Vandermade shoots 64 to take first round leadPublished 8:57am Saturday, June 21, 2014
SOUTH BEND — With ideal conditions and soft greens, 49 players shot under-par and Nicole Vandermade seized control of the Four Winds Invitational on Friday by shooting a bogey-free 8-under-par 64.
Vandermade will take a three shot lead into Saturday over Lee Lopez, Jean Reynolds and Garrett Phillips, who all shot 5-under 67.
The 8-under 64 is the lowest round on the Symetra Tour in 2014.
“I woke up and I was pretty tired this morning, a bit groggy, so I came to the course to try to get it to wear off and I hit it OK, but nothing special, on the range” said Vandermade, who had an 8:30 tee-time. “I started off fairly consistent with a lot of fairways and greens and rolled a couple birdies in on the front and then got it rolling on the back.”
Vandermade carded birdies on the sixth and seventh holes to make the turn at 2-under. After a par on the 10th hole, Vandermade caught fire with six consecutive birdies between the 11th and 16th holes.
“I don’t think I’ve ever had a stretch with six birdies in a row before. I hit a lot of fairways and greens and I happened to be close and then rolled the putts in. It was just a pretty fun day.”
The Brantford, Ontario native came one stroke short of the Four Winds Invitational tournament record, which is a 9-under 63 carded by Jessi White in the second round of the 2013 event.
“It means a lot to put together this round because I’ve been struggling this year,Vandermade said. “I’ve been starting off with bogeys and getting myself in holes. So, it’s kind of nice to have a good day the first round to set me up for the rest of the tournament.”
Vandermade is 90th on the Volvik Race for the Card money list and has made just four of nine cuts this year.
The 23-year-old leads the Symetra Tour in average driving distance of 260.659. She used her distance as an advantage on Friday.
“I think it helped a lot especially with the soft fairways I was able to carry my drives a lot further than some girls and I had a lot of short irons into the green,” Vandermade said. “The greens are soft so I can aim right at the pin and I knew they weren’t going to roll too much so it helped a lot.”
Madison Pressel, who won the Decatur-Forsyth Classic last week, was a college teammate of Vandermade for three years at Texas.
“We played together for three years and we motivated each other then (at Texas). Her win makes you motivated and shows that it can be done and I might as well try to do it now.”
Vandermade had momentum heading into this week coming off her best finish of the year at the Decatur-Forsyth Classic when she placed in a tie for 18th.
She has an 18-hole lead for the first time in her Symetra Tour career. She has two career top-10 finishes.
Lopez, Reynolds and Phillips each carded six birdies and one bogey to enter the second round in a tie for second.
Jamila Jaxaliyeva, Lindy Duncan, Min Seo Kwak and Daniela Iacobelli are in a tie for fifth at 3-under.