GARDEN CITY, Kan., September 10, 2014 – Karlin Beck carded seven birdies and fired a 5-under 67 to grab sole possession of the first-round lead at the Garden City Charity Classic at Buffalo Dunes Golf Course on Friday.
Beck, who started on the back nine, opened the frigid day with back-to-back birdies on the tenth and 11th holes. After a par on the 12th hole, she made another birdie on the 13th hole. The Pike City, Alabama native closed the back nine with birdies on the 16th and 18th holes.
“I got off to a hot start, I was 5-under at the turn,” said Beck. “I took advantage of the holes I had wedges into by hitting them close and making the putts.”
Beck opened her back nine with her first bogey on the day at the first hole. She quickly rebounded with back-to-back birdies on the second and third holes. She ended the day with her second bogey on the eighth and a par on the ninth.
The temperature was in the low 50’s at the start of the day with high wind and a misting rain.
“I actually had to go and buy some clothes when I saw the weather forecast and also got some hand warmers. I just took my time on the range and made sure I was loose. Carrying the bag also helped me to get warm.”
Although it was cold, Beck was not bothered.
“I don’t think it was too bad. It was cold, but the ball was still going pretty far. The greens are rolling so pure that it was easy to make putts.”
Beck is playing some of her best golf of the year. Last week in Mayetta, she finished in a tie for 13th.
“Everything seems to be coming together. I’m hitting the ball well and I have a new putter that I have been working with for the past month.”
Beck, who currently ranks 65th on the Volvik Race for the Card money list with $8,954 in earnings, missed four cuts in a row from May through July.
She took time off from golf and has since finished in the top-30 in three of the last four events.
“Confidence with the putter is the biggest difference for me. When you know you can make putts, it takes pressure off everything else.”
Ashley Sholer (Hamilton, Ontario) is in solo second after shooting a 4-under 68.
Sholer carded back-to-back birdies on the second and third holes and the 15th and 16th holes. She made a total of six birdies on the day.
“I really wasn’t hitting great golf shots at the start, but I chipped in on one (the tenth hole, her first hole) so that made things easier when I wasn’t necessarily striking it well.”
Sholer needed just 24 putts on the day. She ranks 142nd (230.924) on Tour in average driving distance, but ranks sixth in putting average (29.91).
“My short game is my strong suit for sure. I don’t hit it as far as some of the girls out here so I often rely on my short game.”
Sholer currently ranks 66th on the Volvik Race for the Card money list with one top-10 finish at the Decatur-Forsyth Classic (T3). Of late, she has missed the cut in three of her last four events.
“I tend to do better in days after the first-round, so I am definitely happy with my start and hopefully I can keep the trend of my second and third rounds being strong.”
LASSO FOR BIRDIE WINNER’S: The Lasso for Birdies program was designed to add additional incentive for players to score. The top three birdie totals from round one and two will receive a total of $3,000.
The player who cards the most birdies will receive $1,500 while the player who records the second most will receive $1,000 and the player with the third most will receive $500.
On Friday, Karlin Beck (middle) recorded seven birdies and took home the top prize. Ashley Sholer (left) carded six birdies and pocketed $1,000 while Elena Robles (right) took home the third place prize of $500 with five birdies.
Larry Johnson from the Finney Country CVB presented the three players with their cash prize.
‘STRESSFUL, PRESSURE, MONEY’ SAYS ARONSSON: It’s no secret that the pressure of realizing a life long dream is starting to intensify for all players with just two events left. Molly Aronsson fired a bogey-free 3-under 69 on Friday and is in a tie for third.
She spoke about the emotions knowing that time is running out to get inside the top-10. Aronsson is currently 25th on the Volvik Race for the Card money list.
“Stressful, pressure, money, everything,” said Aronsson, in response to what is going through her head with two events left. “It’s part of the life, but you have to learn to enjoy it and just give your all and fight through it. It’s not easy for anybody. During times when I get worried or start thinking about it, I know that everyone else is thinking about it too so were all in it together.”
BIG BREAK RUNNER-UP SHOOTS 2-UNDER: Fiamma Felitch, who finished second to Jackie Stoelting on Big Break Florida, shot a 2-under 70 in the first-round at Buffalo Dunes.
“It was a good day out there today,” said 25-year-old Felitch. “It has been rough getting back into tournaments and playing Symetra (Tour) so to get out there and hit fairways and greens was great. It was a bogey-free day so I can’t complain.”
Felitch, who has J Symetra Tour status, is playing in just her second Symetra Tour event of the year and fourth for her professional career.
“I’m really excited to get the opportunity to play in tournaments and get tournament experience. Mentally, tournaments are way different than going out and playing or practicing. It’s been nice to get into a rhythm these last two weeks.”
Felitch is one of six former Big Break Florida contestants in the field this week so she is comfortable with the surroundings.
“It’s like a little family out here and I get to see some of my good friends. A lot of us girls from Big Break Florida have stayed close to each other. It’s nice to be out here and spend time together doing what we love.”
Felitch did not advance past Qualifying Tournament stage one two weeks ago so she is uncertain of her schedule for next year.
“I’m going to play in as many tournaments as I can. I am going to play in the Arizona Women’s Open. I’m also going to play some Cactus Tour and possibly the European Tour. Whatever I can get into that feels right.”
ARTIS BACK ON TOUR OVERCOMES A TRIPLE: Last week, Australian native Rebecca Artis finished second at the Helsingborg Open on the Ladies European Tour. She earned €25,375 with her 10-under 278.
Artis is back on the Symetra Tour and off to a good start with a 2-under 70 in the first-round of the Garden City Charity Classic.
She overcame a triple-bogey on the par-5 first hole, which was her tenth hole.
DON’T COUNT OUT DANIELA: Daniela Iacobelli (Viera, Fla.) is in a five-way tie for third at 3-under 69 after day one.
Iacobelli currently ranks 23rd on the Volvik Race for the Card money list and has finished inside the top-20 in two straight events.
In 2012, she won the last event of the year to jump from 22nd to fifth to get her LPGA Tour card.
She has experience coming from behind and will try to get her LPGA Tour card for a second time.