*After resumption and completion of play, Natasha Andrea Oon shares the lead with Maddi Caldwell-Young at -6. The 2023 Epson Tour rookie carded four consecutive birdies on the front nine Friday night and finished her round Saturday morning with a two consecutive birdies on Nos. 16 and 17. Hira Naveed and Selena Costabile remain one shot behind Caldwell-Young and Oon at -5.
PARTIAL RECAP AFTER SUSPENDED PLAY
After early morning fog delayed the first tee time of the 2023 IOA Championship, the first round was suspended due to darkness at 6:50 pm PT. Despite a wet spring and rain early in the week in Beaumont, California, low rounds were still scored throughout the day. Maddi Caldwell-Young tackled Morongo Golf Club at Tukwet Canyon in the morning, signing for a first-round 66.
“I was three-over after five [holes,] so I just felt like I needed to do something and get it going or else it was going to go downhill pretty fast,” said Caldwell-Young. “I was hitting it really well and then I finally started making the putts, so that was nice.”
The Georgia native had three sets of three consecutive birdies, two of the spurts happening on her back nine, the courses front nine.
“It felt good. I feel like I still left some out there, and I feel like everyone can probably say that, but I was just happy to turn it around after the first five holes,” said Caldwell-Young. “I’m just staying present. Everything is right here in front of me, I’m just trying to stay where my feet are. Hopefully I can keep it going.”
Tied for second, just one stroke behind Caldwell-Young is Canadian, Selena Costabile and Australian, Hira Naveed. Costabile carded eight birdies on her day and signed for a first-round 67, while Naveed is -5 through 16 holes.
“I played well today obviously. But I really tried to have the mindset of going out there and having fun today,” said Costabile. “The first two events haven’t really been scoring-wise how I would like to have been playing. Today I tried to release all the expectations I had and have fun. It ended up being that I made a lot of putts out there and played pretty consistent except for the few bogeys I made.”
Groups who did not finish the first round on Friday will resume play at 7:30 am PT on Saturday. The second round will begin at 8:00 am.
Tristyn Nowlin (-3, T9) on staying positive through the ups and downs:
“I actually mark my golf ball after I pick a word for the week. My word for the week was control, so I put a little “C” on my golf ball and was focusing on the things I can control. The wind, bounces, I can’t control any of that, and obviously, golf is an imperfect game, so you’re going to have a few bad swings and maybe a few bad breaks. But I’m taking it as it comes and embracing whatever opportunities I’m given.”
Lindsey McCurdy (-2, T17) on making eagle on No. 16:
“It felt really good. I hit a really good 3 wood into that hole and knocked in the putt. It was a slower back nine, so that was definitely the game-saver right there. It was a good momentum starter because the wind on the back nine was starting to pick up and wasn’t giving us a lot of opportunities for birdies. It was a tough back nine, so it was super helpful and a good way to wrap up the round.”
Selena Costabile (-5, T2) on having a local caddie:
“He is 17, a junior in high school. He’s a competitive player himself and a local caddie. We got connected through a local golf course, and he’s so nice. He’s able to talk to me during the round and get golf out of my head. Seeing his family out here – his brother, sister, cousin and his mom came out – it was just really nice to have that support.”