TAN IN GROOVE THANKS TO REALITY SHOW
When the second round seemed to be casually winding down, Kelly Tan (Batu Pahat, Malaysia) had other plans. Following a back nine start, she made five birdies over her final five holes to charge up the leaderboard and snag the outright 36-hole lead at 11-under par overall.
“Last week I was really excited starting the season out on the Symetra Tour, but I didn’t shoot a good round on day one,” said Tan, who has three consecutive rounds under par since. “I think I found a little something to boost up my confidence and I took that with me into this week, just working on my driver. It felt really good and I made a lot of putts as well.”
Thanks to a reality show opportunity over two weeks in early February, Tan is settling into a groove sooner than normal. “Cinderella Story of KLPGA” is produced by QSM and airs on Astro Super Sports (the Asian equivalent of DirecTV). There are 10 competitors from eight different countries including China, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, Brazil, Hong Kong and Malaysia. The format is very similar to Golf Channel’s “Big Break.”
Tan is not allowed to share information on the results, but final episodes will be available on YouTube starting April 8. In the meantime, she’ll continue to use the momentum from some preseason competition.
WEARN SHOWING SHADES OF CHAMPIONSHIP DAYS
Coming off a missed cut to open the season at the SKYiGOLF Championship where she shot a two-day total of 11-over par, Laura Wearn (Charlotte, North Carolina) is showcasing a short memory and quickly putting the performance behind her.
Through two rounds of Florida’s Natural Charity Classic, the Furman University alumna is holding down solo second position at 10-under par, a whopping 21 shots better than how she fared last week.
“It is really nice to see myself put a couple good rounds together and be back in contention,” said Wearn, a past Symetra Tour champion at the 2016 Gosling’s Dark ‘n Stormy Classic. “I think just knowing you can do it makes a big difference, but there’s so much golf left and a bunch of people right at the top of the leaderboard. I know I have to play well tomorrow.”
RUNAS COMES OUT OF THE GATE FIRING
Starting on the back nine today, Demi Runas (Torrance, California) came out guns blazing to the tune of a bogey-free, 6-under par 30 beat when she made the turn. The hot start included a hole out from 136 yards on the par-4 16th and a near ace on No. 17.
“I really like the layout of the golf course, it’s kind of old school and I have to place the golf ball off the tee which I really like,” Runas said. “I think it’s a good equalizer that it’s not super wide open. There are some holes where you need to think your way around it, especially on some of the approach shots. Be conservative when you need to be and then attack when you can.”
Runas collected her ninth career Symetra Tour top-10 at the SKYiGOLF Championship and looks to reach double digits with a strong final round tomorrow. She will be joined by Katelyn Sepmoree (Tyler, Texas) in the penultimate pairing off No. 1 tee at 1:40 p.m. ET.
Leona Maguire (-8, T4) on the back nine and par-5 scoring:
“I’ve just been hitting some good shots on it. I think it’s maybe a touch shorter, some of the front holes are decently long so not quite as many chances on the front side. There’s three par-5s on the back which is always nice, birdied all of them today and that always helps. I’ve been trying to get my par-5 scoring down and it has been good this week, makes a big difference.”
Leona Maguire (-8, T4) on having sister Lisa as her caddy this week:
“She knows my clubs better than anybody and she’s been reading my putts for me as well, which is probably helping. Just trying to hit it on the line she’s telling me. She knows my game better than anybody and we get along really well. It’s always nice to have someone like that on the bag.”
Maude-Aimee Leblanc (-7, T7) on being a veteran and competing against the younger players:
“I feel like the younger players kind of play like they don’t care, so they’re kind of like pressure free a little bit more. It’s always an experience, either you’re a veteran or not to be in contention on Sunday. I haven’t been in a while, so we will see.”
Lindsey McCurdy (-6, 10th) on her consistency and comfort level in second season on the Symetra Tour:
“Mostly because of the short game, I feel like my ball striking actually hasn’t been where I want it to be. The putter is working enough for me to still shoot good scores. This was my first event ever on the Symetra Tour last year, so I was pretty nervous and trying to figure things out. I knew this year I wanted to do a little better now that I know what I’m doing.”
Maia Schechter (-5, T11) on trying to rebound after a double bogey on No. 18 to close the second round:
“Talk to my coach and figure out how to better approach these par-5s. I was 4-over on them today. That is just not very good and will be my change in gameplan for tomorrow is how to play these par-5s. For the rest of the day just workout and hit some tee shots because I didn’t feel so good off the tee. Ball striking was generally pretty good, putting was really good. Tomorrow, it’s really just hit some solid shots and get a feel for the speed of the greens, always have a tap-in for par and make a few.”
- Tan, 25, is a native of Batu Pahat, Malaysia
- Three-time winner of the Malaysian Ladies Open as an amateur
- Finished T13 at the Final Stage of the 2013 LPGA Qualifying Tournament to earn Priority List Category 12 membership for the 2014 LPGA Tour season, turned professional immediately after completing the event
- Represented her native country at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games and finished solo 51st
- 2018 was first year on the Symetra Tour and played in 16 events with a season-best T22 showing at the IOA Invitational
- Entering 2019, has made 62 starts on the LPGA Tour since rookie year in 2014 with a career-best result of T4 at the 2014 Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning & O-I
- Wearn, 27, is from Charlotte, North Carolina
- Ended her Furman University career with 12 top-10 finishes
- Two-time All-Southern Conference performer for the Paladins
- In 2013, was a Women’s Southern Amateur finalist and competed in U.S. Women’s Amateur
- Became a first-time Symetra Tour champion at the 2016 Gosling’s Dark ’n Stormy Classic
- 80 career starts on the “Road to the LPGA” entering 2019 with seven top-10 results
- Runas, 27, is from Torrance, California
- Led the University of California, Davis to four Big West Conference Championship titles
- Three-time Big West Conference Player of the Year and four-time All-Big West First Team
- In 2013, won the Big West Conference Championship individual title, named UC Davis Female Athlete of the Year and a Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) Second Team All-American
- Symetra Tour graduate as a rookie in 2014 thanks to five top-10 performances including two runner-up results to finish at No. 9 on the official money list
- Enters the 2019 Symetra Tour season having made the cut in 34-of-44 career starts on the “Road to the LPGA” with eight top-10s
- Total of 45 career starts on the LPGA Tour with a career-best showing of T25 at the 2016 Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give