NO EXPECTATIONS KEY FOR TORRES
Almost two years ago, Maria Torres stormed on to the LPGA Tour by winning a three-hole aggregate playoff at the 2017 Final Qualifying Tournament to earn the final LPGA card available and become the first player from Puerto Rico to earn full membership on the LPGA Tour.
Year two on the LPGA Tour has proved more challenging for Torres, as she has missed six cuts in her last seven starts. She’s off to a hot start in Indianapolis, with back-to-back rounds in the 60s to head into the weekend tied for third at 7-under par.
Torres said the main thing she has tried to work on over the last few off-weeks was to stay present, not put pressure on herself and to “go with the flow.”
“I've been working on a lot, on I think everything,” Torres said. “My wedges, on my rhythm on the backswing, the tempo. Yeah, so on my putting, too, I've been working on that, and starting the ball good and having a good pace. So basically the entire game.”
As a racing fan, Torres is especially fond of this week’s venue inside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. While in town for the Cambia Portland Classic she witnessed her friend and compatriot Bryan Ortiz win the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup in Portland, and she jokingly told him: “Last week was your turn, now hopefully this is mine.
OLSON BACK IN THE SWING AFTER BAKING BREAK
Amy Olson needed a timeout from golf. Before the IWiT Championship, Olson said she only practiced about 10 hours total in the break she had after the Cambia Portland Classic. She said it was nice to take some time away from the game, and have “like, a normal life.” Olson showed no signs of rust though after posting a 36-hole score of 138, heading into the weekend five strokes off the lead in a tie for fifth.
“I feel like I’ve played well here,” said Olson, “I didn’t I didn't play great last year, but I really enjoy playing this course and coming here. This was kind of home for me the last two years, so that was a lot of fun.”
But back at her real home in North Dakota, no golf did not mean no work. Olson’s husband, Grant, is the linebacker’s coach at North Dakota State University. For the last four weeks, Amy has been baking for the 16 linebackers on the Bison’s squad. “Every time the team wins a game, the next Thursday the coaches’ wives make treats for their husband’s position group,” said Olson. “I was literally house-wifing.”
Olson made a variety of treats – chocolate chip cookies and brownies among the weekly baking menu, about three dozen every time. She will miss the next week if the team wins due to the Volunteers of America Classic, but said the other coaches’ wives will cover for her as she travels. As much as she misses being home with her husband and the team, she said she is excited to be back out on the course, after her “mini offseason.”
“I needed that, especially going into Asia, just having kind of a stretch still coming up here. It gets to be a long season,” said Olson yesterday after a first-round 66. “Being able to come out and still play well and know that sometimes what your body actually needs is rest and what your mind needs is rest, it's just confirmation for me.”
ALEX SHOWS UP AGAINST CHALLENGING WIND
Marina Alex may have only shot a second-round 71, but it was enough to keep her in a tie for third heading into the weekend with Maria Torres at -7. Alex said it was a fight to the finish at the Brickyard Crossing Golf Course playing against the test that the windy weather brought.
“Conditions were crazy, so much different than yesterday, ton of wind from the start to finish. Some tough hole locations out there, too, with just the wind direction and how you were trying to get to the hole was not that easy,” said Alex.
Alex said despite an unfortunate shot into the water on the par-3 seventh that led to a double bogey, she was happy to make enough birdies the rest of the day and play well on the par-5s.
“It's a challenge for sure, I enjoy it. It's just exhausting, though,” said Alex. “At least I'll get to sleep in. If it's windy again, I'll probably feel a little more refreshed. Right now I'm ready to shut it down.”
Rolex Rankings No. 40 Mi Jung Hur (63-70)
- She hit six of 14 fairways and 13 of 18 greens, with 29 putts
- In 2019 she has made 15 cuts in 17 starts with four top-10 finishes including a win at the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open
- Her first-round 63 is her second-lowest career round; she has twice recorded rounds of 62 at the 2019 Kia Classic (third round) and the 2019 ASI Ladies Scottish Open (second round)
- She is competing in her second IWiT Championship; she missed the cut in 2017
- She has three career LPGA wins: 2009 Cambia Portland Classic, 2014 Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic and the 2019 ASI Ladies Scottish Open
- Went 112 starts between her victory at the 2014 Yokohama Tire LPGA Classic and the 2019 ASI Ladies Scottish Open
- Has one career victory on the Epson Tour
- Credits her father and watching Se Ri Pak win the 1998 U.S. Women’s Open, as most influencing her career
Rolex Rankings No. 136 Sakura Yokomine (65-70)
- She hit 12 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens, with 33 putts
- Her 36-hole 135 total is the best mark of her 2019 season
- Her first-round 65 is her lowest round of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; her career-best round is a third-round 61 at the 2018 ShopRite LPGA Classic
- In 2019, she has made 13 of 19 cuts with a season-best T16 finish at the Meijer LPGA Classic
- Yokomine is a 2015 LPGA Tour rookie; her career-best finish is solo second at the 2018 ShopRite LPGA Classic
- She is making her third start at the IWiT Championship; she missed the cut in 2018 and 2017
Rolex Rankings No. 31 Marina Alex (66-71)
- She hit 10 of 14 fairways and 14 of 18 greens, with 29 putts
- Made her Team USA debut at the 2019 Solheim Cup where she posted a 1-1-2 record
- In 2019, she has made 16 of 19 cuts with four top-10 finishes including a season-best T7 finish in her title defense at the Cambia Portland Classic
- Alex is in her seventh season on the LPGA Tour, with one career victory at the 2018 Cambia Portland Classic
- Two-time First-Team All-American (2010, 2012) at Vanderbilt University and was inducted in the Vanderbilt Hall of Fame in 2015
- Graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2012 with a degree in Communications
- She is making her third start at the IWiT Championship; she finished T28 in 2018 and T13 in 2017
Rolex Rankings No. 143 Maria Torres (69-68)
- She hit 11 of 14 fairways and 15 of 18 greens, with 29 putts
- Her second-round 68 is her third 68 of the 2019 LPGA Tour season; her career-best round is a first-round 64 at the 2019 Walmart NW Arkansas Championship
- In 2019, Torres has made 10 of 22 cuts with a season-best T15 finish at the LPGA MEDIHEAL Championship
- Torres is a 2018 LPGA Tour rookie; her career-best finish is tie for seventh at the 2018 Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic
- She is making her second start at the IWiT Championship; she finished T44 in 2018
- Torres is the first player from Puerto Rico to earn full membership on the LGPA Tour
- Sponsor invite and Indianapolis-native amateur Erica Shepherd (E) made the cut on the number
- There are nine countries represented in the top 10: Rep. of Korea, Japan, Puerto Rico, U.S., Hong Kong, Thailand, Philippines, Germany and England
- Defending champion Sung Hyun Park missed the cut at +2; 2017 champion Lexi Thompson also missed the cut at +3
- Angel Yin recorded a 402-yard drive on the par-5 second hole