The second day of play at the Tuscaloosa Toyota Classic has officially concluded. The field of 106 was cut down to 64 as they head into the last 18 holes, with $30,000 and the Tuscaloosa Toyota Classic Trophy on the line. The top of the leaderboard looks a little different than it did a day ago, with three new players tied on top of the leaderboard, and a group of four players one-shot behind them heading into the final round.
Abegail Arevalo turned in the best round of the day and now finds herself tied for the lead with 18 holes left to play at the Tuscaloosa Toyota Classic. The day started off calm for Arevalo, who was two-under making the turn, but she caught fire fast on her back nine. Three birdies in her first four holes on the back nine moved the 24-year-old into contention, with two more birdies down the stretch making it a bogey-free 7-under round of 65. Arevalo will look to get her first top-10 finish of the year tomorrow, or even one better, her first career Epson Tour victory.
"I kind of knew my game was on today when I made back-to-back birdies on two and three, which was the start of my back nine," said Arevalo. "I just wanted to try and keep that momentum going and was just trying to make some more birdies. I was trying to be aggressive but still stay smart. I wanted to make sure I wasn’t scared of certain areas, and I was just hungry for more birdies. Tomorrow is a blank slate though, I put myself in a good position and I’m excited.”
Isabella Fierro is making a late charge to try and get into the top 10 in the Race for the Card, with three straight top-10 finishes and back-to-back top-3 finishes. Now, Fierro enters the final round, in the final grouping, tied for the lead. The 22-year-old rookie signed for a bogey-free 6-under round, and she closed out the day strong. Birdies on four out of her last five holes jumped her into the tie for first as she looks to chase down her first Epson Tour victory as well. The mindset has been the same over the past few weeks for Fierro, but adding a trophy to the impressive stretch of golf would be the cherry on top of a very successful rookie season.
"Honestly, I was just very patient today," said Fierro. "I hit it in the bunker on the first hole of the day, but I convinced myself early on that it was going to be a fun day and I will give myself some opportunities to make birdies. It means a lot to finish the way I did today, I am trusting myself a lot more in these moments, especially on the greens. I trust my lines and my stroke, so I feel like I am doing a good job.”
Rounding out the final group heading into tomorrow is Clariss Guce, who sat just one-shot back of the lead at the end of the first round. Guce started off the day with two bogeys, but then flipped a switch. The next nine holes for the 33-year-old were the best nine holes of the tournament. Guce recorded 7 birdies and no bogeys from holes 3-11 but would slip up with a bogey on No. 17. The two-time Epson Tour champion responded how champions do, with a closing birdie on No. 18 to get into the final grouping, heading into the final round. Guce is currently No. 38 in the Race for the Card and with a top finish tomorrow, she will be on her way to LPGA Q-Series later this year.
"Today was the same mindset of just going into the day with no expectations," said Guce. "I honestly just had such a good group; it was so chill out there and 100% made the day easier. I just made sure to go back to my process, I made sure I was focusing on individual shots and just not trying to get too far ahead of myself.”
A group of four players are in a tie for fourth at 8-under and round out the top of the leaderboard at the Tuscaloosa Toyota Classic. The final round will start at 7:30 a.m. CT off holes 1 and 10 with the leaders teeing off hole 1 at 9:20 a.m. CT.
Alena Sharp (-7, T8) on her comfortability with Ol’ Colony Golf Course and her new mindset:
"The setup of this course reminds me of where I won earlier this year. The greens are similar as well, so it just reminds me of it, can’t explain why, but it brings up good memories. Like I said yesterday, I had an attitude change and I stopped worrying about what everyone else was doing and focused more on what I was doing.”
Jessica Porvasnik (-6, T10) on the end of the season push:
“My game has been moving in the right direction recently and I have been putting up a lot of good scores. I have been playing steady golf, just lots of fairways and greens recently and that’s a big key to playing well. I’m not super close to the top 35 so the mindset has just been to push as hard as you can and see what you can do.”
Kenzie Wright (-4, T16) on playing on her home course from college:
“I am just trying to not overthink it this week since this is a course I have seen a lot before. I still want to treat it like every other tournament week, so I am also making sure I am not just going through the motions. It also just feels awesome to be back in Tuscaloosa, this place feels like a second home to me, so to see all the support has been a lot of fun.”