Nocera takes lead at LPGA Sectional Qualifying Tournament
VENICE, Fla., Oct. 1, 2009 – Gwladys Nocera became the third new leader of the week when she carded a 4-under-par 68 today to take a three-stroke advantage heading into Friday's final round of the LPGA Sectional Qualifying Tournament.
Nocera, of France, showed steady patience on Florida's tricky Bermuda greens, posting rounds of 72-70-68 for a three-day total of 210 (-6) on the Bobcat Course at Plantation Golf and Country Club.
She leads Duramed FUTURES Tour member Sofie Andersson, of Sweden, (72-72-69) in second place at 3-under-par 213, and Stephanie Connelly (76-68-70), of Maryland, and Shasta Averyhardt (69-74-71), of Michigan, both tied for third at 2-under-par 214.
“It feels good, but there's still a lot of work to do,” said Nocera, who has one tournament win in 2009, three other top-five finishes on the Ladies European Tour, and who was the points leader (3-0-1) for this year's European Solheim Cup Team. “I'm not doing anything special, but I made some good putts today.”
Nocera birdied her first two holes on a day that produced seven birdies and three bogeys, including two three-putt greens. She missed only one green all day and gave herself numerous birdie chances.
Andersson struggled off the tee, but credited her short game for salvaging her round with five birdies and two bogeys. Her solid wedge play also continued, with a chip-in from 20 yards on the second hole, giving her three chip-ins for the week, following two during Tuesday's round.
“I'm actually striking the ball really poorly, but I'm making it work,” said Andersson, a 2007 winner on the Duramed FUTURES Tour and former LPGA Tour member. “In this tournament, it doesn't matter if you finish first or 30th and you don't have to shoot 6-under each day, but still, you don't want any big numbers.”
Second-round leader Tiffany Joh, of California, tumbled from first into a tie for fifth with her 3-over-par score of 75 today. Joh, who has carded rounds of 69-71-75, is tied with three others at 1-under-par 215.
“It was a little bit like Chernobyl today,” said Joh, the wise-cracker from UCLA, who just spent her first summer as a professional on the Duramed FUTURES Tour. “It was a mess. I just couldn't settle down and I was all over the place. I knew I shouldn't have eaten that chocolate scone this morning with coffee.”
But the former U.S. Curtis Cup Team member was able to turn her round in the right direction, playing the front nine holes at four over and the back nine at 1-under par.
Coming into this week, 112 players hoped to be among the top 30 and ties who will advance into the LPGA's Final Qualifying Tournament. The tournament is being staged on both the Bobcat and Panther courses at Plantation Golf & Country Club, with the final two rounds moving only to the Bobcat Course. Friday's final round will start at 8 a.m., off the first and tenth tees on the Bobcat Course.
The 72-hole sectional follows the LPGA's first sectional tournament held earlier this month in Palm Springs, Calif., at Mission Hills Country Club. The top-30 players and ties from each of the sectionals will advance into the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament, set for Dec. 2-6, 2009, at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Making up the rest of the field in Daytona Beach will be current LPGA Tour members attempting to improve their priority standing and eligible Duramed FUTURES Tour players, who automatically advanced based on their position on the 2009 season-ending money list.All media interested in covering the upcoming LPGA Sectional Qualifying Tournaments and the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament should apply for credentials at www.lpgamediacredentials.com