FORT MYERS, Fla., April 18, 2015 – Maude-Aimee Leblanc (Sherbrooke, Canada), Laura Kueny (Whitehall, Mich.), Lee Lopez (Whittier, Calif.) and Brianna Do (Lakewood, Calif.) will head into the final round of the Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial in a four-way tie for the lead at 6-under 210. Augusta James (Kingston, Ontario) is in solo fifth at 5-under 211. There are four players two shots off the lead at 4-under 2012.
Laura Kueny is the only player in the bunch that has a win on her resume. She won the 2013 Symetra Classic in Charlotte, North Carolina. In the 4-under cluster lurks Cindy Lacrosse, who won three times on the Symetra Tour in 2010 and finished first on the Volvik Race for the Card money list.
“If it is meant to be to, it will happen,” said Kueny about potentially winning her second career event. “On this course, you can really go low so I can’t be conservative and I have to be aggressive and go for the par-5 holes in two that I can reach on Sunday.”
Kueny, who was diagnosed lymphocytic leukemia at the age of three, carded a 3-under 69 to move from a tie for ninth to a share of the lead.
“It has been awhile since I have been in the hunt and I am grateful to be back in this position,” said Kueny, who finished 14th on the Volvik Race for the Card money list in 2013, but fell to 76th in 2014. “Hopefully I can bring home a win tomorrow.”
Lopez, who is fourth on the Volvik Race for the Card money list with a runner-up finish at the Volvik Championship, posted a 2-under 70 to move up into a share of the lead.
“I really drove the ball well today, I hit 14 of 14 fairways so that was pretty good,” said Lopez, who has two top 10 finishes in 2015 already. “I hit some good approach shots and gave myself birdie looks.”
The biggest difference in Lopez’ game has been her distance off the tee due to a new commitment to fitness in the offseason. Lopez is averaging 254 yards in 2015, which ranks 45th on Tour. Last year, she averaged just 234 yards off the tee, which ranked 121st on Tour.
Lopez was a college teammate at UCLA with Brianna Do, who played with Nancy Lopez on Saturday.
“With how the day started and who I played with, I can’t complain,” said Do, who shot an 72 to stay in a share of the lead. “I didn’t play my best, but I hung in there and being on Morning Drive and playing with Nancy Lopez it was just an awesome day.”
Do stumbled in the middle of her round with back-to-back bogeys on the tenth and 11th holes. Lopez drove up to her in the cart on 12 and gave Do a few words of encouragement.
“I hit a good drive on 12 and she drove up next to me and said ‘hey, hang in there is a lot of golf left’ and those two lines were a really nice pep talk,” said Do. “I hung in there and finished the last seven holes strong.”
On the Legends Tour side, Laurie Rinker blitzed the field by firing a 5-under 67 to grab a four shot lead over Wendy Doolan and Barb Mucha, who both carded a 1-under 71.
“The last couple of years I’ve been playing pretty decent,” said Laurie Rinker, who’s 67 put her on top of the leaderboard four shots ahead of the Legends field. “I just feel like I’m keeping the ball in play – even my misses are fairly decent and I’ve been having a lot of birdie putts.”
Rinker enjoyed playing with both Rachel Rohanna and Ashli Bunch.
“I played with Ashli Bunch who is an LPGA Tour player so I know her fairly well and that was fun. And Rachel (Rohanna) is phenomenal – she can bomb it out there. She played at Ohio State for a friend of mine, so it was really fun playing with them and just cutting it up. We had a good time.”
Rinker will play in the final group on Sunday with Do and Leblanc at 12:38 p.m. Kueny and Lopez will play in the second to last group with Wendy Doolan at 12:27 p.m.