Ally McDonald (Fulton, Miss.) and Nicole Broch Larsen (Hillerod, Denmark) will share the 54-hole lead at the Symetra Tour Championship presented by IOA at 14-under, 199.

“The front nine I just struck the ball really well and gave myself opportunities,” McDonald said. “I had a good sand save on number five which kept the momentum going to finish 4-under on the front. On the back, I just had a few missed shots where I wasn’t able to get up-and-down.”

“It was a good day. I played really well in the beginning,” Broch Larsen said. “I think I was inside six meters each of the first five holes and was playing really well. I only made one putt but was playing really well.”

The duo each finished their days in style with birdies on the 18th hole.

“I felt like it was a pretty key finish,” McDonald explained. “Nicole had made the putt prior. You can’t win it today but I’m setting myself up for a good finish. With us both making closing birdies it should be an exciting finish tomorrow.”

“It was really nice finishing off with the birdie,” Broch Larsen added. “I’m excited for tomorrow. Another battle with Ally. We’re playing great, both of us, so it’ll be a good day tomorrow.”

Broch Larsen, who plays primarily on the Ladies European Tour, has a chance to bypass the Second Stage of LPGA Qualifying School with a win.

“Obviously, it’s different from playing a Thursday,” Broch Larsen said with a smile. “This week for me has been about trying to focus on each shot and I’ve done great so far with that so I’m going to see if I can stick with that again tomorrow. I think there will be a little bit more nerves but that’s natural and I’m just going to see how I can handle that and hopefully I can stick to it and hit some good shots like I did today as well.”

McDonald has already locked up her 2017 LPGA Tour Card and currently sits at No. 3 on the Volvik Race for the Card money list but would like to end her season on a high note.

“I’m confident and excited,” McDonald said of playing in the final group. “I’m just having fun. I think a little bit of that last tournament of the season mentality is taking over so I’m just enjoying it. I’m not going to be able to tee it up in competitive golf until January so I’m trying to finish strong and have good thoughts going into the first LPGA event.”

McDonald and Larsen have both exhibited fantastic golf through 54-holes. The 72-hole Symetra Tour scoring record is 261 (-19) set by Jennifer Song (68-67-65-61) at the 2010 Tate & Lyle Players Championship at Hickory Point Golf Club in Decatur, Ill.

Joining McDonald and Broch Larsen in the final group will be Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong (Bangkok, Thailand), who ranks seventh on the money list and shot the round of the day, a 6-under, 65. The trio will tee off at 9:50 a.m. off the first tee with play expected to wrap up around 3:00 p.m.

Following the conclusion of play on Sunday, 2017 LPGA Tour Cards will be awarded to the players who finish the season in the top-10 on the Volvik Race for the Card money list. The ceremony is expected to begin at 3:30 p.m. in the clubhouse at Alaqua Country Club.

THE WILD AND CRAZY MORNING THAT ENDED 1-UNDER FOR EMMA DE GROOT: Emma de Groot (Coffs Harbour, Australia) nearly missed her tee time, hit three balls in her warm up, thought her car was stolen, had to pay $200 and this was all before her 8:30 a.m. tee time in the third round of the Symetra Tour Championship at Alaqua Country Club.

As de Groot walked outside of her rental for the week, which is 30-minutes from Alaqua Country Club, the car was missing. She thought her caddy, Ashley Sholer, was messing with her and moved the car to another location. Nope, the car was towed. Below is a timeline of how de Groot got to the course and ultimately made her tee time.

By the way, she posted a 1-under, 71.

6:45: Emma: “we went to leave and were allowing plenty of time and we walk out and the car is just not there and I thought Ashley was messing with me and she was like ‘honestly, no idea where it is’ so our first thought was that it was stolen. Our passports are in there and we’re headed to Canada tomorrow and my golf clubs are in there too. Then, we realize that the permit to park at the course was sitting on top of the permit to park at our rental.”

There was a sign about unauthorized vehicles, but no phone number displayed. Emma panicked and her first thought was to call her dad, but he is in Australia. Ashley figured out what towing company had the car.

Now, the issue was how they were going to get to the tow company.

6:50: Emma: “it’s early in the morning so we tried to call the lady we rented the place from, but she didn’t answer. We tried to call one of the guys we played in the pro-am with, but he didn’t pick up. There are no Ubers in the area and I call the first taxi place and the earliest a taxi could get to us was 45 minutes. We would miss our tee time that way.”

Eventually, they found a taxi service that came to get them.

7:00: Emma “we had the greatest taxi driver ever. We tell him that we’re in a hurry and he just floors it. We still had a 50 minute round trip to go from the tow yard to the golf course. Ashley calls the tow company and tries to get the payment sorted out on the ride. He told us it has to be cash and luckily Ashley had cash. I had like three dollars. We get to the tow place and everything is locked. She calls the guy and he shows up about 10-15 minutes later.”

7:30: Emma “I show him my license and say that she (Ashley) is going to check the car out and I run to the car, grab my clubs and a pair of shoes and a hat and run back to the taxi who is waiting for us. Me and mister taxi man start hauling it to the course.”

Ashley eventually caught up to Emma and mister taxi and when they both make the turn into Alaqua there is a ten deep line to get by the security gate. Emma then jumps out of the taxi and throws her stuff in the car with Ashley.

8:13: Emma “we get to the golf course and Kathy Moore (Player Services at LPGA) waits for me and drives me to the range and I hit two 7-irons and a 3-wood and she drives me to the tee to meet Ashley on the tee.”

Her first tee shot wasn’t great, but she managed to birdie her first hole.

“Maybe there is something to this whole not stressing about golf and stressing about something,” said de Groot, who ranks 24th on the money list. “We didn’t know if we were going to make the tee time so we didn’t know if it was a DQ or if it would be a cut made and last place money. It was a crazy day, but we didn’t panic and we kept each other calm.”

 

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Written By: Symetra Tour Communications

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