ITURRIOS CONTINUES HOT STREAK, CLAIMS 18-HOLE ADVANTAGE
In her second year competing on the Symetra Tour, Nuria Iturrios (Palma de Mallorca, Spain) fired a “Road to the LPGA” career-low score to par of 6-under par 66 today in the first round of the eighth annual Symetra Classic at River Run Country Club.
“There are still 36 holes to play, so I just want to keep playing like that and make the putts because I made ones I didn’t last week,” said Iturrios, who recorded seven birdies and one bogey. “I really like the course. Last year it was so wet and we didn’t play the last round. I really enjoy it and have the best host family here. It fits me well so let’s keep enjoying.”
The 23-year-old Spaniard is now seeing results stateside translate from her outstanding performances on the Ladies European Tour earlier this year. In the span of a week, Iturrios won the Lalla Meryem Cup on April 28 and Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic on May 3. Capturing back-to-back titles has instilled a confidence and passion that is paving the way for her success.
“I’m happy and let’s keep going,” Iturrios said with a smile. “I’m playing good, so solid with the irons and I made a lot of putts on LET. If I keep my mind like this, I can win whenever.”
SPONSOR EXEMPTION SAMBACH RIGHT AMONG THE CONTENDERS
Holding down the fort in solo second and only one shot back of the lead is 16-year-old tournament sponsor exemption Amanda Sambach (Davidson, North Carolina), one of two amateurs in the 144-player field. She carded a bogey-free, 5-under par 67 this afternoon.
“Last year I didn’t play my best, so to come out and play really well in the first round feels really good,” said Sambach, who competed in the event as a tournament sponsor exemption in 2018 but missed the cut with rounds of 79 and 74. “The biggest thing I learned is that I can compete with them. They are the best of the best and I psyched myself out last year. A good attitude coming in was really important.”
A native to Mecklenburg County and currently No. 8 in the Rolex American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) Rankings, Sambach lives on the 14th hole at River Run Country Club. Furthermore, she is verbally committed to play for the University of Virginia starting in the fall of 2021.
“I’ve been playing this course for a couple years now, I think I play maybe once or twice per week,” Sambach said. “It’s an awesome course and I love it. They are playing it pretty long this week and I’m a pretty good ball striker, so I think that helped me today.”
JOHANSSON FINDS FORM IN FIRST START SINCE EARLY APRIL
Finally healthy, Linnea Johansson (Bastad, Sweden) is in Davidson, N.C. and making her first start on the Symetra Tour since the Windsor Golf Classic in Windsor, Calif. last month when she captured a tied for 23rd result.
Three days before her flight from Sweden to the United States for the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout, Johansson was practicing and tweaked a disc in her lower back. The injury forced her to the sidelines, but time away most certainly rejuvenated the former three-time All-Big 12 performer for Oklahoma State University as she went 4-under par in round one.
“Feels great to be back out there playing,” said Johansson, who found her way to an eagle, four birdies and two bogeys. “I’m super happy with that, was just trying to enjoy it and take one shot at a time. I haven’t been able to practice much because of my injury. Today though, I’ll take it. The course is in great shape. It was fun out there and I had a lot of good numbers that made it easy to get close to the flag.”
Perrine Delacour (-4, T3) on the layout of River Run Country Club:
"You really need to put the drive in the right spot to have a good angle at the pin. The greens are pretty firm so it is hard to put spin. I putted really good, didn’t make any bogeys. Other than that, the course is nice and I like the layout. Reminds me of Kingsmill, which I love so there are good vibes.”
Fatima Fernandez Cano (-4, T3) on starting strong with a solid opening round:
"I’ve been playing really good the last couple weeks, just had some very high scores here and there for some reason. Of course, getting off to a good start helps. You can’t win on the first day, but you can totally lose it and I didn’t do that today which is an improvement from the previous tournaments. Hopefully it is a head start for the week and we can do better tomorrow and the day after.”
Eun Jeong Seong (-3, 6th) on her goals and focus heading into the Symetra Classic:
"Before this tournament, my shot and everything was terrible. But, I did the same thing with practice and focus on every shot. My starts were really bad and it made me not want to play anymore. I have a goal to make six birdies and if I get a bogey, then I just focus on my birdie. That was my key today.”
- Iturrios, 23, is a native of Palma de Mallorca, Spain
- Member of the Ladies European Tour (LET) since 2016 with total of 36 starts
- Stepped into winner’s circle for the first time as a professional at the 2016 Lalla Meryem Cup
- Rookie on the Symetra Tour in 2018 competed in 19 events and made 11 cuts with season-best T5 result at Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic
- Captured back-to-back LET tournament titles between late April and early May of 2019 at the Lalla Meryem Cup and Omega Dubai Moonlight Classic
- Played the weekend four times in five starts on the “Road to the LPGA” this year with a season-best performance of T14 at Florida’s Natural Charity Classic