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Golf - 12. August 2007.

Taylor Leon Takes Lead Into Final Round in Morgantown

MORGANTOWN, W.Va., Aug. 11, 2007 –

Leon carded a three-under-par second-round score of 69 today for a three-shot lead at 134 (-10) at The Pines Country Club. But while her performance on the rolling mountain course has been solid for 36 holes, the Dallas native knows she still has 18 more holes to play and some tough competition nipping at her heels.

“I feel great because I haven’t been in the lead going into the last round in a while,” said Leon, who won her first pro title three tournaments ago. “It’s a three-shot lead, but anything can happen in golf. I need to really stay focused.”

Breathing right down her collar is the trio of Kellee Booth (69) of McKinney, Texas, Eunjung Yi (66) of Murrieta, Calif., and Vikki Laing (69) of Musselburgh, Scotland, all at 137 (-7).

And tied at 138 (-6) are Sofie Andersson (69) of Angelholm, Sweden, D’Rae Ward (70) of Weatherford, Texas and amateur Jessica Yadloczky (70) of Casselberry, Fla.

Leon said she was nervous with the lead going into today’s second round, but a chip-in for birdie from 10 yards with her 60-degree wedge on the second hole calmed her down. The former University of Georgia collegian carded one bogey and three more birdies to stay ahead of the field today in this 16th annual event.

By luck of the draw, Leon played in the morning during Friday’s first round and completed play before heavy rains soaked the course and suspended Friday’s afternoon tee times. Those 72 players who didn’t finish the first round on Friday were forced to return to the course early this morning to complete the first round, before starting Round 2. Some played 30 holes of golf today and the last 12 players to complete the second round literally ran to beat the setting sun.

Playing in the second-to-last group, Yoora Kim of Seoul, Korea fired a six-under-par score of 66 in spite of three-putting the 17th hole for bogey.

“I have trouble seeing in the dark and I had three putts because I couldn’t see the line,” said Kim, who rolled in four consecutive birdies on holes 13 through 16 and tied with four others at 139 (-5). “But that’s OK. We finished.”

Booth was one of the 72 players who got up early today to complete her first round, but 36 holes later, she was happy to be chasing the leader. The one-time Tour winner put the exclamation point on her round when she knocked in a 12-footer for birdie on the 17th, and then rolled in an eagle putt from 10 feet on the final hole.

“I was able to continue putting well today and to carry over some pretty good ball striking,” said Booth, who rolled in 29 putts.

Yi, who has posted one second- and one third-place finish this season, demonstrated solid iron play, hitting 17 greens in regulation and converting with 29 putts.

“I just like the soft greens and my putter was good today,” said Yi, 19, who recorded eight birdies and two bogeys en route to her 66.

Laing was forced to practice patience with seven consecutive pars until she finally rolled in a four-foot birdie on the eighth hole. Saying her goal this week has been to improve her creativity around the greens, the Scot saved one par from 11 feet and carded three more birdies and a lip-out bogey today.

“I’m pretty happy to be where I am,” she said. “You have to be creative out here because there are a lot of little wedges, chances to spin it back and undulating greens. You have to focus on the terrain, hit it and just go chase it.”

At least two other players had to deal with unexpected circumstances in their rounds. Andersson was stung by a bee on her hand on the first of her 27 holes today, but she rebounded to hit 14 greens in regulation and carded four birdies and one bogey for her second consecutive round of 69. Ward, who suffers from mitral valve prolapse (heart murmur), endured a “heart spell” after walking up the steep 10th fairway. Ward was forced to take medication on her third hole to “stop the shaking”, but she bogeyed three of her first four holes before the prescription took effect. Ward later added five birdies to erase her wobbly start.

“I was actually pretty irritated and just mad that it happened,” said Ward, who has had the heart condition all of her life. “I finally settled down and got into a rhythm.”

And playing in her last pro tournament this summer as an amateur before launching her college career a week from now at the University of Florida, Yadloczky couldn’t stop smiling about a second consecutive day of better-than-usual putting. She used 27 putts today and carded four birdies and two bogeys in her last summer hurrah on the Duramed FUTURES Tour.

“I expect myself to be up there, but I feel like I finally found the missing puzzle piece on the greens,” she said. “I had a putting lesson in early July, when I was averaging 35 putts per round, and now I have a new approach to seeing the line and trusting it.”

Eighty players made the 36-hole cut at 147 (+3).

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 11:54 a.m.

For scores and more information, visit www.duramedfuturestour.com.

Weather: Sunny and fair, becoming partly cloudy with a high temperature of 81 degrees and winds around 9 mph.

Contact: Lisa D. Mickey, Duramed FUTURES Tour at (304) 284-0506 and at [email protected]

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