Mariah Stackhouse (Riverdale, Georgia) drained a 45-foot eagle putt on hole nine and grabbed the 36-hole lead at the Symetra Classic after a 3-under, 69 on Saturday at Atlanta National Golf Club. Stackhouse moved to 9-under, 135 and has a two shot lead on Nanna Koerstz Madsen (Copenhagen, Denmark), who shared the 18-hole lead and posted an even-par, 72 on Saturday.

Mind Muangkhumsakul (Khonkaen, Thailand), Cindy LaCrosse (Tampa, Fla.) and Emily Penttila (Helsinki, Finland) share third place at 6-under, 138.

The cut was made at 2-over, 146 and 61 players will tee off at Sunday. Play begins at 7:30 a.m. Sunday and the final group of Stackhouse, Koerstz Madsen and Muangkhumsakul will tee at 9:20.

The winner on Sunday will earn $22,500. Stackhouse currently ranks 48th on the Volvik Race for the Card money list and a win could move her as high as second six events into the season.

Stackhouse, who grew up in Riverdale and still lives just 15 minutes from Atlanta National, will go for her first win in the professional ranks. The four-time Georgia State Golf Association Player of the Year (2007-2010) won 97 times during her junior and amateur career and four times in college at Stanford.

“I didn’t hit them as close as yesterday, but I knew I would have to strategize a little more today, but I still hit the irons well and was able to get up and down successfully when I missed the greens,” said Stackhouse. “I had the super long eagle on nine which was really helpful. I’m literally so happy to be putting it like I am right now.”

The big moment in her round was the long eagle on hole nine. Stackhouse has struggled with her putting this year, but has worked tirelessly on the stroke. She needed 27 putts on Friday and 31 on Saturday.

“Honestly, when I walked up there, I said to myself that this (putt) looks good,” explained Stackhouse about the eagle. “There was no double-breaker, it was all moving the same direction and it was downhill so I knew if I had good speed, it would have a chance. It came off the face square and fell in so that was fun.”

Stackhouse made one bogey on the back nine and then nearly dropped another eagle on 18, but missed just right and tapped in for birdie.

While her first professional win would naturally be extra special in the greater Atlanta area, Stackhouse wants to kept the same razor sharp focus she has had all week.

“Whenever you have a hot round to start a tournament, you’ve got to keep the same level headeddemeanor,” said Stackhouse. “I’ve learned that you can’t win a tournament in one round, but you can undo what you’ve done. My focus tomorrow will be tee to green and hopefully a couple putts drop in.”

Stackhouse had a nice gathering of family friends and fans greet her after coming out of the scoring tent. She took a handful of pictures with young fans.

“I had some support come out yesterday and a couple new faces today and definitely people that I have known growing up,” said Stackhouse. “Some of them are people that play golf in the area who I have gotten to know through my GSGA career in Georgia. I definitely feel the support. Even people not here, I’ve had them comment through Facebook saying that they are pulling for the hometown girl.”

Stackhouse has played in four Symetra Tour events and two LPGA events this year.

Stackhouse’s list of accolades in the state of Georgia is endless. She won the Georgia Optimist Junior State in 2003 and 2004. Five years later, she became the youngest winner of the PGA Georgia Women’s Open Championship. The same year, she teamed with Dori Carter and Laura Coble to win the USGA Women’s State Championship. 

Koerstz Madsen, who was the Ladies European Tour Rookie of the Year in 2015, made back-to-back birdies on eight and nine coming in to salvage an even-par, 72.

“I didn’t have any control over the ball today, so I was just happy that I finished birdie-birdie for even-par,” said the 2016 Olympian Koerstz Madsen. “My driving was OK today, but my approach shots were not good.”

In 2016, Koerstz Madsen won the Tipsport Golf Masters on the LET in the Czech Republic. She entered the final round one shot back and posted a 65.

“I’ll have to see if my approach shots are better tomorrow,” said Koerstz Madsen. “If I can shoot 5-under or so I’ll give myself a good chance and then I’ll have to see what the other girls are doing.”

 

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Written By: Symetra Tour Communications

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