QUEENSTOWN, Md., Aug. 18, 2007 –
Annie Young (69) of Highland, Utah moved into second place at 139 (-5), followed by Violeta Retamoza (70) of Aguascalientes, Mexico, in third at 140 (-4).
“It was just another day of good ball striking,” said Fankhauser of Columbus, Ohio. “My goal was to get to 10-under or better today and I still have some work to do tomorrow. Whether it’s a one-shot or more lead, I want to put more space between myself and the field.”
The former Ohio State University All-American wasted no time doing that today at Hunters Oak Golf Club. To kick off her bogey-free round, she rolled in an eight-footer for birdie on the second hole and a second birdie from eight feet on No. 7. On the back nine, she carded three birdies in four holes, rolling in a 10-footer on the 13th, a tap-in on the 15th and a 15-footer on the 16th.
Currently leading the Duramed FUTURES Tour in season scoring average (71.3), Fankhauser showed why her solid play has moved her into fifth place on the 2007 Money List in only 11 events and why she is poised this week to earn her second professional title. The LPGA Tour member hit 16 greens in regulation and needed only 29 putts. She was untouchable all day, never relinquishing the lead.
“I kept it simple, hit a lot of fairways and greens, and really stayed in the present,” said Fankhauser, a rookie non-exempt LPGA Tour member whose first win came in 2006. “But there are a lot of solid players out here and it’s not over until the last putt goes into the last hole.”
Young relied on patience to move up the leaderboard in today’s second round. The 6,339-yard links-style course was windy for most of the day and its severely undulating greens firmed up in the warm sunshine, causing more than a few headaches among players. But Young, a former All-American at Oklahoma State University and second-year pro, got her putter rolling. She hit 12 greens in regulation and converted for 26 putts. And she kicked off her round with a 40-foot birdie bomb on the first hole.
“It was a good start,” said 28th-ranked Young, who is still seeking her first professional title. “I’ve been really trying to stay patient and that’s a huge key for me. Sometimes, I want it right now.”
Young played the front nine at even par, and then rolled in four birdies and one bogey on the first seven holes of the back nine. She nearly aced the par-three 16th, tapping in for birdie from a couple of inches, and then lipped out birdie putts on the last two holes. It was a low round that could have been even lower.
“I think I’m really close to playing the kind of golf I want to play and it’s almost like God is teaching me patience,” said Young. “Sometimes, it feels like college all over again.”
Retamoza, who earned her first pro title in late July in Syracuse, N.Y., carded her second consecutive round of 70. She hit 17 greens in regulation, but carded 33 putts with one three-putt green.
“I didn’t give myself enough birdie opportunities,” said Retamoza, a former University of Tennessee All-American who currently is ranked sixth on the season money list. “I just didn’t get as close to the pin as I wanted, but I made some long putts and missed some short putts, so I guess it evened out.”
The rookie three-putted for bogey from 70 feet on the third hole, but rolled in birdies on the seventh and eighth holes from 12 feet and 25 feet, respectively. She got up and down from a bunker for birdie on the 12th, and then rolled in another bomb from 27 feet on the 13th.
The Mexican admittedly could not resist trying to hit her second shot from the hazard on the 15th hole. She had to stand in water for the shot and managed to hit her 9-iron 105 yards pin-high to the right rough. But while she executed her shot to near perfection, her eight-foot par putt missed.
“I always wanted to hit that shot,” laughed Retamoza. “I took my shoes off, got into the water and hit it.”
The trio of rookie Esther Choe (71) of Scottsdale, Ariz., two-time season winner Liz Janangelo (71) of West Hartford, Conn., and fourth-year member Yoora Kim (72) of Seoul, Korea moved into a tie for fourth at 141 (-3).
And like Fankhauser, fourth-ranked Janangelo is trying to keep or improve her position among the top-five season money winners with only three more Sunday paydays remaining in 2007.
“I hit every green but one on the back nine today and I’m happy with the way I’m striking the ball,” said Janangelo, a second-year pro and former All-American at Duke University. “I just kept fighting.”
And so will the field if they want any chance of catching Runaway Mollie on Sunday.
“I feel like I have to make a ton of birdies on Sunday because it looks like Mollie is taking it low,” said Young, who will play in Sunday’s final pairing with Fankhauser and Retamoza. “She’s one heckuva player.”
Seventy-three players made the 36-hole cut at 151 (+7).
The final round of this week’s 54-hole event will begin Sunday at 8 a.m., off the first tee only. The leaders will tee off at 11:36 a.m.
For scores and more information, visit www.duramedfuturestour.com.
Weather: Sunny and fair with a high temperature of 77 degrees. Winds around 14 mph with gusts up to 20 mph.
Contact: Lisa D. Mickey, Duramed FUTURES Tour at (410) 827-3260 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.
photo Getty Images