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Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic

Round 4 - Tamulis' win long in the making

August 30, 2015

Kris Tamulis didn’t want to look at a leaderboard, didn’t want to see the lead group chasing her play the 17th or 18th and didn’t want to hit any balls as she waited to see if the 17-under par total she’d just posted 45 minutes prior to the leader’s arrival to the 18th would hold. When she received word that Austin Ernst’s birdie try at the last raced by and Yani Tseng’s 10-footer lipped out on the left hand side, she began crying over the realization that she’d just won her first career LPGA title at the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic after 11 years and 185 prior events on Tour. Her final-round 7-under par 65 tied her lowest round in relation to par ever and it came at the final 18 holes in a day where she had to play 29 holes after a weather delay had suspended the third round.

“It's amazing. I was definitely not expecting this today,” Tamulis said. “I was just out there playing my game and I had a lot of opportunities for birdie, which was really nice to have. Kept it below the hole for the most part. Honestly didn't even know what I shot until I counted my birdies at the end of the round. It was a marathon out there. We were just trying to get it in, beat the weather, and that's it. So it's unbelievable.”

Tamulis entered the week just hoping to ensure herself spots in the Asian events in the fall and hoping to get enough Race to the CME Globe points to ensure a spot in the field at the CME Group Tour Championship in her hometown of Naples, Florida. What she left with meant more to her for her caddie, Thomas “Motion” Frank, than it did to her. Tamulis had missed the cut at the Lotte Championship in April and flown to San Francisco to prepare for the next week’s event when she received a text from Motion with pictures of his house in Houston had been struck by lightning and burned to the ground.

“Mo believes in me more than I believe in me. He’s just such an inspiration, you know, what happened to his house earlier this year when it burned, his unbelievable, amazing attitude,” Tamulis said. “The text I got from him, the first thing he said was, you know, it’s okay, I’ve got the best friends, I’ve got the best family, and he’s like I’ve got my health. He just keeps me going, keeps me believing in myself and when I don’t want to be out there he’s like, come on, let’s do this. He’s the best!”

As exciting as the win was for Tamulis, it was equally disappointing for Tseng in her quest for her first win in 86 starts over a stretch that’s spanned around three and a half years. After missing a 10-foot putt at the par-5, 17th hole to tie, Tseng hit a beautiful approach into the difficultly tucked pin on the 18th, but her 10-footer held its line until the very last second when it dove left, lipped out, and left Tseng one putt away from a playoff on a putt that she still can’t believe went the way it did.

“I putted on line, the ball just didn’t stay online,” Tseng said. “I don't know why that didn't go in. I made a good putt, I felt boy, it's going in, because I had the little hole in front of my, it was at three feet, it was a little hole. So I just, okay, let's hit left side and then it turns and kind of turn back a little bit, I don't know, that putt is no way it's going to turn left and it turns left at the end. I don't know, I just did my best, you know. Sometimes you need a little luck to win a tournament too.”

Ernst and Tseng finished in a tie for runner-up at 16-under par while Lexi Thompson and Sydnee Michaels tied for fourth at 14-under par.

Yani's back?
Yani Tseng didn’t produce her 16th career LPGA win Sunday, but she certainly instilled the belief in herself that her game is back after a three and a half year hiatus from the winner’s circle. Her runner-up Sunday, her second runner-up finish of the year, has her feeling as if she’s found the game that left her.

“I just feel that I’m so ready to win,” Tseng said. “I’m just very happy to be back on top again and feel like I’m finally getting very comfortable on the course and enjoy the golf again and I smile, stay relaxed and I just missed that little bit, that pressure, that nerves on the last few holes or on the last group. So just very happy to be back on top again and just still have a few tournaments left so I’m just going to keep fighting.”

Although Tseng wasn’t pleased with herself that she missed two potential putts to win it, the beautiful iron shot she hit into the 18th felt like the way the old Yani used to show up when the pressure was the highest.

“I mean I just haven’t done that for a long time, but that means my game is still there, just I’ve got to get mental,” Tseng said. “I just, I mean, doesn’t matter if it’s on the last hole or first hole, every hole I just try to make birdies. You’ve got to make birdies out here. So I mean, like I said, I do my best and just very happy to be out there to be on top again and I think it’s going to happen, just with time.”

That time could be in two weeks at the Evian Championship, the season’s final major, or it could take months or even years. Either way, after this week she’s confident she’ll win again, and that putt will go in one day. And she’ll be back next year to the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic looking for redemption.

“I’m coming back next year to make that putt,” Tseng said.

If this week is any indication, she surely will.

Comfy with the lead:
Stacy Lewis posted her fourth consecutive top-10 at this event Sunday, backdooring the top-10 with a final-round 66. Lewis has now posted 10 top-10’s on the season and would have been in contention on Sunday if not for a disappointing even-par 72 on Sunday.

“Really played those last 18, 20 holes pretty good,” Lewis said. “A lot of frustrating golf. I didn’t take advantage of the par 5s at all, all day today really. I made too many 5s and that’s really kind of what you have to do on this golf course to do well.”

The par-5’s were particularly difficult to stomach considering some are reachable for Lewis. To win here, an even-par effort on the par-5’s on the weekend won’t cut it. On the week, Lewis played the 16 par-5’s in only 3-under par.

