FINKELSTEIN SNAGS 36-HOLE ADVANTAGE IN SUNSHINE STATE
LONGWOOD, Fla. — A solid moving day from Dana Finkelstein (Chandler, Arizona) that featured a bogey-free, 7-under par 64 launched her to the top of the fifth annual IOA Classic leaderboard after the second round at 11-under par overall.
The UNLV alumna takes a one-stroke advantage into the final round tomorrow at Alaqua Country Club.
“It was a good day out there and I like the position I’m in,” said Finkelstein, who recorded an eagle on No. 16 to go along with five birdies. “I played solid today and missed just two greens, maybe three. Ball striking has been really good and rolling in some putts. The eagle really kind of got the round going.”
For Finkelstein, it is the same spot she was in entering the final round of the Garden City Charity Classic three weeks ago. She held a one-shot lead after two days of competition and was under the spotlight in the final pairing before finishing tied for second.
This time around, the current No. 14 in the Volvik Race for the Card said she is better prepared to handle the situation and knows what to expect.
“Garden City was a good learning experience,” Finkelstein added. “I had nerves that week and I’m sure I’ll have nerves tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll be able to handle those a little bit better than I did a few weeks ago. I want to go out and play my best to see what happens.”
Meanwhile, after a second straight round in the IOA Golf Classic of 5-under par 66 with seven birdies and two bogeys, Ruixin Liu (Dalian, China) will join Finkelstein in the last group off No. 1 tee at 1:10 p.m. ET tomorrow. Liu pointed to the flatstick as the major key to her success the past couple days.
“I felt even more comfortable with my putting especially since yesterday was so awesome,” said Liu, who has averaged 29 putts per round this week. “Today was not as good as yesterday, but better than my average. Every time I go on the green I feel like I have a birdie chance.”
Already a champion on the Symetra Tour this season, it is something she can lean on at all times throughout the final round tomorrow. However, Liu won the Island Resort Championship coming out of the fourth to last pairing.
“I haven’t played in the final group this year at all and have not had this experience for quite a while,” Liu said. “I know anything can happen and just want to play my own game. Every time I think about the results it doesn’t end well. I just hope my putting is close to the point of today, not expecting it to be better because it has already been pretty good. Going to relax and have a calm time out there.”
A total of 64 players made the cut of 1-over par and will tackle the final round beginning at 8 a.m. ET tomorrow. All play is set to start off No. 1 tee.
KWAK ATTACK AT ALAQUA COUNTRY CLUB
The only player to outshine Dana Finkelstein’s 7-under par 64 performance this afternoon was Min Seo Kwak (Seoul, Republic of Korea), who did so in dramatic fashion.
Yesterday, Dottie Ardina (Laguna, Philippines) tied the 18-hole IOA Golf Classic tournament scoring record of 8-under par 63, set by Madeleine Sheils (Boise, Idaho) and Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong (Buengkan, Thailand) in the second round of the 2015 edition at Alaqua Country Club. Today, Kwak went off with a bogey-free, 10-under par 61 showing to rewrite the record books and claim the course record.
“I didn’t know, was just hoping to make the cut today,” said Kwak, who enters the final round at 9-under par overall. “Yesterday was reading my putts really bad and did not know how to hit the ball on the right line. Today, I just trusted my line, rolled it and went in every time. That’s how it worked.”
Her previous career-best score to par was 7-under, another mark she destroyed. Kwak said the good start today really fueled her, as she went out in 6-under par 29 fashion thanks to four birdies and an eagle.
“First hole I made my putt and then third hole I made my eagle putt, thought what an awesome day and played really good after that,” Kwak said. “I didn’t know I was playing that good until I saw the leaderboard on No. 13 and then I kept finding birdies. I wanted a two-digit number under par and got there. I’m sure it will stay for awhile.”
Tomorrow, Kwak will be joined by Pavarisa Yoktuan (Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand) in the penultimate pairing at 1 p.m. ET off No. 1 tee.
With her amazing second round result now in the rearview, it is all about the next day. Sitting currently at No. 11 in the Volvik Race for the Card, however, Kwak is poised to jump into the top-10 if she can maintain her position on the leaderboard in Longwood.
“I don’t think about leading or winning after I play golf,” said Kwak. “During the round I try to see the leaderboard and go better than any of the top numbers. I know I have to make a certain amount of money, but when I’m playing I only focus on my shots.”