Finn shoots 67 to grab first-round lead

Published 3:53 am Friday, August 11, 2023

SOUTH BEND — Michaela Finn shot a 5-under par 67 to grab a one-stroke leader after the opening round of the Four Winds Invitational at the South Bend Country Club Thursday.

Finn, who hails from Brastad, Sweden, leads 12 players who are currently tied for second after finishing with a 4-under par 68. Three players are tied for 14th after shooting 69.

“I was really just hitting them pretty close and taking advantage of the nine and 6-footers that I had,” Finn said. “I was able to reach almost every par 5, so I took advantage of that too. I planned to hit away from the dangerous spots on the tee shots and was able to just give myself looks into the green.”

A pair of Epson Tour winners in 2023 are among the 12 players tied for second place.

Alena Sharp, an LPGA veteran, won earlier this year at the Champions Fore Change Invitational.

“I played really well last week, but I just didn’t putt well,” Sharp said. “I really worked on joust trying to make some putts this week in my practice rounds, and it translated to my round today. The greens are small here, so accuracy with your irons is important, and I was able to give myself a lot of short birdie putts today.”

Miranda Wang, of Tianjin, China, earned her first career Epson Tour victory at the IOA Championship presented by Morango Casinoi Resort & Spa.

“I started on No. 10 today, and I think the back nine is a little harder, so I was really trying to stay patient on that side and just make my pars,” Wang said. “After the turn, I made a birdie on No. 2, and I followed it with another three birdies. I was able to take advantage of the shorter holes on the front side of the golf course and it was good.”

Former Notre Dame standout Becca Huffer is one of the three players tied for 14th place as she shot a 3-under par 69 Thursday. Huffer, who missed the cut last year, is hoping for a better result in this year’s tournament.

The second round gets under way at 7:30 a.m. Friday. The field will be trimmed to the top 60 scores, plus ties, after play is completed Friday.

While sunny and mild temperatures greeted the field on Thursday, the forecast for Friday includes rain and possible thunderstorms mid-afternoon.