MEMORIES DRIVE IACOBELLI UP THE LEADERBOARD
Following a 7-under par 65 in the first round of the Epson Tour Championship on the Jones Course at LPGA International, Daniela Iacobelli (Melbourne, Florida) is one of three players tied for the lead and she has a little bit of history on her side.
Iacobelli won the 2012 Epson Tour Championship to jump into the Volvik Race for the Card top-10 and earn LPGA Tour membership for the 2013 season. A solo second result this time around along with some help would get the Florida Institute of Technology alumna into the top-10, but a win would ensure her a place among the 2019 Epson Tour graduating class.
“I felt nerves over the putt on No. 18 because you’re staring out at the LPGA sign and I could remember the exact putt I had when I won in 2012,” said Iacobelli, currently No. 16 in the Volvik Race for the Card. “It was a little reminiscent about it, but still a fresh start. It’s so many things and I just keep trying to stay present, but I’m not really good at that most of the time. We were also fortunate enough this morning to play 10 holes without any real wind.”
DALTON PLAYING WITH NOTHING TO LOSE
Another 18-hole co-leader in Volusia County, Kendra Dalton (Poughquag, New York) has already secured Epson Tour Category A membership for 2020 as she will finish in the top-80 on the Volvik Race for the Card money list.
It is now a matter of chasing the second annual LPGA Q-Series, with Nos. 11-35 automatically qualifying for the event. At $17,806 in total season earnings, Dalton is $17,891 outside of the last spot.
“Nothing to lose is the mindset I had coming into this week,” Dalton said after a bogey-free showing. “I feel like I have yet to play my best this year, so just go play free and I feel like that’s what I did today. It was exciting to see my game come together. Really is about how bad you want it and going after it. It’s a fun opportunity and spot to be in.”
WEARN SAVES SEASON-BEST FOR RIGHT TIME
The final individual that is part of the co-leader trio, Laura Wearn (Charlotte, North Carolina) found her way to a 7-under par 65 in bogey-free fashion like Dalton. It also sets a season-best score to par, which tops her previous of 6-under set in March for the second round of Florida’s Natural Charity Classic.
“It was nice to finally play a solid round,” said Wearn, ranked No. 65 in the Volvik Race for the Card with $16,663. “Kind of been a tough year and a few good ones sprinkled in there, but I hit the ball really well today. I hit it really close, made a couple good putts. For the most part, everything was close to the hole. I hit all 18 greens which I don’t think I’ve done all year, hopefully continue the rest of the weekend.”
Lauren Coughlin (-6, T4) on her comfort level at the Jones Course:
“I’ve played Q-School here twice and then one Epson Tour Championship, so probably 25-30 rounds. I am very familiar with it. I don’t have to think too much, it’s very instinctual where I need to be because of how many times I’ve played it. I think I play better the more times I play it in competition. The more times I see courses, the better I get at them. This is another one where I know it very well."
Min Seo Kwak (-6, T4) on goals and how she feels with her positions:
“I set a goal for 6-under at least every day, then I could be in top three, I think. Hopefully I can make it in the top-10 again, that is my goal. I like my position and being near the top of the leaderboard. As for the [Volvik Race for the Card] top-10, not really. I hoped to be in the top five or seven at least. But I have an opportunity this week, one more chance so I will try to grab that opportunity this week.”
Nuria Iturrioz (-6, T4) on preparations for the Epson Tour Championship:
“Well, I know this tournament is very important. I have to do my best. I spoke with my coach a lot, with my mental coach yesterday and I made a few little changes with my swing the last few days when I was with my coach. I’m trying to keep focused and enjoy the week. This course is really good for me because it is wide and not that long with big greens. I’m good with this course, so now I just have to keep going.”
- Iacobelli, 31, is a native of Melbourne, Florida
- Inducted into the Florida Institute of Technology Hall of Fame in 2014
- Recorded 29 top-10 finishes and collected eight wins during her collegiate career
- Winner of the 2007 NCAA Division II Women’s Golf Championships individual title
- Named the 2006 Sunshine State Conference Freshman of the Year and selected as the F.I.T. Female Athlete of the Year for 2007-2008
- In 2012, won the Daytona Beach Invitational and captured four additional top-10 finishes to finish fifth in the Volvik Race for the Card
- Rookie on the LPGA Tour in 2013 has made total of 51 career starts on the big stage entering 2019 with a career-best solo ninth in the 2018 LOTTE Championship
- Stepped into winner’s circle for second time on the Epson Tour at 2015 Tullymore Classic and added seven other top-10s that year to finish fourth in the Volvik Race for the Card
- Entering the 2019 season on the “Road to the LPGA,” total of 104 career starts with two wins and 20 top-10 performances since her rookie year in 2010