Leona Maguire made a big move in the second round at the IOA Classic as she notched five birdies and just one bogey in her four under par round of 67 which moved her up into a tie for 19th place on five under for the tournament.
Maguire, who is in her rookie season on the Symetra Tour has put in some stellar performances during the season but is unlikely to snag one of the ten LPGA cards for next season based on her Order of Merit position unless she can pull a big finish today and win the Tour Championship at Daytona Beach next week, the final event of the Symetra Tour season.
Stephanie Meadow, on the other hand, has a great chance of being a full fledged LPGA player next term as she is currently in 4th position on the Volvik Race for the Card and following her second consecutive round of 69 is in T23 position at the IOA Classic, just one shot behind Maguire on four under par.
Meadow needs to keep her focus today though and try to move into the Top 15 if possible to give her some breathing space at the Tour Championship as a number of players close behind her on the OoM are ahead of her in this weeks’ event as things stand and will gain ground.
At the top of proceedings, a solid moving day from Dana Finkelstein (Chandler, Arizona) that featured a bogey-free, 7-under par 64 launched her to the top of the fifth annual IOA Classic leaderboard after the second round at 11-under par overall.
The UNLV alumna takes a one-stroke advantage into the final round tomorrow at Alaqua Country Club.
“It was a good day out there and I like the position I’m in,” said Finkelstein, who recorded an eagle on No. 16 to go along with five birdies. “I played solid today and missed just two greens, maybe three. Ball striking has been really good and rolling in some putts. The eagle really kind of got the round going.”
For Finkelstein, it is the same spot she was in entering the final round of the Garden City Charity Classic three weeks ago. She held a one-shot lead after two days of competition and was under the spotlight in the final pairing before finishing tied for second.
This time around, the current No. 14 in the Volvik Race for the Card said she is better prepared to handle the situation and knows what to expect.
“Garden City was a good learning experience,” Finkelstein added. “I had nerves that week and I’m sure I’ll have nerves tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll be able to handle those a little bit better than I did a few weeks ago. I want to go out and play my best to see what happens.”
Meanwhile, after a second straight round in the IOA Golf Classic of 5-under par 66 with seven birdies and two bogeys, Ruixin Liu(Dalian, China) will join Finkelstein in the last group and pointed to the flatstick as the major key to her success the past couple days.
“I felt even more comfortable with my putting especially since yesterday was so awesome,” said Liu, who has averaged 29 putts per round this week. “Today was not as good as yesterday, but better than my average. Every time I go on the green I feel like I have a birdie chance.”
The only player to outshine Dana Finkelstein’s 7-under par 64 performance this afternoon was Min Seo Kwak (Seoul, Republic of Korea), who did so in dramatic fashion.
On day one, Dottie Ardina (Laguna, Philippines) tied the 18-hole IOA Golf Classic tournament scoring record of 8-under par 63, set by Madeleine Sheils (Boise, Idaho) and Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong (Buengkan, Thailand) in the second round of the 2015 edition at Alaqua Country Club. Today, Kwak went off with a bogey-free, 10-under par 61 showing to rewrite the record books and claim the course record.
“I didn’t know, was just hoping to make the cut today,” said Kwak, who enters the final round at 9-under par overall. “Yesterday was reading my putts really bad and did not know how to hit the ball on the right line. Today, I just trusted my line, rolled it and went in every time. That’s how it worked.”