Jul 27, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Birdies flew all over Drumlins Country Club’s East Course in Friday’s opening round of the Symetra Tour’s Credit Union Classic – and some eagles, too.
Laura Kueny earned two of those eagles, which boosted her into a tie for the lead with a pair of Australian pros, Courtney Massey and Jessica Speechley, by day’s end.
The trio of Kueny, Massey and Speechley each posted five-under-par 66, putting them one shot ahead of Samantha Richdale. Six more players – Victoria Elizabeth, Laura Martin, Natalie Sheary, Hye-Joo Han, Dawn Shockey and Jessica Carafiello finished at 68, three under.
Simply put, this was a day to attack Drumlins East. Rains on Thursday had softened up a dry, firm course, and that, plus light winds, gave players ideal scoring conditions.
They didn’t waste those chances, either. All told, 37 players broke Drumlins East’s par of 71, and 18 more matched it. To stand out, something spectacular had to take place.
And Kueny obliged. The 24-year-old Michigan native entered the week 85th on the Symetra Tour’s money list, meaning she needs a big move, perhaps a win, if she wants to reach the top 10 that qualify for the LPGA Tour at season’s end.
Teeing off on no. 10 in one of the last groups of the afternoon, Kueny was one over par when, on the par-5 13th that doglegs 90 degrees to the right, she reached in two shots and sank a 25-foot putt for an eagle three, putting her in red figures for good.
Turning in 33, two under, Kueny birdied the par-five 1st hole and, for good measure, went to the long par-5 2nd and recorded her second eagle of the day, this time with a 12-footer. Now at five under, Kueny parred her last seven holes to get to 66.
Minutes later, Speechley, just a year younger than Kueny at 23, finished her own 66 by hitting her approach shot to gimme range for a birdie on the par-four 18th, which capped off an up-and-down back nine.
But that followed a blazing start where Speechley, on the front nine, made her own eagle on the 2nd hole and added three more birdies to turn in 31, five under. Birdies on 14 and 18 offset bogeys on 13 and 16.
Of the players who teed off in the morning, Massey, who turns 24 in September, did best. Starting on 10 as Kueny did, Massey was one under when she put up her own eagle on the par-five 1st, sinking a 12-foot sidehill putt. Birdies on holes 2 and 5 followed, and the 32 helped Massey set the early target.
Further back, Esther Choe, the leading money-winner this year on the Symetra Tour, posted a solid 69, one of 12 players on that number. Utica native Moira Dunn led the back at 70, one under, while Scotia native and LPGA veteran Laura Diaz had to settle for a 72.
Jenny Suh, the 2009 champion at this tournament, struggled to a 74, but that was two shots better than Jenny Gleason, last week’s winner in New Hampshire. After the front nine, Nicolette Darois, the Section III champion, withdrew.
Rain is in the forecast for Saturday, but play is still scheduled to start at 7:45 a.m. Kueny and Speechley both tee off at 9:35 a.m., while Massey opens her round at 12:25 in the afternoon.