Jessica Porvasnik matched the Casino Del Sol Golf Classic 18-hole scoring record of 7-under par 65 in the first round on Thursday at Sewailo Golf Club, a mark that was set by 2021 Epson Tour graduate Morgane Metraux in the third round last year.
“It’s exciting. I’ve never been here [in this position],” said Porvasnik, who recorded a bogey-free opening round. “It’s great to be at the top of the leaderboard. I’ll stick to the gameplan and keep things rolling.”
The 65 by Porvasnik also sets a career-best score and gives her the first overnight lead of her Epson Tour career.
“On the first nine, I had a few opportunities and converted them. Then on my back nine, got it rolling to make some easy birdies coming in,” Porvasnik said after hitting 17 greens in regulation. “I was kind of nervous but will grind away and realize that I should be here.”
Laura Wearn and Bailey Tardy each fired 6-under par 66 out of the morning wave to sit one shot back of Porvasnik. Both players started on No. 10 and Wearn did not record a par coming in.
“It was a crazy front nine, which was my back nine [on the round],” said Wearn. “I birdied my first two holes, and they were close putts. Then I had a three-putt from 20 feet and hit into the water on the next hole, but nice to save bogey. From there, birdie-birdie-bogey-eagle-birdie finish. I couldn’t seem to make a par but I’m not complaining when there are birdies involved.”
Tardy has her mother Kim on the bag this week. She was the caddie when Tardy captured her first Epson Tour win at the 2021 Copper Rock Championship. The University of Georgia alumna carded eight birdies.
“Most of my putts dropped, but not all of them. I hit it pretty solid, lipped out two more birdie putts,” said Tardy. “I had a poor chip on No. 10, didn’t get up and down then three-putt on No. 9. This course is in the best shape of the four tournaments we’ve played [this season]. It’s firm, so if you play it right you can score.”
Six players are tied for fourth at 5-under, including Hira Naveed and Sophie Hausmann after bogey-free performances. Tournament sponsor exemption and amateur Abbey Schutte shot a 4-under 68 to share 10th, while Tucson native Krystal Quihuis (72) sits in a tie for 67th.
Maria Parra (-5, T4) on her eagle at No. 6 and opening round overall:
“That was amazing. Hit a great driver and second shot then was 10 meters from the pin, off the green but I made a really good putt. It was really good because I didn’t play well the first three tournaments. I’m the player that I always go for the pin. I‘m really happy with my game and hope to keep it going the next few days.”
Brianna Do (-5, T4) on Sewailo Golf Club and results from her offseason work:
“I thought the course overall is pretty tough. I was a little concerned about the greens because you have to really hit your target. I hit some close early and that worked out well for me. When the greens are rolling as nicely as they are here, it’s a good facility. I’ve been working on some things in my swing to be more efficient and reliable under pressure. [Playing at] Longbow was really my first tournament putting everything in play from my work over the last four months. It was all about figuring out the swing and I think I trusted it more over the weekend in Beaumont, just rolling into this week.”
Alyaa Abdulghany (-4, T10) on competing with playing partner Brianna Do and her rookie season:
“It’s always great to play with good players, especially someone who has such a good game. We have pretty good demeanors on the course, so we bounced off each other quite well. I thought I would be a little more nervous [to start my first season on Tour]. But I’ve known most of these girls for a long time and played [a lot of] the same tournaments [against them]. Just a different logo makes it a little easier.”