It’s round 3 and moving day for the FPO Division at the Ledgestone Open presented by Discraft. In the first two days, we have been treated to some exciting battles as players jockeyed for position trying to set themselves up at the top of the leaderboard. In fact, during yesterday's round, each player on the top card got a chance to own a piece of the lead at specific points during the day. Ultimately, it was the steady play and persistence from Paige Bjerkaas which allowed her to finish on top at -6 and 2-strokes clear of Jessica Weese. Rounding out the lead card for round 3, we have Catrina Allen and Missy Gannon sitting 3 and 4-strokes back of Paige’s lead, respectively. Gannon’s play continues to impress the field and spectators, as she has been playing well above her current 894 rating and appears very comfortable trading shots with the sport’s elite FPO players. However, she will have to dig deep today, if she wants a chance at remaining on the lead card for the final round, as she has Rebecca Cox sitting 1-stroke back and Paige Pierce 2-strokes back on the chase card. Rounding out the chase card, we have Cynthia Ricciotti, straight from her victory at the Junior Worlds Championship, tied with Pierce at even par, and Sarah Hokom at +1. Hannah McBeth is also playing some solid golf and was poised to make a move sitting atop the 3rd card, tied with Hokom going into today’s round.
Today the FPO Division makes a return to the Northwood Park course in Eureka Illinois, which has proved to be playing a bit more difficult than the Sunset Hills course, where they will play their 4th and final round tomorrow. The 4-round format really gives the players a chance to dial-in their lines, along with an excellent opportunity to recover from a lackluster round. To help with the speed of play, the FPO Division, again, started their round on Hole No. 4. Both Jessica Weese and Rebecca Cox took advantage of the short 276-foot starting hole, carding the only two birdies of all the players on the top 3-cards. Paige Bjerkaas and Catrina Allen quickly responded on Hole No. 5 with birdies of their own, while Missy Gannon suffered an unfortunate double-bogey and promptly relinquished 4th place to Cox. On holes 6 thru 9, Weese was able to move herself to within one stroke of the leader Bjerkaas as they made the turn to the backside of Northwood course. The pressure of being on the lead card appeared to affect Gannon’s game a bit, as she continued to drop more shots to the lead card going bogey and a double bogey on holes 8 and 9. Catrina Allen also suffered a double bogey, bogey, on the same two holes. This allowed Sarah Hokom, who was bogey-free with two birdies at this point, to vault herself from the bottom of the chase card into a tie with Allen for 3rd place moving into the backside of the course.
Jessica Weese took the lead away from Bjerkaas by Hole No. 11, carding impressive back-to-back birdies to start the back 9, while Paige was only able to par. The battle for 3rd between Catrina Allen and Sarah Hokom was also heating up, as the pair each carded 4 birdies and no bogies on holes 10 thru 17. However, Allen stumbled on Hole 18 with a bogey, which allowed Hokom to take sole possession of 3rd place as they returned to the front side and final 3 holes of the round. Hokom would end up making another birdy on Hole No. 2 and shooting the “hot-round” of the day for the FPO Division, going bogey-free with 7-birdies.
In fact, Sarah’s birdie on Hole No. 2 allowed her to move into a tie for 2nd place with Paige Bjerkaas who also birdied the same hole but stumbled with a bogey on the final hole to finish her round at even par and -6 for the tournament. Jessica Weese continued to play solid and went on to further her lead over Bjerkaas and Hokom by 4-strokes to finish her round 6-down on the day and -10 for the tournament. Rebecca Cox was able to move in front of Catrina Allen by shooting 3-down on the day and claiming a coveted spot on the lead card for the final round.
Other notable mentions include Paige Pierce, who shot even par on the day and remained in 6th place, 10 shots off the lead. Missy Gannon had a rollercoaster round, but was able to limit the damage with a few birdies and sits in 7th place with Lisa Fajkus and Cynthia Ricciotti one-stroke behind her and in a tie for 8th place. Deeper in the field, Madison Walker had a solid round with 5 birdies and only 1 bogey, moving herself up 10 positions into 13th place for the tournament.
It was another exciting day at Northwood Park and tomorrow will be even more exciting to see all the drama unfold as players continue to battle in hopes of being crowned the 2018 Ledgestone FPO Champion. As always you can catch the FPO shot-by-shot coverage starting at 3 PM ET.
Article Written by DGPT Staff Writer Jon Berg
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