TWELVE-YEAR VETERAN IACOBELLI TAKES COMMAND WITH BLISTERING 62
Daniela Iacobelli (Melbourne, Florida) has a lot of history on the Jones Course at LPGA International and the Symetra Tour, in general. In 2012, she won the Symetra Tour Championship to climb into the Race for the Card top 10 and secure LPGA Tour membership as a 2013 rookie. The stakes are a little different this week, but it’s the same tournament the three-time Symetra Tour champion knows and loves.
She entered the week at No. 40 on the money list. Even her fourth win would leave her on the outside of the top 10 looking in, but it would go a long way in connecting important pieces of her career.
“Man, all that would mean is that I don’t have to worry about my bills this offseason. Are you kidding me?” said Iacobelli. “No, it would be awesome. It was last week in 2012 [when I won here] and would be pretty cool to rock around a decade-long, full-circle pair of wins. I gotta get a new job.”
The Florida Institute of Technology Hall of Fame member has hit 25 of 28 fairways and 33 of 36 greens in regulation through two rounds. Nine birdies and an eagle helped Iacobelli to a 10-under par 62 on Friday and the overnight lead at 15-under overall.
“Boom pounded driver, so that was cool. I had 172 yards and the wind switched today, so it was into the teeth; put it to 15 feet,” said Iacobelli, referring to her eagle on No. 18. “Looked at my caddie and I was like, ‘Let’s just make it.’ And she’s like, ‘Yeah, let’s just do that.’
“It’s the best job in the world. It gets frustrating, but it’s so nice to go to all these different courses and still feel at home, especially here.”
THAMMARAKS TAKES DIFFERENT APPROACH ON DAY TWO
In the first round of the Symetra Tour Championship on Thursday, Iowa State University alumna Prima Thammaraks (Bangkok, Thailand) hit 17 greens in regulation, but needed 32 putts to shoot 3-under par 69. So today, she utilized a different approach. The result: 16 greens hit, 25 putts and a bogey-free 63.
“It just kind of happened,” said Thammaraks. “I have hit a lot of greens, so my iron play has been really, really good. Yesterday, I was trying so hard with my putting, so going out today I was like, ‘I’m just going to hit the putt.’ It kind of worked and got in a groove.”
At 12-under overall, Thammaraks is solo second and three strokes back of the lead. She will look to keep her fresh philosophy rolling when third-round action on the Jones Course at LPGA International begins no earlier than 1:45 p.m. EDT on Saturday afternoon.
“Just need to keep giving myself opportunities and make some more putts,” Thammaraks said.
GABSA MAINTAINS THROUGH HIGHS, LOWS OF SECOND ROUND
It was a strong second round for Isi Gabsa (Munich, Germany) in the Symetra Tour Championship with highs and lows. On her eighth hole of the day at No. 17, she limped to a triple bogey. Gabsa rebounded on No. 5 though, converting an eagle on the par 5.
The 5-under par 67 effort left her in a share of third at the suspension of play on Friday. She is 11-under overall and four shots off the lead held by Daniela Iacobelli.
“I was a little bit left [off the tee] in the rough and it was sitting down, had about 200 meters to the pin. I just thought to hit a 7-wood onto the green somewhere, but it rolled over and I had an easy chip shot as the pin was all the way on the left. Landed where I wanted, and it went in,” said Gabsa, referring to her eagle.
“I’m happy with how I played today. Just one bad hole and it brought me back a little. I tried to stay happy out there and give myself as many chances as possible,” Gabsa added. “You never know what the other leaders are doing, so I’m focusing on myself and see how it goes.”
She entered the week in Daytona Beach, Fla., needing a top-3 performance on the Jones Course at LPGA International to have a chance at sneaking into the Race for the Card top 10. There’s still lots of golf left to play, but Gabsa has positioned herself for a weekend run at a win and in turn, the top 10.
“Being honest, I do think about it then I always catch myself,” Gabsa said laughingly. “My mom is on the bag and just trying to enjoy the moment, enjoy being in this spot because I have nothing to lose.”
NOTABLE QUOTES FROM ‘RACE FOR THE CARD’ HOPEFULS
Race for the Card No. 43 Brittany Marchand (-10, 5th) on her 9-under 63 in the second round:
“It was great to have a bogey-free round and see a lot of putts drop today. Great confidence going into the weekend. I definitely feel like I’m going off momentum from [the T3 finish] last week. My game is in a good place right now and it’s helpful that I’ve played this course multiple times. Today, I just hit a lot of shots close and made a lot more putts compared to yesterday.”
Race for the Card No. 11 Beth Wu (-8, T11) on her second round and objectives this week:
“I shot a bogey-free 5-under and I think I could have done better. I left a lot of putts out there, and a lot of shots. Really want to get after it the next two days. Reaching it [the Race for the Card top 10] would give me a longer vacation, which I’m really looking forward to. That’s my goal for the week, just get me a longer vacation.”
Race for the Card No. 12 Bailey Tardy (-6, T27) on her overall game and approach this week:
“I’ve been here; this is my fourth time playing the Jones Course during a Symetra Tour event. I am trying to fall back on the basics. I’m hitting the ball really well, it’s just my putts aren’t going in. I’ve missed two greens [in regulation] the last 36 holes and haven’t made birdies where I need to. I’m hitting the ball the best I have in my entire life. I left probably eight birdies out there, just today. Yesterday, probably 10. I need to keep that in the back of my mind that I’m hitting it really well and to stay patient.”
Race for the Card No. 13 Sierra Brooks (-4, T47) on her growth and development as a rookie:
“This whole [two-year] rookie season has been a learning experience for me. I started out, the first few events carrying my own bag then got Mom on board. That was a huge help for me playing week to week and taking that load off. I found a rhythm and my game has been trending [with six top-15 finishes in my last eight starts]. I’ve been feeling like a win is right there, just a matter of time. I’m trusting my process and the work I’ve put in with my dad.”