Left hand low makes Michaels go low:
Sydnee Michaels fired a final round 67 for a tie for fourth at the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic Sunday. This was a career-best finish for Michaels and the first time she has finished in the top-10 since her Symetra Tour days.

Michaels credits her low-scoring week at the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic to a putting change, making the switch to left hand low.

“I switched my putting to left hand low on Tuesday and that has been my problem,” Michaels said. “I know I’ve been hitting it really well, I just haven’t been able to convert anything. I just said I’m going to give it a shot. It was a huge difference.”

The change proved to be an assist for Michaels this week and she plans to keep it going forward, but it was a goal further in the future that was motivation for Michaels’ this week.

“My goal was to get into the two Asian events in the beginning of the year next year just to kind of set me up,” Michaels said. “I think this will probably put me pretty far forward for that goal.”

Winning for Motion:
Thomas “Motion” Frank stood off of the 18th green, avoiding the cameras and the limelight, but his boss, Kris Tamulis, wasn’t about to let him off that easy. As Tamulis, in her winner’s speech, began to speak about what Frank’s meant to her, he covered his face and began to cry. It might have been Tamulis’ first win on the LPGA Tour, but it was Motion’s too, and it was a walk he’ll never forget.

“I felt like I was on air, you know. I mean she was chipping in and making birdies and just played solid and it was like the horse that won the Triple Crown, just let her go,” Frank said. “I didn’t get in her way and I’m so thankful.”

No one on Tour deserves to be linked up with a winner more than Motion. He’s still working on his housing situation after his house burned to the ground in April but hasn’t ever lost his amazing attitude or perspective. For everyone around him, it’s impossible to complain or have a bad day when Motion is around.

“I landed in San Fran and I got this text. It was a couple pictures of his home and then it said, you know, it’s all good though, I’ve got the best friends, I’ve got the best family and I’ve got the best boss,” Tamulis said. “I’m like, Mo, what you have going for you is your unbelievable attitude. Having what happened to him really puts everything in perspective.”

Motion used to be a memorabilia collector, a respectful homage, to all the players he’s worked with. He’s caddied for Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer in exhibitions and worked for Jane Crafter and Helen Alfredsson on the LPGA Tour and has caddied on the PGA Tour too. All the memorabilia from his 20 plus years on the bag was lost, but as he talked about it, he smiled and pointed at the flag in his hands. It was the flag from the 18th hole Sunday and his boss wasn’t about to keep it despite Motion’s request that she keep it herself.

“I lost all my memorabilia and I’m a memorabilia guy, but I’ve got this now,” Motion said with a smile. “I can start a new collection, you know. That’s all material stuff. My friends are more important to me than the material stuff, my friends and the LPGA have been around helping me for years and years.“

Motion has long been a caddie that stands out more than perhaps any other on Tour. Mostly for his incredible attitude and giving nature but also his wardrobe. Every event he’s there with a tie and button down on under his caddie bib. It’s always been that way for Motion, a respectful homage to the game that he’s so grateful for, and Tamulis doesn’t see it as a coincidence that four of her seven career top-10s, including her win, all came in the last 15 months since she asked Motion to be her caddie.

“Mo is a terrific supporter of me. He keeps me going. He always has a smile on his face,” Tamulis said. “He probably has the best attitude of anyone I’ve ever met.”

Numbers to know:
1 - This is Kris Tamulis’ first career win and Thomas “Motion” Frank’s first career win as a caddie on the LPGA Tour.
4 - This was Stacy Lewis’ fourth consecutive top-10 at this event after her final-round 66 pushed her into a tie for sixth Sunday.
6 - In two seasons on Tour, Jaye Marie Green has posted two top-10 finishes - both have come in the last three events. Her tie for sixth finish Sunday is her best career finish.
65 - Tamulis’ final round 7-under-par 65 tied her previous career best round in relation to par of a 7-under-par 64 at the Marathon Classic.

Round 3 - Ernst leading as play suspended

August 29, 2015

Austin Ernst was less than an hour from her third round tee time in the last group of the day and just starting to work through her pre-round warmup when play was suspended due to lightning in the area at 11:56 AM Saturday. Ultimately, a five hour and three minute delay ensued, and Ernst had to restart her routine.

The lead group of Ernst, Yani Tseng and Lexi Thompson eventually only got to the fifth green before play was suspended again due to darkness with Ernst erasing Tseng’s one shot lead entering the day to take a one-shot lead when play was halted. The third round is set to resume at 7:30 AM CST with all 75 players that made the cut still on the golf course.

“You know, we were sitting around, hanging around,” Ernst said. “I’ve got two of my aunts are here, my mom’s here, and we’ve got a couple family friends so we were just kind of sitting around talking, basically just waiting to see what the deal would be. I was glad we did get a few holes in, that way we should be able to finish tomorrow so that will be good.”

To maintain her lead, though, Ernst will have to putt out at the fifth and then play 31 more holes Sunday. Players will not be re-paired when third round play is concluded and Tseng, Ernst, and Thompson will tee off in the final round at 11:32 AM Sunday after they wrap up the third round.

