Jul 29, 2012 Phil Blackwell Uncategorized
Though just 20 years old, Victoria Elizabeth is a seasoned professional, having joined their ranks just after high school as she pursued her dream of reaching the LPGA Tour.
Now Elizabeth is one solid round from insuring that the dream comes true, having seized a three-shot lead with a brilliant Saturday performance at the rain-soaked Symetra Tour’s Credit Union Classic at Drumlins Country Club.
It’s already been a good 2012 for Elizabeth, as a pair of runner-up finishes on the Symetra Tour has put her sixth on the money list with $21,857. A win here would all but clinch her LPGA Tour card, as the top 10 on the money list get promoted at season’s end.
After waiting out a delay of nearly three hours at Drumlins’ East Course, the Dayton, Ohio native shot a six-under-par 65, the tournament’s low round, to move to nine-under-par 133 through 36 holes.
This puts Elizabeth ahead of first-round co-leader Courtney Massey, as the Australian’s 70 left her tied with Thialand native Thidapa Suwannapura, who followed up her opening 69 with a 67 to finish at 136.
The other two first-round pace-setters, Jessica Speechley and Laura Kueny, both fell back with matching totals of 73. It didn’t help that, just as Speechley and Kueny were beginning their rounds, at 9:48 a.m. the horn sounded for a weather delay.
It wasn’t because of lightning. Heavy downpours saturated Drumlins’ East course, rendering it unplayable. The rain did not stop until noon, and after some hard work by the grounds crew to clean up the water, play resumed at 12:38 p.m. after a two-hour, 50-minute delay.
Briefly, Utica native Moira Dunn charged into a tie for the lead with five birdies in her first 10 holes to vault to five under, only to cool off and miss a short par putt on 18 to end up at 138, five back of Elizabeth.
During the mid-round scramble for position, Suwannapura got as low as seven under before bogeying 18 to post her 136. Her round included eight birdies and four bogeys.
Just as Suwannapura was coming down the stretch, Elizabeth set out on the torrid early pace that, if she goes on to win, might serve as the tournament’s turning point.
Birdies on the first three holes, and four of the first five, put Elizabeth alone in first place, and another birdie followed at the uphill par-three 8th. This meant that Elizabeth turned in five-under 31.
Yet another birdie, on the par-three 12th, got Elizabeth to nine under, and she stayed there through six closing pars. Meanwhile, Massey, who played with Elizabeth, shook off three bogeys with four birdies on her way to a 70.
In all, 33 players could not finish as darkness fell, meaning that they will return at 7:30 on Sunday morning to complete the second round. The final round starts at 9:30 a.m.
Of those that need to come back early on Sunday, only Birdie Kim, the 2005 U.S. Women’s Open champion, is close to the lead. Kim is five under through 15 holes, tied with Dawn Shockley and Nicole Vandermade for fourth place.