, who hit 15 of 18 greens in regulation. “Everything was perfect today and I’m just happy my mom is OK.”
Midway through the year, Ardina overhauled her putting and the results have been impressive. She has finished inside the top 25 in five consecutive events. She finished in the top 25 only twice in her first nine starts.
“The last two months have been really good since I changed my putting,” said Ardina, who attempted just 28 putts on Friday. “My game is at its peak right now.”
The stretch of strong play started in South Bend at the Four Winds Invitational in June when she finished in a tie for second. Ardina held a three shot lead heading into the final round.
“I really want to win because I am 20th on the money list (Volvik Race for the Card) and we only have six more events after this and I really want to be in the top 10,” said Ardina. “I don’t want to have to go to Q-School and I want to play the LPGA Tour next year.”
Ardina would become just the second player from the Philippines to win on the Symetra Tour. The only player to win was Lynda Jensen, who won once in 1985 and twice in 1988.
ANNIE PARK COULD EARN A ‘BATTLEFIELD PROMOTION’ TO LPGA: In just her seventh start as a rookie, Annie Park (Levittown, N.Y.) could earn a “Battlefield Promotion” to the LPGA Tour if she wins the W.B. Mason Championship. Winners of three official Symetra Tour tournaments during a single-season are slotted into category 13 on the LPGA Tour priority list.
Park won the Toyota Danielle Downey Classic and the PHC Classic in the last three weeks. On Friday, she carded a 4-under 67.
“It is hard not to think about it (a third win) and I actually just found out about it (Battlefield Promotion),” said Park, who was alerted by Chief Business Officer Mike Nichols earlier this week. “I really try not to think about all that stuff and just work on my game.”
Park’s game has been superb over the last four events. Her 4-under 67 on Friday was her 14th consecutive round of even-par or better with 11 under-par.
“I was hitting really good shots, but the putts weren’t dropping early,” said Park of her first round. “I started to get a little more confident with my putting later in the round but it was a little bit like a roller coaster today. I’m playing well and I just want to keep focusing on improving my putting.”
VETERAN ‘NOT RETURNING BE #100 ON LPGA MONEY LIST’: Heather Bowie, 40, mentally checked out of golf after dealing with injury issues in 2014 and decided not to go to LPGA Qualifying Tournament in 2014. Nearly ten years ago, she won the 2005 Jaime Farr Owens Corning Classic. She is now trying to make a return to the LPGA and is playing in her third Symetra Tour event this year. Prior to this season, she has not played on the Symetra Tour since 1999.
Bowie has made 333 career LPGA Tour starts and has 27 career top 10 finishes. She has made over $3 million in her career and is confident that she has more good years ahead.
“I feel really good, I am in great physical shape and nothing hurts like last year and the year before,” said Bowie, who attributes her good health to yoga, following a 4-under 67. “I still think I have it in me. I wouldn’t be out here wasting my time or anyone else’s if I didn’t believe. I’m not out here to return and be 100th on the LPGA money list, I think I am better than that.”
Bowie is currently No. 232 on the LPGA Priority List in the “Tournament Winners” category. She will be exempt to Stage III of LPGA Qualifying Tournament and intends on playing.
Since it has been over 15 years since she has played on the Symetra Tour, Bowie spoke very highly of the improvements she has found on this circuit.
“It feels like I have landed in a major every week on this Tour because this Tour has come so far,” said Bowie. “I wasn’t sure what to expect coming out here (Symetra Tour) honestly and I am pleasantly surprised with the venues, the spectators and really everything.”
MOM OF TWO LIVING IN BROOKLINE STILL MOTIVATED TO CHASE DREAM: Candy Hannemann (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) is chasing her dream of representing Brazil in the 2016 Olympic Games. She’s doing it all while raising two young kids in Brookline, Mass. with her husband, Adam Grossman, the Senior Vice President of Marketing and Branding for the Boston Red Sox.
Hannemann is playing in her ninth Symetra Tour event of the season this week. She has made just two cuts, but is still fully motivated and committed to her dream.
“I feel like I am improving, but I was definitely rusty,” said Hannemann, who took four years off to start a family. “It has been a harder process than I would have liked it to be, but I am still fully motivated and I love playing and getting ready to play.”
Hannemann made 103 starts on the LPGA Tour through the 2008 season before injuries slowed her career. After having two kids, she decided to return to golf in order to play in the Olympics in her hometown.
“It’s a lot harder to play now (with kids) because you are always torn between being with your kids and putting in the practice hours,” said Hannemann. “I think I am letting go a little more and letting them stay home. We are getting in a little bit of a groove.”
DUNCAN ON CUSP AGAIN THIS YEAR: Lindy Duncan (Jupiter, Fla.) finished No. 12 on the Volvik Race for the Card money list in 2014. She is 13th this year and once again finds herself in the hunt for an LPGA Tour card. That being said, don’t ask her what number she is on the list.
“I don’t really pay attention to the scores, the money list or anything like that,” said Duncan. “I have a general idea because I am told all the time by people, but I don’t pay attention because I can’t control what other players earn.”
Duncan carded a 3-under 68 and is just two shots back.
“I had six birdies, three on the front and three on the back so I was hitting it well and I took advantage of the par-5 holes,” said Duncan, who made birdie on all three par-5 holes. “I just hit quite a few greens, that was the big thing.”
Duncan will head home to Jupiter after the W.B. Mason Championship and prepare for the final stretch of the season. She practices and plays with LPGA Tour professionals Austin Ernst and Amy Anderson.
“It is such a good vibe in Jupiter with the other professional. I’ve lived in many other places in Florida and it is my favorite place,” said Duncan, who also plays with Symetra Tour members Stephanie Kono and Cindy LaCrosse. “There are always professionals to play with and a number of my best friends live just ten minutes away.”
ROCKLAND’S MEGAN KHANG HAS “SLOW” DAY: 17-year-old local favorite Megan Khang of Rockland carded a first-round 1-over 72. She was 1-over at the turn and then made birdies on 10, 11 and 14 to get to 2-under. After a par on 15, Khang made a double bogey on 16 and a bogey on 17. She closed with a par on 18.
“I couldn’t really find the fairway today,” said Khang, who hit just five of 14 fairways. “My ball striking wasn’t as good as it was before, but I did make some good putts to save par. It was a slow day for me.”