ROZSA HOLDS ONE-SHOT LEAD AFTER FIRST ROUND
ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Thanks to a career low round of 7-under par 65 today, Csicsi Rozsa (Budapest, Hungary) takes a one-shot lead into day two of the fourth annual Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic at Brook-Lea Country Club.
The second-year Symetra Tour member used eight birdies and only one bogey to place her name atop the leaderboard.
“Hit many greens, but then made a lot of putts. I think it’s all about making putts out here,” said Rozsa, who hit 13 greens in regulation today and only had 25 putts. “The past few weeks I have been hitting the ball good one day, and putting good the other. I guess today I put it together, so it was a good day.”
Another solid round came out of the afternoon wave in Stephanie Meadow (Jordanstown, Northern Ireland). The former University of Alabama standout shot a bogey-free, 6-under par 66 to head into Friday just one shot back of Rozsa.
“I’m just happy that I put a round together, been a little up and down the past few weeks,” said Meadow, who has six top-10 finishes on the season. “To see a low number really gives me a lot of confidence. I know that my ball striking was there and it was just a matter of time. You just have to play smart and pick your holes to be aggressive. I am really focusing on that.”
While Rozsa and Meadow have created a little separation from the rest of the field after the first round, 18 other individuals sit within four strokes of the current pace. It includes a group of five at 4-under par, with Charlotte Thomas (Guildford, England) one of the players in the mix.
Competing in a 72-hole tournament, instead of the typical three-day Symetra Tour format, is something Thomas pointed out as beneficial to her game.
“I really like four-day events because I feel like I’m a little bit more steady of a player that doesn’t go super low very often,” said Thomas, who captured her sixth top-15 result last week in the Donald Ross Classic at French Lick Resort. “I like having that extra day, not having to worry about moving and making the cut on Saturday. Enjoy chugging along.”
Furthermore, a total of 13 players fired 3-under par today including the most recent Symetra Tour champion, Stephanie Kono (Honolulu, Hawaii). The former three-time First Team All-American performer for UCLA carded three birdies, an eagle and two bogeys today.
After getting the monkey of her back that was her first professional win, Kono said the momentum she has found is lending a hand to some real steady play.
“It’s difficult to win once, and it’s really difficult to win twice in a row,” Kono said. “I eagled No. 10 today, which I was really excited about. I’m just going to play my own game and see what happens because I know it’s hard to win out here.”
Second round action picks up tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. ET, with a cut to the low 60 players and ties set to be made following play.
SYMETRA TOUR VISITS NIAGARA FALLS
It’s not everyday one gets to see a true national landmark of the United States, but before competition got underway in the Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic, four Symetra Tour professionals visited Niagara Falls yesterday afternoon.
Matilda Castren (Kauniainen, Finland), Avery George (Perry, Georgia) and Lindsey McCurdy (Liberty Hill, Texas) had never been to the New York State Park, while Kelly Tan (Batu Pahat, Malaysia) served as a sort of guide, having been prior to Wednesday’s outing.
“It was one of the best experiences I think I have ever had,” said George, who went 2-over par in today’s first round. “You don’t always get to do that, so I’m glad we did. Definitely something that I would do again.”
With so many sightseeing options at the site, the group ventured onto the Maid of the Mist boat tour, taking the adventure to the water and into (sort of) the falls.
“When we were right by the water, it was really cool,” said McCurdy, who carded a 1-under par in the opening round this afternoon. “I didn’t know you would go so close and then you see the boats going down there, didn’t realize how intense it is until we got there.”
The sheer power and spectacular beauty of the Falls was something to behold. Furthermore, it provided the players with a chance to get away from the course and refresh their mental game before entering tournament mode.
“I think it’s crucial for me because if I wrap myself around golf 24/7, I would get burned out,” George said. “We're on the road so much, I think you need that separation, bring yourself away from golf for at least a few hours.”
FIRST PITCHES AT ROCHESTER RED WINGS
The busy day before the start of the Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic only began with the trip to Niagara Falls, as three Symetra Tour ladies attended the Rochester Red Wings baseball game last night to throw out a first pitch.
Stephanie Kono, Dottie Ardina (Laguna, Philippines) and Fatima Fernandez Cano (Santiago de Compostela, Spain) represented the official qualifying Tour of the LPGA Tour at Frontier Field. It just so happened to be Christmas in July promotional night at the ballpark, as well.
“I’ve never had to do anything but golf in front of other people, so it was really nerve-racking to have to throw a ball,” said Kono, who made her first pitch debut on Wednesday. “I was probably more nervous for this than Sunday in French Lick, but Dottie went first and that calmed me down. If I had to go first, I would definitely have been even more nervous.”
Meanwhile, for Fernandez Cano, it wasn’t the first time for her in this position. A graduate of Troy University, she took the mound once on her alma mater’s diamond during pre-game festivities.
Although Fernandez Cano has been to a professional baseball game before, this was her first time on the field or for a first pitch at that level.
“It was super special because it was my university and my family was there, but here I guess it’s a little more special because it was my first professional one,” said Fernandez Cano, after firing a 1-under par in round one. “People here don’t know me which made it a little easier, but there was more people out there, too. All I was thinking was, ‘Just don’t drop it, just don’t drop it, just don’t drop it!’ It was fun.”
CSICSI ROZSA'S OPENING ROUND INTERVIEW