HE EXITS SECOND ROUND SAME WAY SHE ENTERED: LEADING
MAINEVILLE, Ohio — After 36 holes in the inaugural Prasco Charity Championship at TPC River’s Bend, Muni He (Chengdu, China) is once again the player to chase, as the 18-hole leader carded a 3-under par 69 today to take a one-stroke advantage into the final round.
“Being able to hold my lead makes me feel pretty good about going into tomorrow,” said He, who found three birdies and an eagle, but surrendered a double bogey on the afternoon. “The course is scoreable for anyone, so I feel like any of the girls could go pretty low. A one-stroke advantage probably isn’t that big of an advantage at all. Going into tomorrow, I just really want to focus on my own game and not being too stressed out over the numbers.”
Meanwhile, there was a couple individuals that made big leaps up the leaderboard, one of them being Becca Huffer (Denver, Colorado) The University of Notre Dame alumna fired a 6-under par 66, highlighted by seven birdies and only one bogey. Huffer will join He in the final pairing tomorrow at 12:20 p.m. ET off No. 1 tee.
“This is the first week that I really feel comfortable over all my shots,” said Huffer. “Feeling that way and then actually executing it this week is awesome. I am just excited to be in the hunt. I’m hitting some nice shots, putting really well and taking advantage of the good shots when I can.”
Another player with a strong showing this afternoon was Jillian Hollis (Rocky River, Ohio), who carded the round of the day with a bogey-free, 7-under par performance. It helped her climb from tied for 28th to tied for third.
“I think it is all about experience, getting in that high-pressure situation, and the more of those I can get in gives me more practice,” said Hollis, making just her third career Symetra Tour start. “I love being at the top of the leaderboard because you’re nervous, but every time you get a little less nervous and it’s just cool to be able to play for a win.”
Leslie Cloots (Antwerp, Belgium) comprises the other half of the penultimate group. She went 3-under par today and sits at 8-under overall.
Also finding herself in contention at the same mark as Hollis and Cloots is Samantha Troyanovich (Grosse Pointe, Michigan). Playing in just her third Symetra Tour tournament this season, the former Tulane University standout has spent most of the year on the LPGA Tour with her conditional status. Nonetheless, that hasn’t changed Troyanovich’s outlook.
“It is awesome and I think anytime you can put yourself in contention, regardless of where you are playing, is really good experience,” said Troyanovich, who recorded three birdies, an eagle and a double bogey today. “Getting tournament reps under pressure is only a positive. You are either going to win or you are going to learn, so I’ll take either.”
A total of 60 players made the cut of even par for the inaugural Prasco Charity Championship, including local amateur talent Alexandra Swayne (Maineville, Ohio). The graduate of Kings High School made birdies on her last two holes to sneak into the final round of her first professional tournament right on the cut line.
Swayne will be one of 59 competitors chasing He come tomorrow, who will look to become the first wire-to-wire winner on the Symetra Tour this year.
“Although I shot 3-under today and a lot less compared to yesterday, I feel like my game was still pretty decent,” He said. “I had one bad hole and that was what it took to take a few strokes down. I think just really keeping consistent with my tempo and not focusing on my mistakes will be the key tomorrow.”
KNIGHT MAKES FOURTH CUT IN FOURTH CAREER SYMETRA TOUR START
It was a tale of two nines today for Cheyenne Knight (Aledo, Texas), but the former University of Alabama star still finished the second round at 1-under par to enter the final day tied for 11th at 5-under overall.
In her fourth career Symetra Tour start, it is the fourth cut Knight has made. Over that span she has finishes of tied for 13th, tied for 29th and tied for 15th, respectively.
“Each tournament I play really steady,” said Knight. “I haven’t shot over par in any round of my tournaments out here. Making the cut this week was huge because I am just so fatigued. It really makes me feel that I can play out here and compete.”
Today, Knight came out guns blazing with four straight birdies to open her round. Then she traded a birdie on No. 6 for a bogey on No. 7 to go out in 4-under par 32.
“All those putts were in the dead center of the hole, they didn’t lip or anything,” Knight said in reference to her hot start. “The hole was pretty big when I was looking at it on the front nine. After that, the breaks were not going my way, but I still shot under par even though the back nine was not what I wanted.”
The momentum slowed as Knight battled her way to a string of pars, with three bogeys on the side, for a 3-over par coming in. It was a back nine where the putts didn’t drop as the temperatures soared.
However, it simply lights a fire under her for a big showing tomorrow.
“I was super frustrated,” said Knight. “I really just have to take away the positives from it, which is really hard to do right now, but I still have a chance. I played however many great holes of golf and I missed only three greens. The putts did not fall on the last few holes, but that’s golf sometimes.”
Knight will look to continue the front nine magic and get revenge on the back nine when she begins the final round tomorrow at 11 a.m. ET off No. 1 tee.
MUNI HE SECOND ROUND INTERVIEW