ARDINA ALONE ATOP THE LEADERBOARD AFTER 18 HOLES
GLENDALE, Wis. — The opening round of the fourth annual PHC Classic could not have gone more smoothly for Dottie Ardina (Laguna, Philippines) as she turned in a bogey-free, 8-under par 64 to take a one-shot lead into the weekend at Brown Deer Park Golf Course.
“It was one of those days that it’s perfect yardage,” said Ardina, who hit all 18 greens in regulation and only recorded 28 putts this afternoon. “No in between clubs, making a lot of putts, hitting it closer to the hole and having fun out there.”
Currently No. 1 in the Volvik Race for the Card, Ardina has positioned herself nicely for a weekend run at her first career Symetra Tour win. So far this season, she has finished solo second on two occasions and tied for second one other time.
Even with her spot in the rankings, Ardina is focused on that coveted first win which has eluded her this year. Today’s start has her believing now is the time.
“The course is not too long for me,” Ardina said. “I hit a lot of 7-irons, which is like my comfortable approaching shot. The par-5s, even though my third shots are close from 80-85 yards, I’m really comfortable with the length of this course. It really suits my game.”
Meanwhile, just one shot back of Ardina is Karolina Vlckova (Kladno, Czech Republic). The former University of Florida standout has played in all 13 events this season, missing only two cuts along the way. This afternoon, Vlckova tied a season-best round of 7-under par 65, set in the first round of the Forsyth Classic where she went on to finish tied for 36th.
With the PHC Classic serving as the official United States qualifier for The Evian Championship from Sept. 13-16 in Evian-les-Bains, France, the top-two finishers this week earn exemption into the fifth and final major on the LPGA Tour schedule. However, Vlckova has opted to remove her name from consideration for the invite if she were to maintain her spot on the leaderboard.
“I don’t want to miss any events because I want to give myself a chance to get full LPGA membership for 2019,” said Vlckova, currently No. 43 in the Volvik Race for the Card. “To play in The Evian Championship, I would have to miss two weeks. It’s not going to count toward my rankings, so if I want to give myself a chance for getting the card and being in the top-10, I need to play in at least five of the last six events. I earn my card then I can play next year.”
Furthermore, within striking distance is most recent Symetra Tour champion Kendall Dye (Edmond, Oklahoma). The Okie is coming off her third career title on the official qualifying tour of the LPGA at the Fuccillo Kia Classic of NY in Albany on July 29.
She carded seven birdies and only one bogey on her way to a 6-under par 66 today, the best mark from the morning wave of competitors.
“I like to see my name at the top of the leaderboard for sure,” said Dye. “Confidence is everything. If you don’t have confidence, any course can be your worst enemy. These greens are way firmer and way faster than Albany, but when the cup looks like a basketball hoop then life is good. Hopefully we get another one.”
A total of 60 players sit at 1-under par or better after day one and action picks up tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. CT with a cut to the low 60 players and ties to be made following the round.
DOTTIE ARDINA OPENING ROUND INTERVIEW
KENDALL DYE OPENING ROUND INTERVIEW
BOBBI AND STEVE STRICKER OPENING ROUND INTERVIEW