“It’s going to be a marathon,” Ernst said. “There’s a lot of golf left. It will basically just be get as many birdies as I can. I know the scores are still going to be low. It’s just going to be more continuous golf than usual. We’ll finish that third round up and then probably get a little lunch break and go right back out there. It will be good, kind of be able to get into a little bit of a groove early hopefully and then just kind of carry that on throughout the day.”

Ernst at 10-under-par will have a host of challengers when play continues Sunday. Tseng, who is looking for her first win since 2013, remains just one shot back at 9-under-par after making bogey at the fourth hole Saturday. Five other players - Sei Young Kim, Tiffany Joh, Sydnee Michaels, Julieta Granada, and Thompson - are all within two shots of Ernst’s lead.

Always dancing:
If the wait benefitted anyone, it was Sadena Parks. She made birdie on her first three holes Saturday to get within three shots of the lead.

“On fire, yes. It was good,” Parks said. “I hit my second shot into the first green and then the horn blew, so I had to wait five hours to make that putt. I made that putt and I was on fire. I guess sitting down and relaxing and coping with the girls helped me relax a little bit out there.”

Her consecutive birdies, though, paled in comparison to her pre-round stretching routine , which looks like more of a choreographed dance than a stretch, that was captured by Golf Channel’s broadcast before she teed off. Parks is always dancing, always the life of the party, and always entertaining.

“Helping me get loose and to entertain everybody else out there. They think it’s quite hilarious what I do,” Parks said. “But my coach taught me a few stretches and muscle waker-uppers earlier this year, so I thought I would pull them out on the green.”

Winner of the day?
If there was a winner of the day Saturday, it’d have to be the golf course. Despite torrential rain during a five hour delay, Robert Trent Jones Trail’s Senator Course at Capitol Hill was still pristine when players returned to the course Saturday. Even players were surprised at just how good of shape the course was in after sitting inside the clubhouse for five hours while it poured rain outside.

“Actually, the course drained very well, so the greens were still rolling out just as much, and the fairways, the ball was reacting the same as if it was dry,” Parks said.

Austin Ernst didn’t notice much of a difference either from the day prior. These greens are going to be slick no matter how much moisture the sky dumps on them.

“The greens were a little softer, but other than that, I mean, it played pretty similar. The greens weren’t any slower,” Ernst said. “The air was a little bit heavier so the ball wasn’t going quite as far as it went the first two days. And then the greens would get a little bit more spin back than we had earlier in the week; they would just kind of hit and stop, but they wouldn’t really spin. They’re spinning a little bit more on those first few holes.”

Numbers to know:
14 - There are 14 players within four shots of the lead when play was called Saturday.
15 - Yani Tseng has 15 career victories and is looking for her first since 2013 here this week.
31 - The lead group will have 31 holes to play Sunday.
75 - 75 players still have to complete their third round when they return to the course Sunday.
303 - Five hours and three minutes was the delay players had to wait out Saturday when play was suspended due to storms in the area.

Round 2 - Tseng takes Yokahama Tire lead heading into weekend

August 28, 2015

Stacy Lewis wrapped her arm around Yani Tseng after a bogey at the 18th and told her “it was nice to see the Yani of old.” And that was only after a 2-under-par 70 Thursday. Lewis’ comment proved particularly prescient, though, Friday when Tseng fired an 8-under-par 64 to storm into a one-shot lead heading into the weekend at 10-under-par.

“I told you!” Lewis joked as she exited the tent.

“I wasn’t surprised,” Lewis said. “She was close to doing that yesterday, so it was good. It was fun, on the front nine, we both had it going, kind of making birdies back and forth. It was pretty cool.”

It almost made spectators wonder if they’d been teleported back to 2011 when Tseng was seemingly at the top of the leaderboard every weekend while Lewis – and everyone else in the field – chased. It especially did when Tseng hit a towering 190-yard six-iron to four feet at the par-5 8th – her 17th hole of the day – and calmly made the putt for eagle. Although a 96 minute delay kept her from finishing the ninth hole, Tseng calmly returned and made birdie at the last to take a one-shot lead over Austin Ernst into the weekend.

As she exited the scorer’s tent, her and Lewis, who is four shots back of her, shared a laugh, and Tseng smiled and opened up about just what Lewis’ comment Thursday meant to her in Friday’s round.

“It’s amazing how she said that to me, especially we’re good friends but we’re competitors at the same time, too,” Tseng said. “It just so – it feels, I don’t know how to describe it. I’m just so happy that she told me that. And today I’m just, it’s a new day so I wasn’t thinking as much but it still for sure gave me some good confidence out there. Just want to keep playing as happy Yani and just enjoy it.”

Win or lose over the weekend, Tseng’s made positive strides in 2015. She hired a new coach, new trainer, and new mental coach. And this is the first time Tseng’s held the lead heading into a weekend since 2013. But all have shown her signs of the old Yani – the one who Lewis said “changed the way women play the game” but hasn’t held a lead heading into the weekend since 2013.

“I've been working on my game forever like every day. It's just exciting. I really want to win a tournament for sure,” Tseng said. “We only have probably seven, eight tournaments left, but it's never too late. Just very happy my game's really coming back. I'm really happy to playing golf and just I want to win. But it doesn't matter, it will come. O it doesn't matter if it's this week or next week or next year, just try to be patient as much as I can and stay positive.”

