FERNANDEZ CANO USES PATIENCE TO CLIMB THE LEADERBOARD
A second round 7-under par 65 from Fatima Fernandez Cano (Santiago de Compostela, Spain) in the IOA Championship presented by Morongo Casino Resort & Spa was highlighted by nine birdies on Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon. The performance by the third-year Symetra Tour pro gives her the 36-hole advantage, a one-shot lead heading into the final round.
“I’ve always been pretty optimistic, but the way I go about things mentally has changed a little bit,” said Fernandez Cano. “I’m happy to just be out here, but I am focusing on being more patient this year. My swing feels great and my putting is getting there, it has always held me back a little bit. My driving has also gotten a little longer and that helps, but overall I would say staying patient has made a big impact.”
Fernandez Cano has claimed two top-10 finishes in two starts this year. The first came in March with a tied for sixth result at Florida’s Natural Charity Classic and the second—a solo fourth showing—last week in Mesa, Ariz., for the inaugural Founders Tribute. She has been in contention several times on the Symetra Tour and tomorrow, Fernandez Cano will look to finish the job for her first “Road to the LPGA” title.
“I'm happy to be out here after the long break. Five months of being home made me more thankful and grateful of what I do,” Fernandez Cano said. “I'm just having a great time. It's very easy to get ahead of myself, so tomorrow I'll stay patient, take my chances when I have them and play smart.”
AIME NOT MISSING A BEAT
After a tied for eighth result at Florida’s Natural Charity Classic, Julie Aime (Nice, France) joined fellow Tour members in a four-month hiatus from Symetra Tour competition. Even so, she has picked up right where she left off, as back-to-back rounds of 4-under par 68 have the Lamar University alumna joining the final pairing in Beaumont, Calif., just one shot back of the lead.
“It’s such a mental game, you need to accept that is how it is,” said Aime, who recorded five birdies this afternoon. “I have been trying to get my game where it was in Winter Haven. It’s tough to try and copy what you are doing when you are having a good day, so I just try to keep my momentum. I have added a few things to my bag since the spring, but I am really happy with my putter.”
Aime credits a large part of her success to the steady work from her caddy, especially in dealing with the challenging hills and elevation changes around Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon.
“Xavier has been caddying for me since I turned pro in 2016, really been an evolution and we work great together,” Aime said. “I am really fortunate to have him on the bag this week. I wasn’t with him last year, and it was a tough walk. It drains your energy and makes it tough to focus on what you have to do out there. I am pretty sure he is exhausted so we will get rested and ready for tomorrow.”
REDDING WORKS THROUGH PRESSURE AFTER HOLDING OVERNIGHT LEAD
Following a career-best 8-under par 64 on day one, Anna Redding (Concord, North Carolina) battled a few nerves and some newfound pressure from holding the overnight lead when she started her second round in the first grouping off No. 1 tee. It was all an unexpected lesson for the rookie on the “Road to the LPGA” and one she managed, staying within two strokes of the lead at 7-under overall.
“I tried to keep the same mindset as yesterday, but there was a little bit of pressure just because it is a new situation for me,” Redding said after a 1-over par 73. “I came out swinging today, but I just didn’t have putts fall like they were yesterday.”
Redding sits in a tie for third with Greta Voelker (Witten, Germany), who shot 4-under 68 thanks to an eagle and four birdies to round out the final pairing tomorrow. Meanwhile, Redding continues to keep a positive mindset and fresh outlook with only 18 holes left to play in Riverside County.
“Each day is a new day, that is for sure,” said Redding. “I knew that going into today, but for now, that means tomorrow is a completely new day as well. Yes, I had a personal record, but came back not as strong. Tomorrow is wide open for anything to happen.”
Laetitia Beck (-6, T5) on leaving the past behind her:
“This course, we can go low and I hope to go low tomorrow because someone will to win tomorrow. I know yesterday was great, today was just unlucky I guess, golf is a new day every day. What happened today doesn’t mean anything. I am going to practice a bit and I’m sure I will play better tomorrow, hope to finish stronger than I did last year [with a final round 5-over par 77].”
Sierra Brooks (-6, T5) on learning during each round in her rookie season:
“I feel good, it’s all I could ask for is to put myself in a good position. We did the same thing and stuck to our gameplan and I was able to bounce back from a couple shots out there. I’ve learned a lot this year. I really haven’t played consecutive golf tournaments like this and I feel like I’m finally starting to get my game into a groove, understanding that my swing is my swing and I need to just play my game.”
Kim Kaufman (-5, 8th) on her playing partners during the first couple days:
“It was super fun to see Sarah White come up, win and show what the Women’s All Pro Tour (WAPT) can do. You see in her playing that golf is getting deeper on the women’s side, which is what we need. I had never met Lucy Li before, but she is awesome. I learned she is going to double major in college, she is really smart, and she is only 17. She composed herself really well out here the last two days.”
Fatima Fernandez Cano
- Born October 23, 1995
- Fernandez Cano is a native of Santiago de Compostela, Spain
- Four-time All-Sun Belt First Team selection for Troy University
- Eight-time medalist including 2014 Sun Belt Conference Championship
- Named the 2014 Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year for the Trojans
- Sun Belt Conference Women’s Golfer of the Year and set Troy single-season scoring average record (72.79) in 2016
- Finished T101 at Stage II of the 2017 LPGA Qualifying Tournament to first earn Symetra Tour membership as a 2018 rookie
- Secured a Symetra Tour career-best result of 3rd at the 2018 Prasco Charity Championship
- Made 15 cuts across 21 starts on the Symetra Tour in 2019 with a season-best finish of 5th at the Garden City Charity Classic