Ally McDonald (Fulton, Miss.) birdied her final three holes to take a one shot lead into the weekend at the Symetra Tour Championship presented by IOA. She posted a 7-under, 64 to vault to 11-under, 131.

“Great finish,” McDonald said with smile. “Birdie, birdie, birdie finish. I was saying I didn’t really feel like the round was going awesome but the three birdies to finish is obviously what got me to a really, really good score.”

McDonald sits at number three on the Volvik Race for the Card money list and has locked up her 2017 LPGA Tour Card, but would love to end her year on a high note at Alaqua.

“I mean that’s there,” McDonald said of a potential win. “I think this week I just want to play relaxed. Obviously having my card secured gives me a lot of freeness to play. I’m just trying to enjoy dad being on the bag. It’s not something that we typically do since we’re so much alike but we’re having fun and hopefully we can continue the good play into the last two days.”

Chasing McDonald down in the final group will be Pavarisa Yoktuan (Thailand) and Nicole Broch Larsen (Hillerod, Denmark) who sit at 10-under.

“Today I hit the ball better than yesterday but the putts just didn’t drop as they did yesterday,” Broch Larsen said. “It’s pretty windy out there again today so I’m really happy about the 3-under. I just kept going from where I finished yesterday swinging it free and trusting what I have and that worked out again. I’m happy being 10-under after two rounds and I feel like my game is heading there.”

62 players made the cut at 3-over, 145. Two players in the Volvik Race for the Card money list top-10 – No. 6 Marissa Steen and No. 8 Peiyun Chein – missed the cut and will have to sweat out the weekend.

Third round play will begin at 8:00 a.m. off both one and ten with the final group teeing off at 9:50 a.m.


No. 10, 11, 12 ON MONEY LIST PUT ON SHOW: Paired together for the second consecutive day, the players who rank 10th, 11th and 12th on the Volvik Race for the Card money list – Erica Popson (Davenport, Fla.), Laura Gonzalez Escallon (La Hulpe, Belgium) and Nelly Korda (Bradenton, Fla.) – combined to shoot 18-under.

“It was fun,” Gonzalez Escallon said. “It was like one birdie after another. I think together we played 18-under so it was really fun.”

The group was led by Gonzalez Escallon who shot 7-under to move into fourth at 9-under for the week.

“It was fun out there,” Gonzalez Escallon said. “I just kept playing the way that I did yesterday but putts dropped today. Every day is important because it’s the last tournament of the year so you have to go out there and try your best and see what happens.”

Korda made a move up the leaderboard thanks to a 6-under, 65, which has her in a tie for 9th place heading into the weekend.

“A lot of positive to take from today,” Korda said. “It’s a little nerve wracking with it being the last tournament of the year but truthfully you don’t really try to think about that at all. You’re just out there trying to play one shot at a time.”

Perhaps the most crucial round was Popson’s 5-under, 66, which moved her from outside the cutline into a tie for 30th, allowing her to play the weekend and try to fend off the charging players looking to crack the top-10.

Popson currently sits a mere $995 ahead of Gonzalez Escallon and $1,080 ahead of Korda.


DYE TRYING TO WIN AGAIN AT ALAQUA: Kendall Dye (Edmond, Okla.), who won the 2014 IOA Championship, finds herself in contention yet again at Alaqua Country Club.

“It’s evident that I like this golf course,” Dye said. “I don’t know why but a few years ago it treated me well and confidence in your mind is a funny thing. I’ve not had the best of seasons and maybe it’s a blessing that we got moved here. I’ve got nothing to lose. It’s like OU football, we’ve got nothing to lose and sometimes when you’ve got nothing to lose you just go out and play like a kid and quit worrying about anything else.”

Dye, who sits at 8-under for the week and three shots back of the lead, used three birdies and no bogeys to post a second round 68.

“It’s nice to actually put back-to-back rounds together and actually make some putts,” Dye admitted. “I struggled with the swing today, was missing it left a little bit, but for two days in a row I’ve made some really nice putts and I’m to the point where I’m shocked when I don’t make a 10 footer.”

The Oklahoma native brought back a familiar face to caddie for her and it has been paying off.

“I brought Debbie Rasso back out of the corporate world to come and loop for me again so that has been fun,” Dye said. “She gives me a lot of confidence. We had dinner the night before we teed it up and she kind of kicked my butt and told me there’s no room for doubt and there’s no room for lack of confidence.

“No matter what happens I’m just going to play to win and give it my all but I’m just really happy I’m near the top and have a chance.”

MARIAH STACKHOUSE MOVES INTO TOP 10: Mariah Stackhouse (Riverdale, Ga.) fired a second round 66 to jump into the top-10 at the Symetra Tour Championship.

“Honestly for me today it was just steady golf,” Stackhouse said. “I hit 15-of-18 greens and every fairway so I was never in any trouble. The couple of greens I missed I got up and down and then I was able to make a couple of putts. Yesterday I played well but I just wasn’t aggressive enough on putts. I think more than half of the putts that I putted yesterday came up short so I decided to go about that differently today and I was able to get it to the hole and drop a couple.”

While Stackhouse isn’t eligible for the Volvik Race for the Card as a sponsor invite she still has a lot to play for this week heading into the second stage of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament.

“This sets up perfectly going into second stage,” Stackhouse explained. “The competition out here is great. Everything about this sets up as great preparation. Also this is the championship so I want to come out here and play well and make the most of the sponsor exemption.”


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Written By: Symetra Tour Communications