Two players share lead after one round of Island Resort Championship
Courtesy: Symetra Tour (Ali Palma)
HARRIS, Mich. (WLUC) -
The day did not start as Karen Chung (Livingston, New Jersey) hoped it would, finding herself 2-over through four holes. But the University of Southern California alumna is tied for the Island Resort Championship lead following a 7-under par 65 on day one in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The five-year Tour pro carded her season-best opening round, which included nine birdies and two bogeys.
“It feels amazing. I haven’t been in this position for so long,” said Chung. “Starting off the round today, I thought I was going to miss the cut because I was 2-over through four. I am happy with my finish, but to be completely honest with you, I was looking at my caddie and I told him we can go to Chicago after tomorrow. Then I was just whacking it around, putts started falling and I got super lucky today.” Chung has finished in the top-10 on eleven different occasions over her Symetra Tour career, two of which came earlier this season. Chung finished tied for sixth at the Symetra Classic and tied for eighth at the IOA Golf Classic presented by RP Funding. Additionally, she has not missed a cut in 2021.
“I really just had a lot of fun out there today. It has been a long time since I have done that. I was really worried coming into this week because two or three years ago at this tournament, I could not putt and I could not read the greens, but I guess I have learned or got a little better,” said Chung. “I definitely have way more confidence this year than previous years. I have learned so much. Losing my LPGA Tour card a couple of times was really a learning experience and you just get stronger from it.”
After 18 holes, Maude-Aimee Leblanc (Sherbrooke, Quebec) joins Chung atop the leaderboard at 7-under par in Harris, Mich., for the 10th annual Island Resort Championship. Only a three-putt on No. 16 held back Leblanc from a bogey-free round today.
“It feels pretty good considering I didn’t feel comfortable over the ball today for whatever reason, I just trusted the ball would go where I wanted it to and it did for the most part,” said Leblanc. “The whole day was solid, and I gave myself a lot of looks. I hit 17 greens today, so I didn’t have to save much. My only bogey was from a three-putt.”
Leblanc became a professional in 2014. Growing up in Canada, she found success during her amateur career from a vast array of experiences such as playing the Canadian Open. Her time competing in high profile events set her up for success as a professional. She owns 20 top-10 finishes on the Symetra Tour and while Leblanc is still searching for her first win, she has tied for second twice this season.
On Friday afternoon, Kristin Coleman (Rolling Hills Estates, California) opened with a 6-under par 66 and heads into the weekend solo third and one stroke back of the lead.
“It feels good to finish the day 6-under,” said Coleman. “I hit a lot of solid iron shots out there that really helped my game today and hitting fairways early set me up for a good start to the day. They set up my putts to run, so it was really smooth sailing today.” In eight starts this year, Coleman has made three cuts and played the weekend in each of her last two starts. That includes a tied for 11th results at the IOA Golf Classic presented by RP Funding. Meanwhile, sister and twin Jenny Coleman is competing at the LPGA Mediheal Championship this week and is currently tied for fifth at the halfway point in California’s Bay Area.
“It’s nice to be able to send each other videos and continue to help each other out. Even though we are both competing, we always keep in touch,” said Coleman. NOTABLE QUOTES
Britney Yada (-5, T4) on a new club in the bag helping her start strong: “I got a new putter last week. This is the first event it’s in play and I’m obviously loving it. I just gave myself some opportunities and putted really well. I’m feeling really food about my position. Just going to keep doing what I’m doing. Hit some greens and hopefully the putter stays hot.” Kendra Dalton (-5, T4) on how she feels about going into tomorrow T4:
“I felt like it was really solid. I didn’t make a lot of mistakes. The couple times I was out of position, I was making pars and really staying in it. I think telling myself I was still in it made the difference. I feel really good going into tomorrow and hope I can just hit one good shot after another and keep going.”
Bailey Tardy (-5, T4) on how she played in round one today in Harris, Mich.:
“Today was super fun. I saved myself a lot and made some good putts. I am looking forward to keeping the momentum going for the next couple of days.”
Prima Thammaraks (-4, T8) on taking an off week to watch the U.S. Women’s Open: “I putt really well today and was hitting a lot of fairways, which gave me a lot of good opportunities to score. Coming off watching the girls at the U.S. Women’s Open last week I feel like, mentally, I’m ready to have a good gameplan for the week and play well. Overall, I’m looking forward to the next few days here in the U.P. I’ll hit some balls after the round this afternoon since I took the whole week off last week and hopefully keep the trend going and more putts will fall tomorrow.”
PLAYER NOTES Karen Chung
- Chung, 26, is a native of Livingston, New Jersey
- Member of victorious Team USA at the 2012 Junior Ryder Cup
- Two-time member of Team USA for the Junior Solheim Cup (2011, 2013)
- Competed in the 2016 ANA Inspiration as a tournament sponsor exemption
- 2016 Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) Honorable Mention All-American
- Three-time medalist and 2016 All-Pac 12 First Team for the University of Southern California
- Finished T19 at the 2016 LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to first earn LPGA Tour membership as a 2017 rookie
- Secured a Symetra Tour career-best result of T2 at the 2018 Donald Ross Classic
- Made three cuts across eight starts on the LPGA Tour in 2019 with a career-best result of T40 at the LOTTE Championship
- Made 10 cuts across 11 starts on the Symetra Tour in 2019 with a season-best finish 4th at the inaugural SKYiGOLF Championship
- Made six cuts across six starts on the Symetra Tour in 2020 with a season-best finish T5 at the Mission Inn Resort and Club Championship presented by IOA
- Leblanc 32, is a native of Sherbrooke, Quebec
- Won the 2010 NCAA Team Championship with Purdue University
- Won the 2006 International Junior Orange Bowl and 2006 Canadian Junior Championship
- Member of the Canadian National Team for six years
- Finished tied for seventh at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament, where she earned Priority List Category 11 for the 2012 LPGA season
- Has 20 career top-10 finishes on the Symetra Tour, still looking for her first win
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