Clariss Guce (Artesia, Calif.) carded a 4-under, 68 to move into the lead at 9-under, 135 at the Decatur-Forsyth Classic at Hickory Point Golf Course. Guce, who ranks 12th on the Volvik Race for the Card money list, will go for her second win of the season. Erica Popson (Davenport, Fla.) is in solo second at 7-under, 137 while Jackie Stoelting (Vero Beach, Fla.), Kendall Dye (Edmond, Okla.), Nelly Korda (Bradenton, Fla.) and Pavarisa Yoktuan (Thailand) are tied for third at 6-under, 138.

Guce, a rookie on Tour, put together a bogey-free round with two birdies on the first nine and two on her second nine.

“I’m definitely pleased with my round, I hit some great shots into the greens today,” said Guce, who nearly made birdie on nine to close her day. “I really wanted the last one, but it’s golf and everything evens out. I made a couple putts that I didn’t think I was supposed to make. I can’t really complain about anything today.”

Guce, the 2014 Big West Golfer of the Year at California State, Northridge, won in mid-July at the Danielle Downey Credit Union Classic to move from 84th to 12th on the money list, a position she still holds.

“I think I just learned that I am capable of shooting good numbers,” said Guce, in regards to what she learned in Rochester. “I also learned to put good rounds together under pressure. I feel like going into this weekend I am a lot more confident compared to what I was going into the last day in Rochester.”

After finishing in the top 20 in two of her first three Symetra Tour events, Guce missed five straight cuts. She took a few weeks off to figure things out with her coach Bob Lasken and has become a force on Tour.

“I always thought I was playing well, but the problem was the decision making,” said Guce. “I’m shaping my game plan around my strengths now and I think that is the biggest difference. I’m also having a lot of fun with my fellow rookies.”

Guce has earned $37,156 in 12 starts. The winner’s payout of $19,500 could move Guce as high as fifth on the money list.

The cut was made at even-par, 144 and 62 players will tee off on Sunday. Guce and Popson will tee in the final pairing at 12:30 p.m.

 

POPSON SCORED WITHOUT MUCH CONFIDENCE IN SWING: Erica Popson didn’t have much confidence in her swing on Saturday, but still put together a 3-under, 69 to move up to second. She will go for her second win of the season on Sunday. Popson won the Symetra Classic in May and currently ranks sixth on the Volvik Race for the Card money list with $54,021 earned in 15 starts.

“I didn’t hit it well, but I didn’t hit it in places to take myself out of the tournament,” said Popson, who was headed to the range to work on her swing. “I had to chip out once and I got up-and-down from 40-yards. If I feel comfortable on Sunday and play good golf, I have a chance.”

Popson has been wearing a purple and orange ribbon on her hat ever since Tennessee icon Pat Summitt passed away. Popson won eight times while in college at Tennessee and credits Summitt for helping build the Lady Vols brand and women’s sports.

“She created an amazing program that helped me become who I am,” said Popson. “It’s not just Tennessee, but her impact is around the country. She impacted women’s basketball more than anyone I’d say and that trickles down to women’s sports in general. She made us (golf team) feel like football players on campus. We walked into our training room and we were first priority for our staff.”

 

KENDALL DYE IN CONTENTION; SPENT WEEK OFF WITH BETSY KING: Kendall Dye (Edmond, Okla.) posted a 4-under, 68 to stand in a tie for third. Dye made five birdies against just one bogey.

“The putter is working and I am hitting a lot of greens,” said Dye. “I’ve been missing it left off the tee this year, but I’ve been working with Trackman and my golf coach. The greens are really soft so wherever you hit them, they stop.”

Dye has needed just 55 putts over the first two days of the tournament.

Dye spent last week in the Hamptons with LPGA Hall-of-Famer Betsy King and fellow Tour player Kristy McPherson raising money for Golf Fore Africa. This past offseason, Dye and McPherson went to Africa with Cheyenne Woods and Amy Anderson to help King’s foundation.

“We went to Zambia and I raised money for a well which is $15,000, which feeds about 300 people in a village” explained Dye. “We were in the Hamptons where there are a lot of generous people who love to play golf and love her foundation so we hosted them. We have a new goal of raising $50,000 for a solar system, which can help feed about 10,000 people.”

 

OF NOTE

  • Mariah Stackhouse carded a 3-under, 69 to move from T28 to T9 at 4-under, 140. Stackhouse said she didn’t hit the ball great, but she was “on fire” with her putter. She played a bogey-free round.
  • There are 12 players within five shots of the lead.
  • Five players in the top 15 on the Volvik Race for the Card money list are in contention at T7 or better.

Click here for the leaderboard

 

Written By: Symetra Tour Communications

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