FORMER CHAMPION FINKELSTEIN IN FAMILIAR SPOT
GARDEN CITY, Kan. — It’s déjà vu for Dana Finkelstein (Chandler, Arizona), who was the 36-hole leader the last time she competed at the Garden City Charity Classic in 2016 and heads into tomorrow’s final round with the solo advantage at 12-under par overall.
A bogey-free, 6-under par today served as the second consecutive 66 carded by the UNLV alumna, helping place her atop the leaderboard.
“The course is definitely playing easier this time around, the wind is not terrible and the greens are really soft,” said Finkelstein, No. 22 in the Volvik Race for the Card. “The rough is still really penalizing if you miss the fairways. I am going to have to go out tomorrow and attack the golf course. Even par is not going to get it done, so I will have to shoot at least 4-under par because I know someone is going to chase me.”
Meanwhile, four players fired rounds of 7-under par 65 this afternoon, the best score to come out of the second round. The group included August Kim (St. Augustine, Florida), Madison Pressel (Boca Raton, Florida), Matilda Castren (Kauniainen, Finland) and Marta Sanz Barrio (Madrid, Spain).
Kim heads into the final round as the closest competitor to Finkelstein at 11-under par overall. She signed a bogey-free scorecard when the dust settled at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course.
“I told myself that I wanted to start on the offense and finish on the offense and I think I did a good job,” said Kim, currently 26th in the Volvik Race for the Card standings. “There is a lot of low scores on this golf course, so I think even tomorrow is going to take every bit of the same effort. Last week was bad for me and I changed my gameplan a little bit. It’s working so far and I’ll stick to what I have done.”
The third piece to the final pairing is Pressel. After a Symetra Tour career-best showing today, she’ll join Finkelstein and Kim off No. 1 tee at 9:50 a.m. CT tomorrow morning.
“Anytime you shoot 65—and it has been a long time since I have done that—it gives you a lot of confidence going into no matter what comes next,” said Pressel, who held the clubhouse lead when she finished her round today. “Knowing that I put myself in the lead position at some point during the day is really going to help me. Tomorrow I know I can make all the birdies and give myself a chance.”
Tied with Pressel for third place is Becca Huffer (Denver, Colorado). In addition, a group of five individuals are three strokes back of the lead at 9-under par.
A total of 65 players made the cut of 3-under par, besting the 2017 cut by nine strokes. Final round action begins at 8 a.m. CT tomorrow with players going off No. 1 and No. 10 tees in threesomes.
SPONSOR EXEMPTION SON THRIVING IN SUNFLOWER STATE
In her first Symetra Tour event, 17-year-old amateur Yujeong Son (Busan, Republic of Korea) is revealing why she earned a sponsor exemption for the Garden City Charity Classic.
The LPGA Qualifying Tournament Stage I winner is tied for 26th after two rounds in the Sunflower State at 5-under par overall. Son said she entered this tournament with a particular goal in mind.
“Top-15, and now maybe top-10 if I play really well tomorrow,” Son said after going 2-under par today. “I think it is good to play here before Stage II and I didn’t know what to expect before coming. All I wanted was to make the cut, honestly.”
This isn’t the first professional event for Son, who competed in the 2017 Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship and also the U.S. Women’s Open earlier this year. With roughly two months between Stage I and Stage II of Q-School, Son finds this opportunity as one to maintain her focus.
“I think playing with professionals at Stage I really helped me here, and this is good preparation for Stage II,” said Son. “Since I have so much time off, it is nice to have a tournament between and the fact this is a professional event makes it even better preparation.”
Son heads off No. 1 tee tomorrow at 8 a.m. CT with Kristin Coleman (Rolling Hills Estates, California) and Jennifer Ha (Calgary, Alberta, Canada). The opportunity to this point is one that has Son eager for the next step in her golf journey.
“I like it actually and even if I don’t make it all the way to Q-Series, I feel like it will be good to play a year on the Symetra Tour before hopefully playing on the LPGA,” Son said. “It is definitely a good learning experience.”