After 36-holes of play at the Wildhorse Ladies Golf Classic, there will be a solo leader heading into the final round. With no winds to protect Wildhorse Golf Course, the field went low and shook up the leaderboard on moving day. Even with the movement, the top of the leaderboard remained the same, with Xiaowen Yin leading the way heading into the final round.
Xiaowen Yin teed off in the afternoon to start her second round facing much better conditions than the afternoon wave yesterday. Yin did what she had done all week and took advantage of the favorable conditions she was given. She matched her first round 66 with another 66 in her second round to get her to -12 for the tournament. Yin carries a three-shot lead into the final round, feeling confident about her game and her ability to post another good score.
“Today was a little different without the wind,” said Yin. “It was much better than yesterday. Today my driver was a little off and I had at least two or three misses, but they ended up being okay. My putting was really good which helped me shoot six-under.”
A win tomorrow would make Yin a three-time Epson Tour champion, already collecting two wins in back-to-back fashion at the 2022 Firekeepers Casino Hotel Championship and French Lick Charity Classic. Yin will draw on her past experiences from winning on the Epson Tour, but she also knows how important it is to stay in the moment during the final round of a tournament and just to ride the wave of play for that week.
“I just need to play my golf,” said Yin. “There’s no pressure. I just need to do what I did today and the day before. Just do the same thing.”
Alana Uriell is paired with Yin tomorrow after turning in a bogey-free card of 66 (-6) in her second round. Uriell’s round was highlighted by a hole-out eagle on No. 1 which was playing as her 10th hole of the day and jumped her into solo second. With Uriell being a past champion like Yin, expect a lot of good and strategic play from the final group of the day. Uriell is not the only past champion trying to track down Yin. Five other players in the top 12 are past Epson Tour champions who are looking to make a run at the lead on Sunday.
“The course was definitely more gettable today and you didn’t have to factor the wind in much at all,” said Uriell. “They did tuck the pins today, so your wedges really had to be on to get to some of those pins, especially on the par 5s. Then on No. 1 I had about 96 yards to the pin, and I hit a choked-up wedge. It hit before the hole and rolled forward, and then just disappeared. I was shocked. I dropped my club because I just couldn’t believe it.”
Ashley Lau finds herself in solo third and in the second to last pairing of the day after a second round 68 (-4). The rookie has missed her past two cuts but showed up with her best performance of the season so far when it meant the most. Lau currently sits at 128 in the Race for the Card standings, with the top 125 after the Wildhorse Ladies Golf Classic being exempt for Stage I of Qualifying School in two weeks’ time. Knowing that, Lau broke 70 in back-to-back rounds for the first time this season and put herself in contention to win her first professional golf tournament.
“I started off with a tap-in birdie but after that it felt like a day of pars,” said Lau. “None of birdie putts were going in, so I just told myself to stay patient. Then I guess on the back nine it worked wonders because I had three birdies in a row. So, the birdies came, they just came in a little late. I knew I was three below the 125 line coming into the week, so I told myself whatever happens happens and I took that mentality to the course. I wasn’t forcing anything, and I think this whole season I have been trying to force a lot of stuff, so I think not forcing anything has been working so far.”
Rounding out the top of the leaderboard is Cynthia Lu, Jenny Coleman, Alexis Phadungmartvorakul, Alena Sharp, and Kim Kaufman who all sit in a tie for fourth at -6 with 18 holes to play.
Alena Sharp (-6, T4) on her mindset after sitting in the top-5 after two rounds:
“I putted really well yesterday in tough conditions, and it just carried on over into today. My game feels good, I played solid my last time out as well. I was really happy walking away under-par yesterday and I knew today and tomorrow you are going to have to go low to stay in the tournament.”
Amelia Garvey (-4, T11) on her eight-under second round:
“It was great. I really have just been sick of playing bad golf so I thought I would try and put a good round out there today. The putter was definitely treating me well today. I had some really good putts yesterday that just didn’t drop and then today I had a few drop from the side door. That is just how life in golf is, but I feel like I have been playing well, just not scoring. So, it was really nice to get a low one today.”
Cydney Clanton (-4, T11) on the differences between round one and two:
“Yesterday was survival if you teed off in the afternoon. The golf course got really crispy, and you needed to get pretty lucky with some of the bounces. So, this morning with there being a lot more moisture in the golf course, you could make normal swings at the ball, and it would do what you expected it to do. Today it was gettable, so you just had to stay patient and hit good golf shots.”