WEARN LEADS BY ONE ENTERING VALLEY FORGE INVITATIONAL FINAL ROUND
POTTSTOWN, Pa. — From 18-hole co-leader to 36-hole solo leader, Furman University alumna Laura Wearn (Charlotte, N.C.) heads into tomorrow’s Valley Forge Invitational final round with a one-shot lead at 11-under par overall.
In today’s second round, Wearn signed a bogey-free scorecard that included three birdies and an eagle on No. 10. That proved to be the momentum boost she needed and exclamation mark of her afternoon.
“I think I had a lot of similar shots today,” said Wearn. “Yesterday, I felt like I putted better and so I knew I could do it. The front nine I had to be really patient because I didn’t see many putts drop. On the back nine, once I made the putt on 10, had a really great finish.”
Just one-shot back of Wearn is Charlotte Thomas (Guildford, England), currently No. 9 in the Volvik Race for the Card. The former University of Washington standout also went bogey-free today, only firing a 6-under par 65 by way of six birdies.
“I was in the lead through the first round in Atlanta at the beginning of this [four-week] stretch,” said Thomas, who has her mother Fleur on the bag this week and father Chris also in attendance. “I think I learned a lot from that, not winning that event. Hopefully I can take what I learned there and use that tomorrow.”
The third piece to the final pairing for the final round at Raven’s Claw Golf Club is Jenny Coleman (Rolling Hills Estates, California). She nearly went bogey-free as well, except for a hiccup on No. 13.
Otherwise, six birdies paved the way for Coleman to sit in solo third at 9-under par overall entering the last day.
“It feels pretty good consistently playing well these past two rounds, and this whole season so far” Coleman said. “It’s a ball striker’s golf course. If you miss, you’re going to be in the lush, thick rough.”
Also in contention is a group of five players at 8-under par, with one of them being Demi Runas (Torrance, California). The 2014 Symetra Tour graduate was another individual who found her way to a bogey-free day, firing 4-under par 67.
“I actually played a practice round on the front nine, then the back nine I ended up just walking,” said Runas. “I noticed there’s a lot more target golf on the back nine. When I approached it, I thought the front nine was going to be scoreable and the back nine will be pick your target on the tee shots and give yourself a good position to hit into the green. That’s what I took into the last two days. Ironically, I've played better on the back nine than the front nine.”
The contrasting setup between the two just might serve as the deciding factor of who comes away victorious tomorrow in Pottstown. Meanwhile, after 36 holes, exactly 60 players made the cut of even par and will compete in the final round.
COLEMAN SHOWING CONSISTENCY
After missing the cut in Winter Haven, Fla., at the season-opening Florida’s Natural Charity Classic, Jenny Coleman (Rolling Hills Estates, California) has found her stride.
The University of Colorado alumna has made the next five cuts and earned four top-30 finishes along the way. That includes a top-20 result, as well as a top-10. Coleman points to her relaxed mindset as a reason for the steadily improving play.
“Just be patient, because I know my full swing is usually there and can compete with pretty much anyone out here,” said Coleman. “The putts are starting to drop this week and in previous weeks, just a little more each time.”
Her season-best round came on the final day of the Self Regional Healthcare Foundation Women’s Health Classic in Greenwood, S.C., when Coleman fired a 6-under par 66 to shoot up the leaderboard and finish tied for 22nd. However, her best result was in Milton, Ga., at the IOA Invitational when she tied for sixth.
Even with the different venue each week, Coleman has stayed true to her routine. It just might be the method to her profound success so far in 2018.
“Keep an open mind, especially in practice rounds,” Coleman said. “Look at everything, test out all different shots—try from the fairway, from the rough, fairway bunker, chip around the green and get used to the putting greens.”
Competing at a level that she considers slightly better than year’s past, Coleman will strive for her first career Symetra Tour win tomorrow. She enters the final round of the Valley Forge Invitational only two shots back of the lead at 9-under par.
“Fairly similar, just a little bit better with the full swing and even better with the putting,” said Coleman. “If I can keep my short game strong, then I’ll play really well.”
SWEDISH NATIONAL TEAM COACHING STAFF PROVIDING SUPPORT
If you take a look at the Valley Forge Invitational leaderboard, four of the top-11 individuals after the second round have the Swedish flag by their name.
Louise Stahle (Lund, Sweden) and Louise Ridderström (Stocksund, Sweden) are tied for fourth after today at 8-under par overall, while Linnea Ström (Hovas, Sweden) and Jenny Haglund (Karlstad, Sweden) are tied for ninth at 7-under.
Each has some added inspiration this week with several members of the Swedish Women’s National Team coaching staff in town, including head coach Patrick Johnson, trainer KJ Nissen and mental coach Marcus Börgesson.
“I appreciate them being here and they come up with some great coaching,” said Ridderström, who recorded a career-best round of 6-under par today. “It’s always nice to have a second pair of eyes on you and see, or talk about what you did well or worse so you can work on stuff too.”
Ridderström will be paired with Stahle and Desiree Dubreuil (Santa Ana, California) in the penultimate group tomorrow. They start the final round at 10:18 a.m. off No. 1 tee.
Meanwhile, Ström and Haglund will tee at 9:56 a.m., two groups ahead of their fellow Swedes. The feeling of having some familiar faces in the crowd and to work with has also helped them get to this point.
“It’s very nice to have them here. I’m comfortable with them and it’s fun having some people out on the course watching us play,” Ström said. “Also, to get some good practice in with them outside the course. Since next week we are off, it is good they are here so we all get a check on everything to know what we should work on.”
LAURA WEARN INTERVIEW