South Bend, Ind. Four players tied the tournament record with 4-under 68’s to jump out to the first-round lead at the Four Winds Invitational.
Samantha Richdale was the only player of the four leaders to avoid the storms which rolled-in to Blackthorn at Golf Course at 4:04 while Marina Alex, Perrine Delacour, and Amy Meier were forced to wait out the two hour and eight minute weather delay.
Starting the day on the back nine, Richdale wasted little time getting to 2-under for the day with birdies at the par-4 11th and par-5 13th. The Illinois State University graduate returned to 1-under for the day after a bogey at the par-415th but moved back to 2-under with a birdie at the par-3 fourth.
Richdale then made back-to-back birdies beginning at the par-4 fifth before giving back another shot at the par-4 eighth. The Kelowna, British Columbia native birdied her final hole of the day to card a total of six birdies and two bogies in her opening round.
Richdale’s round was highlighted by 24 putts on a course that demands precision on the tricky greens.
“I didn’t make a bunch of long putts I just made a bunch of good putts within 10 to 15 feet. I made a really good par save on seven, made a really good sand save there. I made a lot of 10 to 15 foot putts today so that really helped.”
Also tied with Richdale at 4-under are a group of rookies that include Vanderbilt alum Marina Alex.
Alex returns to South Bend, Ind. this week where she finished T11th at last year’s inaugural Four Winds Invitational.
Starting her day on the back nine, Alex hit 16 out of 18 greens and credited solid ball striking for her impressive play that included five birdies and one bogey.
“It was a good day,” said Alex. “I’ve been hitting the ball well the past couple tournaments I’ve played, I just haven’t been making any putts and today I rolled some putts in early and it was kind of a stress relief.”
The Wayne, N.J. native made the turn at 3-under after carding birdies at the par-5 13th, par-4 15th, and par-5 16th.
Alex carded her first and only bogey of the day at the par-4 10th after missing a four and a half foot par putt but responded with birdies at the par-4 fourth and par-5 ninth to finish the day at 4-under.
“I hit the ball well and gave myself a lot of good looks for birdie then rolled some in,” said Alex. “I made a really poor bogey on hole 10 which was number one. I missed about a four and a half footer for par but other than that it was really solid golf tee to green, when I was far away I lagged it up there pretty close, it was just a really good day. It was really encouraging and I’m excited to play the next two days.”
Decked out in her Ohio State gear, Meier had a bit of a rollercoaster round on Friday that included seven birdies and three bogies. Meier, a rookie on this year’s Symetra Tour, credited solid putting that included only 26 putts.
“I putted really, really well,” said Meier “I had a lot of wedges into greens and I was able to put the ball in a spot where I knew I could make the putt. It just seemed like I made the putt all day so it was easy.”
Meier started the day in the back nine and carded a bogey at the par-4 10th before boarding the birdie train just prior to the rain delay with four consecutive birdies beginning at the par-5 13th.
Meier then returned to 2-under for the day after a bogey at the par-3 17th but recorded three birdies at the par-4 third, par-4 fifth, and par-5 sixth to move to 5-under. The Rochester Hills, Mich. native then bogeyed the par-4 eighth to drop into a share of the lead.
Also tied atop the leaderboard is Delacour who carded seven birdies, one bogey and one double-bogey. The Symetra Tour rookie made the turn at 5-under after back-to-back birdies at the par-4 third and par-3 second then again rattled off birdies at the par-5 sixth, par-3 seventh and par-5 ninth.
It wasn’t until the par-4 14th that Delacour experienced some trouble in the bunkers to drop to 3-under for the day. Delacour then responded with a birdie at the par-5 16th before giving another shot back at the par-3 17th. The Saint-Cloud, France native then birdied the par-4 18th to head into tomorrow tied for the lead.
Richdale is the only player out of the group tied for the lead who has won on the Symetra Tour as she has found the winner’s circle three times.