Pair of Canadians three back at Gateway ClassicWritten by Symetra Tour
MESA, ARIZONA, March 30, 2017 – Mina Harigae (Monterey, Calif.), the 2009 Symetra Tour Player of the Year, carded a 4-under, 68 to move into a share of the 36-hole lead at 7-under, 137. Late in the day, Stephanie Kono (Honolulu, Hawaii) made birdie on her last hole to get to 7-under as well. Harigae, who lives ten minutes from Longbow Golf Club, will go for her fourth career win on Saturday in the final round while Kono aims for her first.
A total of 63 players made the cut, which fell at 3-over 147.
“My driver was good, my irons were good, but mostly my putter has been solid,” said Harigae, who has six
career top 10 finishes on the LPGA Tour. “I’ve played mostly mistake free golf which has really helped me.”
The highlight of her round was the 13th hole, when she chipped in for birdie.
“I actually didn’t see the golf course at all on that hole,” joked Harigae. “I hit it in the fairway bunker, then I hit it over the green and had an elevated chip and I chipped it in. It was definitely a fun birdie.”
Harigae got into the first LPGA Tour event of the year in the Bahamas to kick off her eighth year on Tour and finished T31, but hasn’t been able to get into events since. Therefore, she decided to play this week in order to keep fresh and because of how close she lives to the course.
“I just wanted to play in a tournament because I’ve been playing well and it has been so much fun playing somewhere so close to my house,” explained Harigae. “This was my home course for the first three years that I lived here so I know it very well.”
Harigae won the Heather Farr at Longbow as a junior.
Kono, who has known Harigae for a long time starting with junior golf, made three birdies and just one bogey to post a 70. She turned in a bogey-free 67 on Thursday.
“I’m playing solid right now and hit a lot of good shots today, but didn’t quite make as many putts as
yesterday,” said Kono. “I stayed patient today and I am really proud of myself for that.”
Kono has five career top 10 finishes on the Symetra Tour and two of them have come at Longbow Golf Club.
“I feel ready (to win),” said Kono. “It will be fun tomorrow.”
The final group of Harigae, Kono and Emma Talley (Princeton, Ky.) will tee at 8:50 a.m. The Tour has planned a split-tee start in order to allow players ample time to travel to the next event in Northern California at Windsor Golf Club.
Canadians Anne-Catherine Tanguay (Quebec City) and Samantha Richdale (Kelowna, B.C.) are both at 4-under par and hold shares of seventh place.
GROUP OF THE DAY; TALLEY, LAW, CHENG ALL END T3: Emma Talley (Princeton, Ky.), Bronte Law (Manchester, England) and Liv Cheng (Auckland, New Zealand) played together in rounds one and two and all three stand at 5-under, 139 in a share of third place.
Talley posted a 4-under, 68 on Friday while Law and Cheng shot 3-under, 69.
“It’s great to get to play with people you get along with really well,” said Law, who won the ANNIKA Award in 2016. “I’ve been playing with Emma for a long time at college tournaments and national team events and I met Liv this week and have played a few practices rounds with her now and we all get along well.”
Law, who left UCLA with the most wins in school history, is happy with her first two starts on the Symetra Tour.
“I’m really taking it in stride and learning a lot as I go along,” said Law. “It’s my first year out on tour and I’m just trying to make sure I make myself accountable and work really hard because this is a very good tour.”
Talley, who finished T10 at the season opener, closed with four birdies on the back nine.
“It was a very consistent day, I think I hit 17 greens today,” said Talley, who has four career top 10’s on the Symetra Tour in 16 career starts. “I definitely left some putts out there and I feel confident going into tomorrow.”
Talley finished 26th on the Volvik Race for the Card money list in 2016 in just a half year on Tour.
“It’s a long season and I am enjoying myself and I have a lot of really good friends on Tour,” said Talley. “I played well the first week, I was shaky the second week, but if I stay consistent hopefully I will be there at the end.”
DANIELA IACOBELLI SWITCHES TO LEFT HAND LOW LAST NIGHT: Daniela Iacobelli (Melbourne, Florida) took 33 putting strokes on Thursday and shot a 5-over, 77. She even three-putted from two feet.
After the round, she went to the practice putting green and decided to switch to a left-hand low putting grip. It seems to have worked as she made birdie on four of her final five holes on Saturday to post a 4-under, 68 in windy and cold morning conditions.
“I definitely had the rock rolling on the final four or five holes and then I holed out from the bunker on 17,” said Iacobelli. “I left myself a 40-footer on 18 and I was thinking ‘god, just two-putt’ and I did.”
Iacobelli moved from T115 to T26.