FLORIDA NATIVE WAGNER TAKES FIRST ROUND LEAD
Samantha Wagner (Windermere, Florida) is in the lead following a 7-under par 64 on day one of the IOA Golf Classic presented by HomeValue.com. The Florida native carded her career-best opening round, including eight birdies.
“Wow. I think the most birdies I have had in a row was four. Even my playing partners were laughing every time I made putts. It was great, I was hitting it really well and feeling really confident today,” said Wagner. “Tomorrow I am going to just keep sticking to my game plan. It’s really all I did today. I wasn’t pressing for birdies, I just kept giving myself opportunities, staying patient until it worked out.”
Wagner missed the first cut of the season at the Florida's Natural Charity Classic before the Tour took a break due to COVID-19. After her hard work in the winter off-season, Wagner was pleased to have more time to improve her game.
“With all the swing changes I’ve made, this year had been really nice to work on that and grow my confidence,” said Wagner. “I actually sent my swing coach videos yesterday and he said it’s the best he has even seen me swing. Even though there was a low bar after last year, he really helps build my confidence.”
TARDY COMES IN STRONG OFF FIRST LPGA TOUR START
Joined by three others at 5-under 66, Bailey Tardy (Norcross, Georgia) goes into tomorrow tied for second and just two shots back. After finishing third at the Four Winds Invitational, the University of Georgia Alumna competed in her first LPGA Tour event at the Cambia Portland Classic.
“I wasn’t expecting to get into the event and then we weren’t able to practice, not the typical LPGA event, but I was happy to be out there competing,” Tarde said. “Both the LGPA and Cambia did a great job keeping us safe and getting us out there to play. I didn’t play very well, and I only missed the cut by one, so that proved to me that I can compete out there and that’s where I belong.”
This year, Tardy has captured three top-10 finishes, including season best solo second at the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship. Knowing what she is capable of, and focusing on how she has gotten here, Tardy is ready for the second round at Alaqua Country Club.
“I don’t put much pressure on myself. We had two off weeks, and the first one I didn’t touch a club. I try to look at the positives, I didn’t look at missing the cut last week as a negative, because I thought I did play solid,” said Tardy. “I am playing the game that I love. In the long run, I am healthy, I am playing golf, I have this opportunity and I am just trying to take advantage of it.”
STEPHENSON KEEPING THE MOMENTUM GOING
In her first appearance on the Symetra Tour since Battle Creek, MI, Lauren Stephenson (Lexington, SC) starts the weekend with a 3-under par 68 under her belt. The Alabama University alumna made four cuts in seven starts on the LPGA Tour this year and finished solo eighth at the Symetra Tour’s FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship.
“It’s been very interesting, as it has for everyone. I felt like the beginning of year I started off really well fixing things in my game and trending in the right direction and then we just stopped,” said Stephenson. “After five months, we had to pick it back up, which has been bit tough for me, but I finally feel like I am getting in a groove now, so I just want to play as much as I can.”
Stephenson is eager to capitalize on momentum she has built since the tours returned. Between breaks in the schedule on both tours, playing this week was the best decision in her mind to continue the work she has been doing.
“I just thought this was the perfect opportunity to keep the momentum going since we have Canada off,” she said. “I am happy to be able to come here and continue getting better, especially because I like to keep playing rather than weeks being on and then off.”
Sophia Schubert (-5, T2) on working onher putting:
“It felt great today. I just got a new Evnroll putter, and that's what I've been kind of struggling with this year.. TToday I went out andand had a lot more confidence. Normally I hit a lot of fairways and greens and it's the putting that's kind of lacking,, so having a a new putter and having that in the bag, I do think gave me a lot more confidence and kind of took some stress off of the other parts my game.”
Casey Danielson (-4, T6) on playing with confidence:
“I had a thirteen-hour travel day to get here and also adjust to the time, then the grass and the heat. The way the two courses play are so different, but this is my third year at this event, and I do feel comfortable here. I got off to an interesting start, I had a double on my second hole, just getting use to the putting here. I think that is the most different for me. The grain, the Bermuda, and the speed, it’s just a whole different ball game than Oregon and what I am used to. After that, I felt like I got in a groove. The more you play in Florida the more you get used to it.”
Haylee Harford (-4, T6) on bouncing back from two missed cuts:
“It was a really solid day for me, I didn’t have any bogeys which was nice. I did leave a few out there making the turn, so that was a little frustrating, but I just tried to stay patient and was able to make a few more coming in. I knew I had a solid round. I had so many puts today that lipped out, so it felt good for that one to go right down the middle on the last hole.”
- Wagner is a native of Windermere, Florida
- Qualified for the 2015 U.S. Women’s Open as an amateur
- Named to the 2015 Junior Golf World Cup Team, helping the U.S. to a fourth-place finish and finishing eighth individually, the highest U.S. finisher
- University of Florida standout was named the 2016 All-SEC Freshman Team
- Member of the 2012 Junior Ryder Cup (USA)
- Member of the 2013 Junior Solheim Cup (USA)