Lewis more than anyone remembers what it was like to try to upset Tseng in her heyday. Tseng hit it further than any woman on the planet, rarely missed the fairway, attacked every pin and holed the putt when she got to it. Lewis said she saw glimmers on Thursday and was having full 2011 déjà vu as a front row witness to Friday’s 64.

“It's kind of the mentality and just the way that she plays,” Lewis said. “You can see she's confident, she's firing at pins that are tucked and hidden in there close. She hits it so far and hits the irons so high that they have a lot of spin on it so she's able to kind of attack pins that nobody else is. But it's fun to see, it's fun to see her playing the way she should be.”

That Yani ranks ahead of “everybody else I’ve ever played with” Lewis says, and she doesn’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that Tseng could again become the No. 1 player in the world one day. But her driver is key, and Tseng knows it too. When she’s driving it well, she’s tough to beat even with a host of challengers like Ernst and Lexi Thompson both within two shots.

“That is [the key]. If I can drive the ball well, I can stay aggressive,” Tseng said. “If I can put my ball in position, I'm going to really have fun on the course. Especially a course like this, it's good for a long hitter. If I can keep on the fairway, I'm going to play well. But you have to putt well, too. I can really see my shot and hit those good drives on the golf course.”

Thompson makes charge:
Lexi Thompson charged into contention Friday with a 5-under-par 67 on a day that didn’t feel a lot different than the day prior when she shot 3-under-par 69. The only difference was she had 34 putts yesterday and only 30 Friday. On the week, Thompson only missed three greens combined so it’s all about her work with the putter.

“I just didn’t have any putts fall for me yesterday. It’s all about confidence,” Thompson said. “I hit it well again today, but the greens are tricky. They’re really fast and you can get some big
breakers.”

Thompson conquered them just fine here in her win in 2011 but these greens are faster than she’s ever seen them. But as far as her long game, she’s got the same feeling she had the week she won here in 2011.

“I would say it’s pretty darn close,” Thompson said. “Like I said, I probably made more putts in 2011, but I mean I felt like I stroked it really well today. It was only a matter of a ball or two with the break or speed.”

Feeding off a letdown:
Rolex Ranking No. 51 Austin Ernst worked her way up the leaderboard Friday, firing a 7-under 65 to finish the day in solo second at 9-under-par, just one shot off leader Yani Tseng. Ernst had eight birdies and an eagle on the day, but did drop three bogeys.

Ernst’s playing partner, Lexi Thompson, also had a low round shooting 5-under on Friday and it looked as if they were feeding off of each other.

“We both had a string of birdies there on the front nine,” Ernst said. “She was hitting it well. Yesterday we actually said I said something to her after we finished, I don’t think either one of us missed a green yesterday, so we’re like let’s just putt better tomorrow and we’ll shoot a low number…So definitely when you see putts going in with other people, too, I think it just kind of gives you a little bit more confidence that you can just take it deep.”

Confidence is something that Ernst has had with her game the second half of this season, highlighted by her most recent T5 at the 2015 Cambia Portland Classic. It is not just one change that Ernst credits to her stronger finishes but a gradual improvement.

“I think I’ve just gotten a little bit better every week,” Ernst said. “My wedge game is really good right now. So out here I get a lot of wedges, so I know that I can pretty much take dead aim…But I think I’ve just kind of gotten a little bit better every week in some aspect, and then hopefully I can get every aspect kind of firing at the same time.”

Ernst will be making a strong push for a win heading into the weekend, and her confidence is not the only thing behind her fire on the course this week. Team USA’s roster for the Solheim Cup was announced this past week, and one name that was not listed was Ernst’s.

“I was disappointed not to be on that team,” Ernst said. “Obviously that was one of my big goals going into the year. But I’ve kind of used that as motivation for the future. This week starts I guess 2017’s campaign it for it, so I’ll just use it as motivation to want to get better and I want to try to finish number one on that list so I don’t have to worry about being a captain’s pick next time.”

This week will go towards Ernst’s 2017 campaign and not this year’s, but that doesn’t mean that she will fall back completely. Ernst wants to make a point and prove that she can be a strong competitor for a Solheim Cup team.

Ernst knows that she can’t change the captain’s picks for this year, and she does respect Juli Inkster’s picks, none the less she’s out here to cause some noise.

“It would be nice to (prove a point this week),” Ernst laughs. “Obviously I think that’s what anybody you know, like Billy Horschel did last year where he won two of the next three right after the pick. We all want to be on that team. Obviously Juli did what she thought is best for the team. I respect Juli, respect the decision she made. But obviously I want to play as well as I can and kind of maybe give her a little doubt in her mind.”

Suh finishes her dream:
Jenny Suh knew this day would one day come but she wanted it to be on her own terms. She’ll get that chance, deciding to walk away from the game this week and in turn walk away from a dream come true. What she does from here, she doesn’t know. She just knows her LPGA days are behind her after missing the cut here Friday.

