continued Meanwhile, Ekey, teeing off at 10, played her first nine holes at one over par, threatening to exit contention early. But she tore through the front nine in 32, those birdies landing her a 68 and putting her right behind Ferrero.
As the sun broke out on Saturday, Ekey repeated her 68 from the day before, but with much more consistency. She hit 16 greens in regulation and made just one bogey, on 15, and put up four other birdies to seize the lead from Ferrero, whose 71 left her one shot back going into the final day.
By no means were Ekey and Ferrero alone in the chase. Jodi Ewart and Mo Martin were both at four under, two shots back, and the group at three under included Suh, whose rounds of 69 and 70 showed that she still knew how to handle Drumlins East two years after her triumph there.
As Ekey hit the par-five 2nd hole on a warm, humid Sunday, she was briefly caught by Shockley, who birdied the first four holes.
Sensing it was time to go, Ekey drilled a 300-yard drive on the 2nd and followed it with a gorgeous second shot that ran up to 10 feet. She rammed the putt home for eagle, and had the lead for good.
A string of pars followed until the 8th, the uphill par-three, where Ekey stuck the tee shot to a foot and made birdie. Another birdie followed on 9, and Ekey, turning in 32 (just as she had on Friday), had a four-shot lead on Ferrero, Martin and Ewart.
Two holes later, that lead was nearly gone. Ferrero dropped birdies on 10 and 11, and when Ekey three-putted the 11th from above the hole, the margin was a single shot.
Without a doubt, the par-three 12th hole proved the turning point. Hitting first, Ferrero stuck an iron to 10 feet, while Ekey’s tee shot fell way short of the green. Somehow, Ekey chipped it to a foot to make par, while Ferrero raced her putt eight feet past and missed the return par attempt. Instead of thinking she would catch up, Ferrero was now two shots back.