VENICE, FLORIDA, October 21, 2016 - Maia Schechter (Chapel Hill, N.C.) continues to make a name for herself with a second straight 4-under, 68 to grab the 36-hole lead at 8-under, 136. Schechter, who missed advancing out of Stage I last year, has made 12 birdies against just four bogeys through two rounds.
Marianne Skarpnord (Sarpsborg, Norway) is in second at 7-under, 137, while the top two amateurs in the world - Leona Maguire (Cavan, Ireland) and Bronte Law (Manchester, England) share third at 5-under, 139. Schechter and Skarpnord are the only two players in the field with two rounds in the 60’s.
“It’s a good way to start off Q-school for sure,” said Schechter, who finished T20 at Stage I of Q-school. “I feel like I have a really good game plan. I’ve been trying to make birdies, but also focusing on great shots.”
The turnaround is remarkable for Schechter, who graduated from UNC in 2015. She finished T137 at Stage I of Qualifying Tournament in her first go-round and failed to advance and now has the lead at Stage II in her second attempt.
“I improved a lot,” said Schechter with a wide smile. “It is definitely easier your second year just knowing what it is like. I think my game is just overall better, that is the biggest difference.”
Schechter also played in five Symetra Tour events this year to get used to life as a professional golfer.
“Q-school was my first professional tournament last year and it was just such a big deal,” said Schechter. “It is so much easier and it just feels like golf now, nothing crazy.”
When asked if she was surprised to be at the top after two days, Schechter politely said no.
“I feel like I have been playing really well and these courses set up well for me and I have been putting really well,” said Schechter. “I wouldn’t say I’m shocked at myself so I’m comfortable.”
Schechter said her greatest accomplishment at UNC was helping her team win the Tar Heel Invitational as a sophomore.
Schechter, who didn’t start playing golf until she was 14 years old, attended the Gary Gilchrist Golf Academy as a junior and senior in high school in order to accelerate her golf career.
“I was just OK when I started and I wanted to be really good and everyone wants to be on top of the LPGA,” said Schechter. “It has taken a lot of hours of hard work. The academy really helped in getting tournament experience and a coach to work with at all times.”
The top 80 and ties after Sunday’s final-round will advance to Final Stage of LPGA Qualifying Tournament, which is November 30-December 4 at LPGA International in Daytona Beach.
NO. 1 AMATUER IN WORLD HAS BIG DAY; “WILL TAKE IT (LPGA)”There are not many college athletes that have had a better 2016 than Leona Maguire, the No. 1 ranked amateur in the world according to the World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR). She played in three LPGA Tour majors (ANA Inspiration, U.S. Women’s Open and the RICOH Women’s British Open), represented Ireland at the 2016 Olympic Games and helped Duke get to the Final Four.
“It has been an amazing year, I feel very lucky,” said Maguire, after posted a 5-under, 67 on the Bobcat course. “It has been one great experience after the next.”
The junior at Duke now has her sights set on the LPGA Tour.
“I’m going to see how far I get, if I get my LPGA card obviously I’ll take it,” said Maguire. “If I don’t, I’ll go back to college and finish out my four years at Duke.”
Maguire was masterful with five birdies and no bogeys on Friday.
“I’m really happy with my round today,” said Maguire, who put an exclamation point on it with a 12-footer on 18. “I gave myself a lot of chances and my iron play and putting was good.”
Maguire said that ever since she started playing, she had the dream of playing the LPGA.
“I got to play in the Junior Solheim Cup and then playing more LPGA events has given me even more motivation to play the LPGA,” said Maguire. “It’s always been a dream and it is definitely a little closer now.”
Maguire said Annika Sorenstam and Suzann Pettersen are two people she looked up to.
“I got to play with Suzann in the Irish Open a few times and she was always great to give a helping hand,” said Maguire. “Brittany Lang is another one. I got to play a practice round with her at the U.S. Women’s Open and then she went onto win and she is a Dukie so I’ve looked up to her as well.”
WORLD NO. 2 AMATEUR BRONTE LAW SHINING WITH LENDL’S DAUGHTER ON BAGBronte Law (Manchester, England), the number two ranked amateur in the world, carded a 2-under, 70 to move to 5-under, 139. It took her some time to get into the round due to windy conditions, but she managed to post another under-par round.
“I battled the first couple holes and then really got into the round mid-front nine and was able to play solid today,” said Law, who is a senior at UCLA. “The weather has really been good and the course is playing nice. It is really just a matter of the wind.”
Law said she is avoiding putting pressure on herself in her first Qualifying Tournament. She was exempt into Stage II because of her WAGR ranking so this week is her first experience.
“I’m playing this week as if I’m playing in a normal tournament because that is what it is,” said Law. “I think people sometimes put too much pressure on themselves so I am trying to stop myself from doing that.”
Like most with college eligibility still left, Law is a little unsure of exactly what she will do, but clearly has her eyes on the LPGA.
“It depends on how all this goes,” said Law. “I’m taking each shot as it comes, but definitely want to be on the LPGA in the future so that is definitely my goal.”
Law’s caddy is good friend, Daniela Lendl (goes by “crash”), who played college golf at Alabama and is the daughter of tennis icon Ivan Lendl.
“We met through mutual friends and got along really well,” said Law. “She has been really supportive of me and been a good help on the course. Bermuda is kind of different then what I am used to and she grew up playing on it so it has been really nice to have someone that understands the greens.”
CASSELBERRY’S YADLOCZKY POSTS 69Carlie Yadloczky of Casselberry, Florida carded a 3-under, 69 on the Panther course to move up to T4. Yadloczky stands at 4-under, 140.
“After a long, long year on the Symetra Tour, it feels good to be back home,” said Yadloczky. “I’ve been back home for two weeks working with my coach and I actually feel really confident off the tee and I’m putting really well.”
Yadloczky, who played college golf at Auburn, finished 98th on the Symetra Tour’s Volvik Race for the Card money list in 18 starts this year.
“Having two back-to-back under-par rounds this year has been a struggle for me so this is great,” said Yadloczky. “I wasn’t hitting my drives that good so now that I am hitting them in the fairway, it is making scoring much easier.”
FABIOLA ARRIAGA MAKES HOLE-IN-ONEFabiola Arriaga (Torreon, Mexico) made a hole-in-one on the third hole of the Bobcat course on Friday. She used a 5-iron from 165 yards out. She actually had to back off the ball after address twice to make sure she was aligned.
“I was aiming too far right and then I hit it in the middle and it bounced and went in,” said Arriaga, who posted a 2-over, 72 and is T50. “I thought it went over so my caddy (brother) ran and saw it went in and it was pretty amazing.”
It is her third hole-in-one and second in tournament competition.
- There are 20 players under-par after two rounds
- There are 15 players tied for 79th at 5-over, 149
- Hannah Green (19 years old) of Perth, Australia is the only teenager in the top 10
- The oldest player in the field, Beth Allen, is T10 at 2-under, 142
- There are six different countries represented inside the top 10 (United States, Norway, Ireland, England, Canada, Australia)