“I’ve played a lot longer than I ever anticipated that I would already, and to make it to the LPGA and play at the highest level was my dream,” Suh said. “So I did it and now I can leave happy. I feel very fortunate because a lot of my friends couldn’t leave on their own terms, like they’re injured or their health wasn’t good. But to me, this is my decision, so I’m very happy.”

Second round suspended into saturday:
During the afternoon wave of the second-round Friday, weather struck the area and caused a few delays. Play was suspended and the course was first evacuated at 5:09pm CT. Play then resumed at 6:45pm CT, continuation of the second-round. Less than thirty minutes later, play was suspended due to darkness at 7:12pm CT.

The second-round will resume Saturday morning at 7:30am CT. Currently 77 players are within the cutline of 2-over. The Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic’s third-round is estimated to begin at 10:45am CT, playing off both the first and 10th tees.

Numbers to Know:
15 - Yani Tseng has 15 career victories but hasn’t won since 2012.
31 - 31 players still have to finish their second round when play restarts at 7:30 AM.
64 - Yani Tseng’s 8-under-par 64 was her best round since 2013.
96 - A 96-minute delay for lightning in the area pushed second-round play into Saturday.

Round 1 - Pretty flawless Lang takes lead in Alabama

August 27, 2015

In her first round since being selected as one of Juli Inkster’s two captain’s picks for the United States Solheim Cup team, Brittany Lang issued validation of Inkster’s confidence with a first-round 7-under-par 65 that has her leading a trio of 67s – Tiffany Joh, Sydnee Michaels and Ryann O’Toole – by two shots.

Lang posted birdies on five of her first seven and was 7-under par through 12 holes and looked like she might challenge the course record until she posted bogeys on 13 and 14.

“It was just one of those days. It was so enjoyable,” Lang said. “I wasn’t thinking about a whole lot. You know, I was just super committed to seeing my shots, it was so much fun.”

Even the bogeys on 13 and 14 were small misses, she said, and she responded with birdies on 16 and 17 to tie her best round of the year.

“I played pretty flawless golf,” Lang said. “Even when I was making pars, I was burning the edge from 10 feet. Every hole I was right there. The birdies on 16 and 17 were pretty big after the bogeys on 13 and 14. Kind of, I mean not stupid bogeys, small misses, but I stayed aggressive so I was excited with that.”

Lang has held at least a share of the first-round lead six times in her career but has never been able to close it out. She last held a share of the lead after a 66 at the first round of the 2015 Honda LPGA Thailand but faded to a 73 in the second round and finished in a tie for 13th. Lang nearly got her second win of her career, though, earlier this season at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic with a final-round 65 but Suzann Pettersen birdied two of her last three holes to beat Lang by one shot.

“I’m in a really nice place right now,” Lang said. “I had one of my better years I’ve ever had, the Solheim pick’s over with. I’m just in a really comfortable place, so I just felt really relaxed out there.”

The trio behind Lang certainly has a lot to play for as all would be on the alternate list for the Asian event with Michaels (65th), O’Toole (76th) and Joh (90th) all outside of the top 62 on the money list with only one more event to go before the commitment deadline. All also need to be inside the top 72 on the money list to get into the end-of-season CME Group Tour Championship, so the next two events will solely decide their schedule for the next three months.

Hyo Joo Kim, Ariya Jutanugarn, Therese Koelbaek, Julieta Granada, and Simin Feng are all in a tie for fifth after 4-under-par 68s. Lexi Thompson, the 2011 champion, is in a tie for 10th after a 3-under-par 69 and world No. 3 Stacy Lewis is five shots back after a 2-under-par 70. Defending champion M.J. Hur shot a 2-over par 74.

O'Toole fighting for Asia and top 80:
Ryann O’Toole remembers the feeling heading here a year ago to the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic. She knew that without a top-20 finish she was basically heading back to the LPGA’s Qualifying School later that fall. She ultimately had to but made it through and she’s appreciating her arrival this year to Alabama knowing that at 76th on the money list, she’s almost assured of a top-100 finish on the money list. That figure is important because it means she won’t have to make the annual early December pilgrimage to Daytona Beach for the LPGA’s Qualifying School.

However, O’Toole still has a ton to play for this week – both the Asian events and top-80 status on the money list – and she made solid progress on both goals Thursday with a first-round 5-under-par 67.

“This week is important. I’m in Evian, which obviously lessens the importance of this week, but the one thing that I look at is if I look at this time last year, I was fighting to keep my status,” O’Toole said. “I had to make an incredible week just to give myself somewhat of status. Fortunately, I played pretty decent. I think I finished 5-under for the tournament, but I had to go back to Q School. So if I look where I am now in relation, I’ve got to be happy where I stand and just look at it as stepping stones.”

Friday could be a substantial step forward for her as she’s only two-shots back of the lead but the second round has been her headache all season when she’s come out of the games hot. She’s opened four tournaments with rounds of 68 or better this year but has followed up with an average of 73.25 in the second round.

“I went through some different changes this year. Thursday rounds, I was, you know, shooting lows, and then Friday not playing as good and I had to learn, wait a second, you know,” O’Toole said. “I had to like pull the reins back again and not go -- I mean, yeah, of course you want to go out and win and all that, but sometimes top 20s and top 30s consistently bring on the top 10s, and I had to go okay, stepping stones again.”

