Heading into Sunday, Haglund holds comfortable lead
BEAUMONT, Calif. — Not even a cold could stop Jenny Haglund (Karlstad, Sweden) today, as the Southern Methodist University (SMU) graduate bolted ahead of the competition with a 5-under par 67 in the second round of the IOA Championship presented by Morongo Casino Resort & Spa.
At 9-under par overall, she takes a 5-stroke lead into Sunday at Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon.
“I woke up this morning feeling bad. Yesterday I thought it was allergies, but it is definitely a cold,” said Haglund. “I really hung in there today and accepted everything that I did. We’ll rest up, then go out tomorrow and try to do my best.”
Haglund started her day on the back nine, carding a bogey on No. 10 and following it up with a birdie on No. 11. She made the turn at even par.
On the front is where she exploded, including five birdies and an eagle. Only a double bogey held her back from reaching the double digit under par mark.
“In the beginning it was kind of chilly out there so the ball went a little shorter than yesterday afternoon. I struggled with that,” Haglund said. “Toward the end of the round, I played really well and made a lot of key putts. I’m really pleased with my putting and my game so far.”
Joining Haglund in the final pairing will be Grace Na (Temple, Texas). The graduate of Pepperdine University played mostly mistake-free today, shooting 2-under par with three birdies and only one bogey. She enters the final round at 4-under.
It will be the first time Na competes in the last group as a professional on the Symetra Tour.
“There was a lot of good out there that I can take for tomorrow,” said Na. “It means a lot and it’s going to be a lot of fun. To be back in contention is always a good thing. I’m just going to keep it the same, relaxed and have fun with my caddy.”
A total of 62 players made the cut of 5-over par and will play in twosomes for the final round tomorrow. Action begins at 7:30 a.m. local time off No. 1 tee with the leaders heading out at 12:30 p.m.
Haglund Dominating in First Symetra Tour Event
Jenny Haglund isn’t messing around at the IOA Championship presented by Morongo Casino Resort & Spa, as the Sweden native is well ahead of the field at 9-under par overall.
In 2016, Haglund graduated from SMU and then played on the Ladies European Tour (LET) Access Series. She went on to earn her LET card for 2017 after finishing second in the Access Series points standings.
Haglund’s best finish last season was a tied for eighth result at Estrella Damm Mediterranean Ladies Open. Now, playing in her first-ever Symetra Tour event after a year on the LET, Haglund has her sights set on the LPGA Tour
“I’m going to mix it up this year, but I want to play the most of Symetra Tour and then some big events in Europe,” said Haglund.
While at SMU, she was a four-year all-conference selection and completed her collegiate career as the Mustangs’ all-time scoring average leader (73.55). In addition, Haglund won the inaugural American Athletic Conference (AAC) Championship in 2014 and was runner-up in 2013.
“For me, it’s like coming back to college a little bit,” Haglund said. “I’m familiar with the U.S. and the courses. College is a good way to get that experience from playing in the states.”
Even though she spent four years in Dallas, it’s Sweden that will always be home for Haglund. With a total of 11 players from the nation competing in the IOA Championship this week, however, Beaumont is starting to feel as close to home as it can get.
“It’s fun to have all my friends here. We all grew up playing together,” said Haglund. “It has been the Swedish golf team’s goal to get a lot of people over to the U.S. and that is why all of us are on Symetra Tour right now, a few even on LPGA Tour as rookies.”
Quiet Morning Gives Way to Windy Afternoon
When it comes to weather at the Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon, it has been fairly consistent over the first couple days for the 3rd annual IOA Championship.
Throughout the morning and just until the afternoon wave of competitors begin play, conditions have been clear, quiet and peaceful. Once the clock strikes noon, winds have picked up anywhere between 10-15 mph, making the course relatively more difficult for the later pairings.
“It was nice to get nine holes with relatively low winds,” said Brittany Marchand (Mississauga, Ontario), who went off at 8:37 a.m. and fired a 4-under par in the second round. “The greens are still really firm though, so you need to play smart. You still have to account for a large first bounce, but I would say that when it’s windy, you have to account for the greens holding less.”
Of the 62 players that made the cut, those who played in the morning session today cumulatively shot 19-over par. Meanwhile, the individuals that went out in the afternoon and made the cut carded a cumulative score of 51-over par.
The numbers don’t lie, but maintaining a strong mental edge is still a big part of finding low numbers.
“It was blowing harder in the beginning,” said Grace Na, who started at 1:38 p.m. and carded a 2-under par. “I think it’s fun though, playing in the wind. Definitely challenges a lot of the players and I think it’s a mental battle.”
Furthermore, only eight players from the afternoon that made the cut were in the red. On the other hand, 11 individuals went under par in the morning group.
“Whether it’s blowing 30 (mph) tomorrow or perfect, I don’t really care,” Na said laughingly. “I’m just really relaxed and having faith right now is really what I’m focusing on. I think that’s what has kept me even keel. I don’t really have expectations and I’m blessed to be out here.”
Jenny Haglund's Round 2 Interview