Christmas might come early this year for Frida Kinhult (Fiskebackskil, Sweden), the 54-hole leader of the Symetra Tour Championship, as her family recently promised her a Trackman system if she is able to find the winner’s circle. The Florida State University alumna will take a six-shot lead into the final round after carding a 3-under par 69 this afternoon at River Run Country Club in Davidson, N.C.
“TrackMan is in play. We were sitting down as a family late last year when I decided to turn pro and my family is very competitive, so we like to bet on things,” said Kinhult, who is 8-under overall. “The deal for me was either amount of money earned, but that’s hard when I only played eight events, or the other is with a win. That would be sweet for the offseason.
“I tried not to think about my lead too much, just kept my routine. Sierra and Laura had rough starts, so I tried to think that someone else who was at 1- or 2-under overall was up there at 6-under today and I needed to catch them. I was trying to go for every pin which might be stupid sometimes, but it’s fun."
A TrackMan would be awesome, but a greater gift would be what Kinhult would get if she lands in the Volvik Race for the Card top five. She entered the week at No. 24 on the money list and needs a victory tomorrow to have a chance, as well as some help. Assuming the scenario does come to fruition, Kinhult would receive LPGA Tour membership for 2021 and a spot in the 2020 U.S. Women’s Open next month.
“Of course the U.S. Women’s Open would be sweet too,” Kinhult said. “I know Bailey Tardy and a couple others will be close if they have a good round tomorrow. I can’t control their scores and what they earn; I need to get the win and we’ll see what happens after that.
“I’ll keep doing what I am doing, keep the same routine. I played one hole a little safe today, gave myself a long, rough putt that I needed to save par. That was stupid and it’s hard on these greens if you are not inside 20 feet. I’ll stay aggressive and go for the pins.”
BROOKS EAGER TO TRY AND CHASE DOWN CLOSE FRIEND IN FINAL ROUND
At initial glimpse of the first and second round pairings on Sunday, Sierra Brooks (Orlando, Florida) had to experience some excitement that she would be competing in the same group as her close friend Frida Kinhult. The University of Florida alumna probably did not think that they would be paired in the same group all four rounds, however, which is the case at River Run Country Club for the 13th annual Symetra Tour Championship.
“Frida and I are very competitive people,” said Brooks, who is 2-under par overall. “Playing with her, we enjoy each other’s company but I think we both know that we are trying to kick each other’s butt at the end of the day. I think we can already feel it between the two of us, pushing each other and feeding off the other’s energy and good shots. There’s a title up for grabs tomorrow, so we’ll see what happens.”
Brooks managed to shoot even par this afternoon despite a rocky start and is tied for second with Laura Wearn (Charlotte, North Carolina), six shots back of Kinhult. She’ll look to try and chase down her close friend in the final round when the trio heads off No. 1 tee at 9:39 a.m. ET tomorrow.
“Course gave me a big smack on the third hole,” Brooks said. “I birdied my second hole and I was feeling good, been feeling good all week. I hit a drive down the fairway on the third hole then my second shot—the pin was tricky, you have to get it all the way back but the green rolls out—stayed short of the slope and four putts later, I walked off with a double. That’s what happened. I’m proud of the way I fought back after that and tried to stay patient, in the present moment, not get too ahead of myself. I’m proud of how I performed even with that.”
PROJECTED VOLVIK RACE FOR THE CARD TOP FIVE
The Symetra Tour annually awards LPGA Tour membership to the top players on the Volvik Race for the Card money list at the end of the season and will usher in the next graduating class on Friday once the Symetra Tour Championship concludes to cap 10 events on the 2020 calendar.
From 1999-2002, the official qualifying tour of the LPGA handed out three cards. Then from 2003-2007, that number increased to five before 10 were distributed starting in 2008. Five cards will be awarded at the end of the Symetra Tour Championship based on the total number of events on the restructured schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the inaugural year, a total of 157 players have graduated to the big stage. This year, the top five also earn exemption into the 2020 U.S. Women’s Open contested at Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas from Dec. 10-13.
With no positions officially secured, the battle in the Volvik Race for the Card top five is as heated as ever. Below is a projection of the top-10 based on the current Symetra Tour Championship leaderboard, along with each individual’s projected season money earnings total.
1. Ana Belac (Portoroz, Slovenia) - $48,833
2. Fatima Fernandez Cano (Santiago de Compostela, Spain) - $48,069
3. Laura Wearn (Charlotte, North Carolina) - $46,312
4. Kim Kaufman (Clark, South Dakota) - $43,568
5. Frida Kinhult (Fiskebackskil, Sweden) - $42,057
6. Bailey Tardy (Norcross, Georgia) - $41,070
7. Lucy Li (Redwood Shores, California) - $38,545
8. Janie Jackson (Huntsville, Alabama) - $38,512
9. Peiyun Chien (Pingtung, Chinese Taipei) - $37,738
10. Anna Redding (Concord, North Carolina) - $35,345
Volvik Race for the Card No. 10 Laura Wearn (-2, T2) on her 3-over par 75 third round:
“I played disastrously bad and really did everything horribly. I putted awful, so I’m still pretty frustrated. I thought the course was playing a little bit easier today. It’s disappointing to have a terrible day. Hopefully I can come back tomorrow with a good day. I know everything is still in play, but I was hoping to have a good day just to make it easier on myself. Frida played so solid today, she made everything she looked at and it was dead center. She hit great tee shots and iron shots. It was nice to watch, and I hope I can play a little more like she did today, tomorrow. I thought some of the scores would be lower today so when I saw second was 2-under, that gave me some hope. I’ll get things rolling again tomorrow.”
Clear Golf ambassador Demi Runas (E, T5) on finding a competitive flow and her sponsor’s support:
“I actually have not played very much this year, only my fifth tournament. It’s definitely very different from having 25 weeks on the road. It has taught me to appreciate every single week that I can be out here, even when the finishes don’t quite go your way. I’m thankful we have the chance to compete the few times I’ve elected to come out and play some golf. It is really cool to represent Clear Golf and I get a lot of questions about them. It has been such a joy to work with them; nice to work with a company that appreciates me. It makes me super proud to support them the way that they support me.”
Volvik Race for the Card No. 17 Samantha Wagner (E, T5) on what she needs to do in the final round:
“Anything can happen, that’s for sure. This is a tough course and I’ve seen both sides of it. I’ll stick to my gameplan and give myself opportunity for birdies. I’ll stick to things off the tee, but will go after pins. At this point for me, I have to finish the very best I can. I need close birdie putts and need to chase pins for that. I wasn’t sure what the scores were at when I came up [No.] 18 and when I made my par putt, I was like, ‘Alright, I am still in this.’ Definitely very exciting and very happy with what I did today.”
- Born September 25, 1999
- Kinhult is a native of Fiskebackskil, Sweden
- Two-time winner of the Spanish Ladies Amateur Championship
- Spent seven weeks at No. 1 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings
- Member of victorious Team Europe for the 2019 Vagliano Trophy
- Three-time medalist in her year and a half at Florida State University
- Member of the victorious International Team at 2019 Arnold Palmer Cup
- 2019 Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) First Team All-American
- Set the Seminoles single-season scoring average record of 70.66 as a freshman
- Two-time winner of the European Ladies Team Championship with Team Sweden
- Named the 2019 ACC and WGCA Freshman of the Year, as well as All-ACC selection
- Shared 2019 ACC Player of the Year honors with now LPGA member Jennifer Kupcho
- Her father Mikael is a golf teaching pro and brother Marcus is a European Tour member
- Finished T67 at 2019 LPGA Q-Series to first earn Symetra Tour membership as a 2020 rookie