Comfy with the lead:
Current leader Brittany Lang had the round of the day Thursday, firing a 7-under to hold a two-shot lead at the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic. Lang, one of the latest additions as a Captain pick for the Solheim Cup, looked at ease on the course today as she made her way up the leaderboard.

Kicking off the day with a birdie on the first hole, following it up with four additional birdies on the front to head into the back nine 5-under par. Lang put herself in good position on top of the leaderboard as course conditions started to change.

“I’ll tell you what, that first hole was tough,” Lang said. “That back left pin with a left right wind, that was a really hard hole. Both the girls in my group made double and bogey, and I felt like I stole one with a birdie there. With this wind, the course is a little bit more difficult than I remember it because you’re playing into the wind on some of the holes where you’re normally hitting wedge.”

Lang was able to bounce back from two consecutive bogeys on her 13th and 14th holes, with consecutive birdies on 16 and 17 to put her back to a two-shot lead.

Whether it was the motivation of making the Solheim Cup team or her confidence in her game, Lang looked comfortable carrying the lead Thursday.

“You know, I’m in a really nice place right now,” Lang said. “I had one of my better years I’ve ever had, the Solheim pick’s over with, I’m just in a really comfortable place, so I just felt really relaxed out there.”

Cold putter befuddles Lewis:
The Senator Course that Stacy Lewis had gotten to know in recent years wasn’t the same one she found early Thursday morning when she teed off, and she struggled to adjust playing the first seven holes in 1-over-par before making birdie on three of her next four holes.

“The wind was blowing early this morning. It was colder, the wind was blowing,” Lewis said. “I don’t think I ever hit a 4-iron into the third hole before, so I was just hitting clubs into holes that, you know, I’ve never hit.”

Although Lewis turned it around, she wasn’t able to fully take advantage making par on the last seven holes when she just couldn’t get anything to drop. Still, though, 2-under-par 70 is more than good enough on a day where she didn’t have her best stuff.

“I mean, if you look at the way the golf course – the golf course is playing hard,” Lewis said. “The greens are as fast as I’ve ever seen them. So you’re – nobody’s running away with this thing. I think the minute you get too aggressive is when the golf course kind of catches up to you.”

Play hard, study harder:
Amateur and current University of Alabama golfer, Janie Jackson, has had quite the week here at the Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic. The Monday qualifier had to fight her way into the field this week, winning in a three-hole playoff in the Qualifier for the final spot in the field.

In addition to being from the state of Alabama and playing this course before, Jackson was able to familiarize herself with the course in competition play both Monday and Tuesday, and that is perhaps what gave her an advantage as she shot 3-under for her opening round, currently tied for eighth.

“I had a good feeling,” Jackson said. “I like the golf course, I know it, I’ve played it a few times, it’s in good shape so I had a good feeling.”

Jackson is still currently a full-time student-athlete taking 15 hours this fall and can’t afford to just check out completely this week. Unlike the rest of the players who will spend their time away from the course relaxing or prepping for the next day, Jackson has other obligations.

“I missed (class) Monday, Tuesday, I went Wednesday and I’m missing today and tomorrow,” Jackson said. “But the teachers are really understanding and supportive, especially for an event like this...I’ll go to the hotel tonight and do a couple hours’ worth of homework... it’s definitely worth it, but being a student athlete it’s just part of the job.”

It was a bit of a rocky start for the amateur with a bogey and double-bogey on the front night, but she was able to turn it on to make a push heading into her back nine. Jackson fired two birdies to close her front nine, followed by four birdies in her back nine and now sits just four shots off the lead at 3-under.

Numbers to know:
4 - This is the fourth time of the season that Ryann O’Toole has opened with a 68 or better, but in those four events, she’s averaged 73.25 in the following round.
6 - Two Monday qualifiers combined for 6-under-par Thursday with both posting 3-under-par 69s.

