DALTON IN FAMILIAR POSITION AT EPSON TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP
There is simply something about the Epson Tour Championship that Kendra Dalton (Poughquag, New York) agrees with.
Last year, she was the 18-hole co-leader at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla., and is in the same position again following a 4-under par 68 opening round at River Run Country Club in Davidson, N.C.
“I kind of just go for it. Last event of the year, you give it everything you got,” said Dalton. “I was a little off with my swing the last couple of weeks but found a good feel the last couple of days so excited about that. I’ve tried to get better at swinging freely and it worked today."
The BYU alumna recorded six birdies in round one and hit 13 of 14 fairways. Dalton has made five cuts across nine starts so far this season and is coming off a tied for 47th showing at the Carolina Golf Classic presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina.
“My swing felt good, which always helps,” Dalton said. “I had a good putting day, really had the speed and lines down and matching them up well. Now to go back out focusing on those things, the same feels and trusting them, and it should be fun.”
KINHULT STAYS OUT OF OWN WAY, SHARES 18-HOLE LEAD
At No. 24 on the Volvik Race for the Card money list, Frida Kinhult (Fiskebackskil, Sweden) is one of the 34 competitors in the Epson Tour Championship field that still has a shot at the top five, which comes with a berth into the 2020 U.S. Women’s Open and LPGA Tour membership for 2021.
“I need to win to get into the top five, and have some players not play the greatest for the math to work out,” Kinhult said laughingly.
The Florida State University alumna fired a 4-under par 68 today at River Run Country Club, highlighted by five birdies to start on the right foot in the biggest tournament of the year. Kinhult earned a season-best result of tied for fifth at the Epson Classic last month and has missed just one cut in seven starts.
“It was solid from the first hole to the last, really only had two bad shots,” said Kinhult, a 2020 Epson Tour rookie. “Last week, the good was really good and the bad cost me. I tried to give myself as many birdie chances as possible. I am trying to finish my rookie year great and do my best at all times.”
WAGNER KEEPS FOOT ON THE GAS TO OPEN EPSON TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP
One of the most improved players on the “Road to the LPGA” in 2020, Samantha Wagner (Windermere, Florida) continued that trend in the first round of the Epson Tour Championship.
Despite a double bogey on No. 15, a lone blemish on her first round scorecard, the University of Florida alumna managed a 3-under par 69. She found her way to five birdies at River Run Country Club.
“I hit my drive pretty much dead in the right bunker of the fairway, punched out, had a wedge in and did not hit it great so had a 25-foot putt then went too far by, really fast putt,” said Wagner. “The ball lipped out on the bogey putt and I got a little fired up after that.”
Wagner sits in solo third through 18 holes, just one shot back of the lead. She is looking to rebound after her third missed cut of the year at the Carolina Golf Classic presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina last week.
“I made a complete swing change in the offseason, so it has been nice to see the really good results no matter how this year turns out,” Wagner said. “There have been struggles still, some weeks more than others, but trying to stay comfortable and patient with it. I felt last week was going to be a good week then I struggled so a lot is being comfortable, especially since I have played this course a lot, and finding a nice groove with my swing. It is nice to start with a really good round here.”
Sierra Sims (-2, T4) on bouncing back from three straight bogeys to still shoot 2-under par:
“I was trying to replicate what I was doing the first few holes and took a few deep breaths to refocus because I missed a couple short putts for par, then started to hit it close and make some putts for birdie. It is a bit wet and playing longer [than when we usually play here in the spring] because it is chilly. This week, I am trying to play relaxed. The first few tournaments after the restart, I came out super relaxed because I was not putting any pressure on myself. I started to put a little pressure on myself the last few tournaments. I am trying to relax, play my game, focus and hopefully that will be better for me.”
Volvik Race for the Card No. 16 Matilda Castren (-2, T4) on what’s at stake this week in Davidson:
“There is so much on the line, especially with five spots in the U.S. Women’s Open up for grabs. I know that I need a strong week to get into the [Volvik Race for the Card] top five, most likely a win if I don’t want to have to rely on any other scenarios. This is what we play for, to get these types of opportunities and compete at the highest level. It was great to open with a steady first round today for Epson Tour Championship. I have a couple things I want to clean up, but overall pleased with the position I’m in.”
Volvik Race for the Card No. 8 Janie Jackson (-1, T6) on the first round and any pressure she feels:
“The golf course setup wasn’t easy, bunch of pins close to the edges and greens really fast. I knew that anywhere around even was going to be a pretty good score, just take what you can get. Big week and it feels nice to get off to a decent start. Not necessarily any pressure. I’ve been playing through a left wrist injury since [the IOA Golf Classic in] Longwood, so trying to play as best I can with it. If I play well, great; if not, then I have surgery scheduled for next week. I’ll move it to December if I finish well this week, but wanted to have it scheduled in case so I could get it done earlier and start rehab."
Sophie Hausmann (-1, T6) on her approach to the final tournament of the Epson Tour season:
“For me personally, there’s not that much of a difference [than any other event]. I’ve been working on a couple things mentally and with ball striking, but they didn’t really work out the last two events. I tried to really tell myself to stay patient and trust. It’s 72 holes, there’s still a cut and you might have to get over a missed putt. It will happen out there. I can sometimes get really hard on myself so just wanted to enjoy it. If I tell you everything I learned [in my rookie year], it would be way too long. Playing for money is different and you have to get used to it, still believe in yourself out there.”
- Born April 3, 1996
- Dalton is a native of Poughquag, New York
- Three-time All-WCC selection for Brigham Young University
- Named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year in 2017 and 2018
- Three-time individual medalist for the Cougars collected a total of 15 career top-10 results
- Finished T69 at Stage II of the 2018 LPGA Qualifying Tournament to first earn Epson Tour membership as a 2019 rookie
- Made 12 cuts across 21 starts on the Epson Tour in 2019 with a career-best result T6 at the Prasco Charity Championship