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Bartholomew takes four-stroke lead at LPGA T&CP National Championship

Jean Bartholomew at the 2010 Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic
Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Jean Bartholomew watches her drive on the 15th hole during the first round of the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic at Highland Meadows Golf Club.

Pecaro keeps lead in Challenge Division; Cusimano’s steady play fends off threats from Seniors

Second-round results>>      Third-round pairings>>

Braselton, Ga., September 24, 2013 – Defending champion, Jean Bartholomew shot a four-under-par 68 in the second round of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Teaching and Club Professional (T&CP) National Championship to take a four-stroke lead over closest competitor, Jessica Carafiello (71-73=144).  Bartholomew (72-68=140) made seven birdies and only three bogeys, taking advantage of the par 5’s to improve her first-round score by four strokes. 

“I’m playing relaxed,” said Bartholomew, a Teaching Professional at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.  “I still have problems with my lower back, so I’m swinging easy. I haven’t played a lot, but for me, less is more.  Whatever happens, happens.” It seems to be happening for Bartholomew, who is hitting her irons very close on most greens to make scoring look easy. 

Jessica Carafiello, within striking distance of Bartholomew, played a steady second round, but left a few putts short.  “I had a good warmup--my rhythm was there,” said Carafiello, “but I made some poor shots. Luckily I ran out of holes!” Carafiello is the Assistant Pro at Farmington Country Club in Charlottesville, Va.,

The top six finishers of the Championship division will go on to represent the LPGA T&CP in the 2014 Wegmans LPGA Championship, a major tour event. In the hunt for one of those spots besides Bartholomew and Carafiello are Kristen Samp (73-72=145), Sue Ginter (72-74=146), Lisa Grimes (76-70=146) and Alison Curdt (72-75=147). 

“This is exciting!” said Curdt.  “There’s still a lot of golf to play.  My goal is to ‘stay in the present’ and be consistent. It’s a good goal, not just in golf, but in everything.”

Pecora holds onto Challenge Division lead

Despite having trouble on the greens and shooting a 77 in the second round, Jessica Pecora (74-77=151) kept her three-stroke lead in the Challenge Division (5,900-6,200 yards). 

“I was hitting the ball well, but I wasn’t putting well. I had three 3-putts,” confessed Pecora of Milton, Ga., who is coming off a torn wrist tendon that put her out of commission for six months.  “Tomorrow, I’m going to focus on putting,” she said as she headed toward the practice green. 

After round two, Elizabeth Cooper (77-77=154) of Alexandria, Va., and Marlene Davis (79-77=156) of Williamsville, N.Y. are in second and third places, respectively.

Steady play keeps Cusimano at top of Senior Division

Well on her way to becoming a four-time National Championship winner, Dede Cusimano duplicated her first-round 69 in the second round for a six-under-par total 138. 

“Even though I had a bogey on the first hole, my ball striking has been good,” said Cusimano, who won the championship division in 2003 and senior division in 2009 and 2010. “I hung in there all day, but I have to make more putts tomorrow.”    

Poised to take advantage of any slip-ups from the leader are Susan Bond (71-71=142) from Hope Valley, R.I. and Kammy Maxfeldt (72-71=143) from Norwalk, Conn.

The LPGA National Championship was created in 1983 to provide additional playing opportunities for LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals. The three-day event has since grown to become recognized as the premier tournament for women golf professionals in the world.  The tournament features three divisions:  Championship (6,300-6,500 yards), Challenge (5,900-6,200 yards) and Senior (50+; 5,600-5,800 yards).  The entire field will be cut to the Top 70 and ties after 36-holes.

Third-round play starts at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013 off front and back nines on the Chateau Course at Chateau Elan Winery and Resort in Braselton, Ga.  

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