Scores

Pos. Player Scores Total Dif. Prize Money
1 Kris Tamulis 71 - 68 - 67 - 65 271 -17 $195,000.00
2T Yani Tseng 70 - 64 - 71 - 67 272 -16 $103,575.00
2T Austin Ernst 70 - 65 - 68 - 69 272 -16 $103,575.00
4T Sydnee Michaels 67 - 70 - 70 - 67 274 -14 $60,800.00
4T Lexi Thompson 69 - 67 - 69 - 69 274 -14 $60,800.00
6T Stacy Lewis 70 - 68 - 72 - 66 276 -12 $40,753.00
6T Jaye Marie Green 71 - 67 - 71 - 67 276 -12 $40,753.00
8 Wei-Ling Hsu 69 - 70 - 74 - 64 277 -11 $32,537.00
9T Nannette Hill 71 - 70 - 69 - 68 278 -10 $26,840.00
9T Julieta Granada 68 - 68 - 71 - 71 278 -10 $26,840.00
9T Sei Young Kim 69 - 70 - 67 - 72 278 -10 $26,840.00
12 Alena Sharp 71 - 72 - 69 - 67 279 -9 $23,005.00
13T Shanshan Feng 72 - 70 - 70 - 68 280 -8 $18,273.00
13T Hyo Joo Kim 68 - 72 - 72 - 68 280 -8 $18,273.00
13T Hee Young Park 73 - 69 - 69 - 69 280 -8 $18,273.00
13T Brooke M. Henderson 71 - 70 - 70 - 69 280 -8 $18,273.00
13T Xi Yu Lin 70 - 71 - 68 - 71 280 -8 $18,273.00
13T Tiffany Joh 67 - 70 - 71 - 72 280 -8 $18,273.00
13T Brittany Lang 65 - 73 - 69 - 73 280 -8 $18,273.00
20T Ariya Jutanugarn 68 - 73 - 73 - 67 281 -7 $14,592.00
20T Angela Stanford 72 - 71 - 69 - 69 281 -7 $14,592.00
20T Jing Yan 72 - 70 - 68 - 71 281 -7 $14,592.00
23T Brittany Lincicome 74 - 69 - 73 - 66 282 -6 $12,335.00
23T Jodi Ewart Shadoff 73 - 68 - 73 - 68 282 -6 $12,335.00
23T Sarah Jane Smith 73 - 73 - 66 - 70 282 -6 $12,335.00
23T Cydney Clanton 72 - 67 - 73 - 70 282 -6 $12,335.00
23T Minjee Lee 72 - 70 - 69 - 71 282 -6 $12,335.00
23T Anna Nordqvist 72 - 70 - 69 - 71 282 -6 $12,335.00
29T Min Lee 74 - 72 - 69 - 68 283 -5 $9,728.00
29T Kim Kaufman 71 - 75 - 69 - 68 283 -5 $9,728.00
29T Candie Kung 69 - 73 - 71 - 70 283 -5 $9,728.00
29T Christina Kim 72 - 69 - 71 - 71 283 -5 $9,728.00
29T Ryann O'Toole 67 - 71 - 73 - 72 283 -5 $9,728.00
29T Sadena Parks 71 - 69 - 69 - 74 283 -5 $9,728.00
35T Jee Young Lee 74 - 70 - 73 - 67 284 -4 $7,603.00
35T Victoria Elizabeth 71 - 73 - 71 - 69 284 -4 $7,603.00
35T Sakura Yokomine 71 - 68 - 75 - 70 284 -4 $7,603.00
35T Laetitia Beck 73 - 73 - 67 - 71 284 -4 $7,603.00
35T Haru Nomura 72 - 69 - 71 - 72 284 -4 $7,603.00
35T Mi Hyang Lee 71 - 69 - 72 - 72 284 -4 $7,603.00
41T Sophia Popov 74 - 72 - 73 - 66 285 -3 $5,841.00
41T Brooke Pancake 72 - 72 - 72 - 69 285 -3 $5,841.00
41T Moriya Jutanugarn 73 - 71 - 71 - 70 285 -3 $5,841.00
41T Giulia Sergas 72 - 72 - 70 - 71 285 -3 $5,841.00
41T Caroline Masson 73 - 73 - 67 - 72 285 -3 $5,841.00
41T Ally McDonald 70 - 72 - 70 - 73 285 -3 $5,841.00
41T Kelly Tan 72 - 68 - 72 - 73 285 -3 $5,841.00
48T Felicity Johnson 74 - 68 - 75 - 69 286 -2 $4,798.00
48T Emma Talley 74 - 71 - 71 - 70 286 -2 $0.00
48T Yueer Cindy Feng 72 - 73 - 71 - 70 286 -2 $4,798.00
48T Chella Choi 74 - 70 - 71 - 71 286 -2 $4,798.00
52T Nontaya Srisawang 72 - 74 - 72 - 69 287 -1 $4,075.00
52T Ji Young Oh 70 - 75 - 72 - 70 287 -1 $4,075.00
52T Mina Harigae 72 - 73 - 71 - 71 287 -1 $4,075.00
52T Jeong Eun Lee 72 - 73 - 70 - 72 287 -1 $4,075.00
52T P.K. Kongkraphan 74 - 70 - 70 - 73 287 -1 $4,075.00
52T Min Seo Kwak 71 - 72 - 71 - 73 287 -1 $4,075.00
52T Jackie Stoelting 69 - 72 - 72 - 74 287 -1 $4,075.00
59T Thidapa Suwannapura 72 - 74 - 73 - 69 288 E $3,484.00
59T Ashleigh Simon 71 - 70 - 76 - 71 288 E $3,484.00
61 Simin Feng 68 - 72 - 76 - 73 289 1 $3,287.00
62T Dori Carter 70 - 76 - 75 - 69 290 2 $3,155.00
62T Dewi Claire Schreefel 72 - 72 - 75 - 71 290 2 $3,155.00
