Fasoldt leads Challenge Division; Seven birdies puts Kleiman in Senior Division lead
The LPGA T&CP National Championship kicked-off Monday on the Chateau Course at the Chateau Elan in Braselton, Ga. This is the sixth year that the Chateau Elan has hosted the National Championship. It was the start of an exciting tournament marking the first time that the LPGA T&CP will send eight of the top finishers in the Championship division to the 2015 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. It will also be the second time that the winner of the Senior division will get an exemption into the 2015 Legends Championship.
Course conditions set the competitors up for a great day of golf as the first round went underway. Playing in the morning wave proved to be a benefit for the players Monday as the wind began to pick up later in the day.
NO QUESTION SHE’S ‘BACK’
Defending Champion, Jean Bartholomew had no trouble during her first round play in the Championship division. Bartholomew entered the tournament with ongoing back issues, but they did not seem to affect her round, posting a 67 Monday.
“The pain really comes and goes,” Bartholomew said. “But I took some ibprophen and walked a lot today which I think helped to keep it loose.”
Bartholomew racked up six birdies, with one bogey for the day, finishing at 5-under for her first round. Her birdies came from great work on the green, playing with an unfamiliar club.
“I put a new putter in the bag,” Bartholomew said. “It helped me make more of my birdie putts. It was the first time playing with this putter. My regular putter I noticed was bent, so I grabbed this one out of the garage and after playing with it, I’m not sure why I let it sit there so long.”
Although the wind did pick up towards her back nine, she did not seem phased channeling her mental strength.
“The greens are soft so you can be more aggressive,” Bartholomew said. “And with the wind I focused better. I always enjoy this event and try not to put too much pressure on myself and just play. You have got to be smart out here. On tough holes stay out of trouble, and take advantage of the par-fives.”
Heading into play Tuesday, Bartholomew holds a three stroke lead over Kristen Samp (70), followed by Laurie Rinker (71) and Sue Ginter (71). Rinker just recently became the 2014 Champion of the Legends Championship earlier this week and will hold tough compeition in in the field.
From the Senior division, Jan Kleiman leads with an impressive score of 65 for her first round. She is followed by defending Champion, Dede Cusimano and Carolyn Hill at 69. Kleiman finished the day with seven birdies on her bogey-free round.
“I think missed two or three greens,” Kleiman said. “So steady, made a couple of long putts and made all the putts your suppose to make”.
Consistent and efficient putting proved to be an edge for the leaders Monday as Kleiman plans to carry her putting momentum over to Tuesday, Dede Cusimano knows that she is just beginning her confidence with her flatstick.
“I had one bogey and four birdies,” Cusimano said. “And that was leaving about three putts just short by one inch from the hole so I know I can get those.”
Defending Champion Cusimano admitted to the help of duel LPGA and T&CP member Laurie Rinker on her putting during early practice rounds. Rinker helped Cusimano gain her confidence with her putts during her
round and consistency to hitting the greens.
“Overall I am happy with my play and I’m glad to be in this position after the first round of play” Cusimano said.
It will be a battle for the Senior divison this week as they are off to a great start. With Cusimano and Hill on her Kleiman’s heels, she knows she will have to keep consistent tomorrow.
“Hopefully I can keep up how I played,” Kleiman said. “Just keep hitting the greens and dropping them in the hole like today.”
All three leaders Kleiman(65), Cusimano(69) and Hill(69) will tee off in the second wave Tuesday that begins at 11:40a.m. ET.
UP TO THE CHALLENGE
Susan Fasoldt headed into the clubhouse leading the Challenge division after shooting a 73 on her first round. Fasoldt had a fairly easy day on the course as course conditions worked toward her advantage.
“I liked the greens because they hold shots,” Fasoldt said. “I couldn’t tell if I was relaxed or exhausted out there, but it was a pretty easy round of golf for me. My family is out here and my dad is caddying for me which helps me have fun.”
Fasoldt is followed by Cathy Edelen(75) and heading into play Tuesday. The Challenge division will tee off during the afternoon wave for the second round.
“I look to do the same thing tomorrow and hope to not change a thing,” Fasoldt said.
-Barbara Moxness withdrew from the Senior divison with illness (fever)
-Devon Holden from the Championship division was disqualified for an unsigned scorecard
SECOND ROUND TEE TIMES:
-First wave tees off at 7:30a.m ET
-Second wave tees off starting at 11:40a.m. ET
Topics: Teaching and Club Professionals