Rookie Weaver takes Tullymore lead

Tullymore Classic Day 2

CANADIAN LAKES, MICH. - Lindsey Weaver (Bellefontaine, Ohio) was dynamite again on Saturday with her second straight 7-under, 65 to build a two-shot lead at the Tullymore Classic. Weaver is 14-under, 130 through 36 holes and has made just one bogey. Weaver, who ranks 15th on the Volvik Race for the Card money list, will aim for her first Symetra Tour victory on Sunday. Yu Liu (Beijing, China) birdied seven of her final 12 holes to pull within two of Weaver at 12-under, 132.

No. 1 on the money list, Nanna Koerstz Madsen (Copenhagen, Demark), Jessica Welch (Thomasville, Ga.) and Sophia Popov (Heidelberg, Germany) are in a tie for third at 10-under, 134.

The first-place payout of $15,000 would move Weaver inside the top 10 on the money list.

The cut was made at even-par, 144 and 76 players will tee it up on Sunday in the final-round, which begins at 7:30 a.m.  Weaver and Liu will play in the final pairing on Sunday at 1:40 p.m.

Weaver, 23, turned in a clean scorecard with seven birdies, five on the front nine and two on the back.

“I’ve worked the last two weeks on my putting and I’ve given myself a lot of opportunities this week,” said Weaver. “It is nice to see all the grinding on the putting green pay off. I have a lot of wedge shots into these greens and I’ve hit a lot within ten feet.”

Weaver ended her round with a 15-footer on 18 that just slid inside the right side of the cup. She lifted her left leg in the air and willed the putt home.

“That was pretty special, it was a good one,” said Weaver of her putt on 18. “I was hoping to just ease it close, but if it didn’t hit the hole it was going far past it so I was happy that one went into the hole.”

Weaver has four top 10 finishes this season and has been in contention a number of times. This will be the first time she sleeps on the 36 hole lead.

“I’m excited to be in this position going into the last day, it is good to get that type of experience regardless of how tomorrow pans out,” said Weaver. “It’ll be a good learning experience for sure.”

Weaver said that she will talk to her mom before the round on Sunday to relieve some of the pressure. 

“My mom always texts me before and right after my rounds regardless of how I play,” said Weaver. “I’ll probably give her a phone call to talk about things.”

The statistics tell the story this week for Weaver. She has been deadly accurate off the tee (24-of-26 fairways), precise with her irons (32-of-36 greens in regulation) and solid with the putter (55 putts).

We could see history tomorrow as the all-time 54-hole scoring record on the Symetra Tour is 18-under (Vicky Hurst in 2008 and Christine Song in 2010).

Weaver would be the sixth rookie to win this season (Daniela Darquea, Hannah Green, Nanna Koerstz Madsen, Celine Boutier, Chorphaka Jaengkit).

LIU EXCITED TO CHASE: Yu Liu had the lead heading into the final-round of the Tullymore Classic in 2016, but posted an even-par, 72 and finished in a tie for fourth. This year, Liu is excited to be in the chase position.

“It’s a good position to be in, to me I feel like it is better than leading,” said Liu, who carded a 68 on Saturday. “I have a goal and have someone to chase. I’m just going to try to learn from the experience last year and just don’t think ahead of myself. I’m feeling confident.”

Liu has two things on her side - she knows that birdies are available and she has more experience being in contention. She finished T5 last week at the Island Resort Championship and has three top 10’s this year.

“There are also a lot of people at 10-under and a four shot lead is not big at all on this course,” said Liu. “Past few tournaments, I’ve been in good position heading into the final day, but I struggled a little bit. I’ve learned from those experiences.”

US OPEN BOUND JESSICA WELCH POSTS 65: Jessica Welch (Thomasville, Ga.) tallied nine birdies on Saturday to post the second best round of her career, a 7-under, 65. She moves to a tie for third at 10-under, 134.

“I feel good, I felt like I could swing completely free,” said Welch, who finished in a tie for third two weeks ago at the Decatur-Forsyth Classic. “I knew exactly where it (ball) was going to go all day.”

Welch is peaking at the right time. She posted a career-low 64 in her U.S. Women’s Open qualifier on June 9 to earn medalist honors and then earned her first top 10 two weeks ago. She is doing a better job managing nerves.

“I was just staying in my routine, there is comfort in routine,” explained Welch. “I tend to overswing when I get nervous so the biggest thing I told myself was to club down or choke down and try and swing smooth.”

Welch is a rookie on the Symetra Tour and like most, it took her time to find her comfort. She missed the cut in two of her first three starts.

“It took me a few events to get comfortable out here,” admitted Welch. “You sometimes feel like a little fish in a big pond when you first come out here. Every week, I’ve been steadily growing to where I feel 100 percent everyday.”

POPOV CHIPS IN AND HOLES OUT: It was a second-round Sophia Popov (Heidelberg, Germany) won’t soon forget. On her first hole, she hit her approach left and nearly went into the water hazard. Fortunately, the ball was dry and she chipped in for birdie.

“I’m glad that shot was in a chipable position, I thought it might be in the water,” said Popov. “It was just a really nice way to start the round. It was actually a pretty simple chip, but you will always take zero putts on any hole.”

Popov made five birdies and just one bogey on her outward nine. She slipped up on holes one and two with bogeys and then arrived at hole three looking to get back on track.

“I thought it was going to be a tough wedge shot because you don’t have a lot of green to work with,” said Popov, who had about 60 yards with the chip. “It took a bounce and then rolled in. It was pretty exciting to see it roll in.”

Popov made seven birdies, three bogeys and an eagle for a colorful scorecard.

“Two hole outs just doesn’t happen a lot,” said Popov. “It has been one of those up-and-down days. I three-putted and then a couple holes later I hole out. I just had to trust that I had birdies in me. An eagle from 60 yards certainly helps.”

OF NOTE
• Michigan State rising sophomore, Allyson Geer, posted a 1-over, 73 to make the cut and stand in a tie for 26th. She is 3-under, 141 through two rounds.
• Players one through four on the Volvik Race for the Card money list are all inside the top 20 into the field round (No. 1 Nanna Koerstz Madsen - T3, No. 2 Benyapa Niphatsophon - T14, No. 3 Celine Boutier - T6, No. 4 Emma Talley - T11).
• Rachel Rohanna made seven birdies between holes eight and 16 to move to T8.
 

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