62T Carlie Yadloczky 69 - 74 - 70 - 77 290 2 $3,155.00
65T Jane Rah 71 - 74 - 74 - 72 291 3 $2,991.00
65T Haeji Kang 72 - 74 - 70 - 75 291 3 $2,991.00
67T Belen Mozo 74 - 72 - 75 - 71 292 4 $2,859.00
67T Paula Reto 76 - 69 - 71 - 76 292 4 $2,859.00
69T Emma de Groot 73 - 73 - 75 - 72 293 5 $2,695.00
69T Kelly Shon 73 - 73 - 72 - 75 293 5 $2,695.00
69T Janie Jackson 69 - 75 - 74 - 75 293 5 $0.00
69T Karlin Beck 72 - 70 - 75 - 76 293 5 $2,695.00
73 Katherine Kirk 69 - 77 - 73 - 76 295 7 $2,597.00
74 Lisa Ferrero 73 - 72 - 74 - 77 296 8 $2,563.00
75 Ashli Bunch 74 - 72 - 76 - 77 299 11 $2,530.00
CUT Asako Fujimoto 78 - 69 147 3 $0.00
CUT Amelia Lewis 78 - 69 147 3 $0.00
CUT Katie Burnett 75 - 72 147 3 $0.00
CUT Ai Miyazato 75 - 72 147 3 $0.00
CUT Natalie Sheary 75 - 72 147 3 $0.00
CUT Katy Harris 74 - 73 147 3 $0.00
CUT Karine Icher 74 - 73 147 3 $0.00
CUT Stacey Keating 74 - 73 147 3 $0.00
CUT Meena Lee 74 - 73 147 3 $0.00
CUT Julie Yang 73 - 74 147 3 $0.00
CUT SooBin Kim 72 - 75 147 3 $0.00
CUT Lee-Anne Pace 71 - 76 147 3 $0.00
CUT Therese Koelbaek 68 - 79 147 3 $0.00
CUT Kendall Dye 74 - 74 148 4 $0.00
CUT Paola Moreno 71 - 77 148 4 $0.00
CUT Rachel Rohanna 71 - 77 148 4 $0.00
CUT Laura Diaz 69 - 79 148 4 $0.00
CUT Stephanie Meadow 79 - 70 149 5 $0.00
CUT Danah Bordner 77 - 72 149 5 $0.00
CUT Sandra Changkija 77 - 72 149 5 $0.00
CUT Jacqui Concolino 76 - 73 149 5 $0.00
CUT Sara-Maude Juneau 76 - 73 149 5 $0.00
CUT Chie Arimura 75 - 74 149 5 $0.00
CUT Beatriz Recari 75 - 74 149 5 $0.00
CUT Jennifer Song 73 - 76 149 5 $0.00
CUT Marina Alex 72 - 77 149 5 $0.00
CUT Celine Herbin 72 - 77 149 5 $0.00
CUT Moira Dunn 76 - 74 150 6 $0.00
CUT Maria Hernandez 76 - 74 150 6 $0.00
CUT Kristy McPherson 76 - 74 150 6 $0.00
CUT Marta Sanz Barrio 76 - 74 150 6 $0.00
CUT Cheyenne Woods 76 - 74 150 6 $0.00
CUT Amy Anderson 75 - 75 150 6 $0.00
CUT Paz Echeverria 75 - 75 150 6 $0.00
CUT Lisa McCloskey 75 - 75 150 6 $0.00
CUT Demi Runas 73 - 77 150 6 $0.00
CUT Becky Morgan 72 - 78 150 6 $0.00
CUT Giulia Molinaro 79 - 72 151 7 $0.00
CUT Mallory Blackwelder 77 - 74 151 7 $0.00
CUT Jenny Suh 77 - 74 151 7 $0.00
CUT Marissa Steen 76 - 75 151 7 $0.00
CUT Alison Walshe 76 - 75 151 7 $0.00
CUT Elizabeth Nagel 75 - 76 151 7 $0.00
CUT Susana Benavides 77 - 75 152 8 $0.00
CUT Heather Bowie Young 77 - 75 152 8 $0.00
CUT Ayako Uehara 77 - 75 152 8 $0.00
CUT Nicole Jeray 74 - 78 152 8 $0.00
CUT Jennifer Kirby 77 - 76 153 9 $0.00
CUT Krista Puisite 77 - 76 153 9 $0.00
CUT Jenny Gleason 76 - 77 153 9 $0.00
CUT Louise Stahle 76 - 77 153 9 $0.00
CUT Ju Young Park 72 - 81 153 9 $0.00
CUT Jean Reynolds 78 - 76 154 10 $0.00
CUT Candy Hannemann 78 - 77 155 11 $0.00
CUT Sarah Kemp 75 - 80 155 11 $0.00
CUT Kathleen Ekey 78 - 78 156 12 $0.00
CUT Garrett Phillips 78 - 78 156 12 $0.00
CUT Luciane Lee 76 - 80 156 12 $0.00
CUT Vicky Hurst 75 - 82 157 13 $0.00
WDC Mi Jung Hur 74 74 2 $0.00
WDC Sue Kim 74 74 2 $0.00
WDC Pernilla Lindberg 75 75 3 $0.00
WDC Charley Hull 78 78 6 $0.00
WDC Eun-Hee Ji 78 78 6 $0.00
WDC Birdie Kim 78 78 6 $0.00
WDC Silvia Cavalleri 80 80 8 $0.00
WD Joanna Klatten 0 E $0.00
WD Rebecca Lee-Bentham 0 E $0.00

 

Preview

DATES:  August 27-30
SITE:  Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, Prattville, Alabama
PRIZE MONEY: $1,300,000
Click here for tournament stats & info




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