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FORT MYERS, Fla., April 15, 2016 - Madelene Sagstrom (Enkoping, Sweden) continued her stellar start to 2016 with a 6-under 66 to move into sole possession of the 36-hole lead at 9-under 135. Sagstrom already has two top 10 finishes and ranks second on the Volvik Race for the Card money list.
A total of 62 Symetra Tour players made the cut at 3-over and will play on the weekend alongside the field of 30 Legends Tour players.
Sagstrom is now 24-under par through eight rounds this season and seven have been under-par.
“I played pretty well yesterday and I was just trying to get some more momentum today,” said Sagstrom, who carded a 3-under 69 on Thursday. “I started well and I kept trying to play good and roll the putts and be as free as I could.”
Sagstrom, who started on the back nine, made five birdies over her first ten holes. On the fourth hole, she nearly made a hole-in-one.
“I hit my tee shot with a 9-iron from 130 yards and it was so pure and I was ‘oh, that is going to be so good’, explained Sagstrom. “It hit the cup and the pin and it just didn’t go in. After that I was like ‘it doesn’t matter’ because it was such a good shot.”
Sagstrom finished T3 at the IOA Championship and T2 at the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic, but says she is not focused on results and also not surprised by her quick start.
“I’m just worrying about myself out here and doing the small things that I have been working really hard on to try and get better,” said Sagstrom. “Seeing my name on the leaderboard is nice, but it makes me more happy to know that I’m doing the right things. If I am doing the right things, I am expecting to be up there.”
Sagstrom is really excited to play with the Legends Tour players tomorrow.
“It is going to be really fun and we are definitely going to pick some brains tomorrow,” said Sagstrom. “They just have so much experience and history and I’ve never really played with the former players.”
Sagstrom grew up looking up to fellow Swede Annika Sorenstam. She is also close with Liselotte Neumann, who is in the Legends Tour field.
“I look up to all of them because they did so much for Swedish women’s golf,” said Sagstrom. “It’s fun to be out here and keep the Swedish name alive.”
Sagstrom said she is ready to chase her first career Symetra Tour win over the weekend.
“I’m playing this course to my advantage by hitting a lot of drivers and putting myself in position to hit it close,” explained Sagstrom. “I want to keep playing aggressive because it is my type of game.”
Augusta James won the 2015 Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial at 10-under over four rounds.
CHIEN, FRIEND OF YANI TSENG, POSTS 66: Peiyun Chien (Chinese Taipei) posted a bogey-free 6-under 66 to move into second at 7-under. Chien has been steady to start the year with a T18 finish at the IOA Championship and an eighth place finish at the Florida’s Natural Charity Classic to rank ninth on the Volvik Race for the Card money list.
Chien, 25, ranks fourth on the LPGA of Taiwan money list this year. However, she has decided to play a full year on the Symetra Tour with hopes of graduating to the LPGA.
“I will stay here and play Symetra Tour all year,” said Chien. “In January, I worked a lot on my putting and decided that I want to play in America on the LPGA.”
Chien is good friends with 15-time LPGA winner Yani Tseng, who she considers a mentor. Chien actually caddied for Tseng at the 2015 Kia Classic and is using an Aviara ball marker this week.
CLARISS GUCE’S SHOULDER SURGERY WAS BLESSING IN DISGUISE: When Clariss Guce (Artesia, Calif.) entered college at California State Northridge, she didn’t have plans to play professional golf. She was actually thinking about going to graduate school and continuing her education. Before her junior year, she had shoulder surgery and missed a significant amount of time.
“After my shoulder surgery, I had a good junior year and that is when professional golf became a reality,” said Guce, who represents the Philippines. “My coach convinced me that if I want to become a professional I have to say it out loud rather than taking the easy way out and going to grad school. My passion for the game came back after the surgery. It was a blessing in disguise because I was away from the game for so long that I actually missed it.”
Guce posted a 2-under 70 on Friday and is now in a share of sixth at the Chico’s Patty Berg Memoral .
The 25-year-old earned Second Team All Big West honors following her junior year. Guce finished T7 at Stage II of 2015 LPGA Qualifying Tournament to advance to Final Stage and earn Symetra Tour status for this year.
Guce credits her college coach, Annie Young, who is now at Colorado State for helping her develop mental toughness to become a professional.
Born in the Philippines, she was first introduced to junior golf by Jennifer Rosales’ dad. Rosales won the 1998 NCAA title at USC and won twice on the LPGA.
“I actually grew up playing at the course she played on (Camp Aguinaldo),” said Guce. “She was the major person we looked up to because of all her success.”
• Hsin-Ning Yeh made a hole-in-one on the par-3 fourth hole with a nine iron from 127-yards. It was her first ever hole-in-one.
• The five players T3 and better are all in the top 20 on the early season Volvik Race for the Card money list.
• Five players set the Chico’s Patty Berg Memorial single-round scoring mark with 66’s.
• 13 players were 3-under 69 or better on Friday.