Volunteers of America Classic R1

Stephanie Meadow leading in Texas

October 03-06
Old American Golf Club, The Colony, Texas
$1,300,000
Round 2, Round 3, Round 4


Stephanie Meadow fired five straight birdies on the front nine to shoot an 8-under round of 63 and take the first-round lead in the LPGA Tour’s Volunteers of America Classic.

“Sticky. I’m pretty hot, but it was a great day,” Meadow said. “I hit the ball really well, putted really nicely, so it’s a good start. “

The 27-year-old from Northern Ireland, who is seeking her first tour victory, started her birdie run on the par-5 second in mid-90-degree heat at Old American Golf Club.

“I made kind of three medium-length ones in a row and then like I hit two really good shots in there on the next two holes and made those,” Meadow said. “So, a little bit of putting and a little bit of really good ball-striking. But it’s been a while since I’ve put five in a row, which is fun. You don’t want to stop after three, you want to keep going.”

She also birdied the par-5 13th, the par-4 15th and par-3 16th in her bogey-free afternoon round.

“It’s been a pretty tough year, but I’ve been playing well the last few months, so I just feel like if I can just have a good week,” Meadow said. “I have nothing to lose. I’m just going to go out there, make smart choices. I’m not going to be stupid aggressive, but give myself some opportunities. I believe in myself and we’ll see what happens.”


Olson enjoys smooth Texas morning

Under blazing skies and with the usual Texas breezes not a factor, Amy Olson made easy work of her round on Thursday morning. The sixth-year LPGA Tour player, still looking for that elusive first win, carded seven birdies on Thursday, with a three-putt bogey at No. 15 the only blemish on an otherwise smooth round of 6-under 65.

“I didn’t get myself really in much trouble and the putter was working,” said Olson, who is playing in her fifth Volunteers of America Classic but first since it moved to Old American Golf Club in 2018. “These greens can be a little tough because sometimes the grain doesn’t match the slope perfectly, so trying to read them can be a bit of a challenge, but it was fun to see some putts go in the hole.”

Olson’s 65 was the best round of her 2019 season. She had previously shot 66 four times, most recently in the first round of last week’s Indy Women in Tech Championship. If Olson can earn a top-10 finish this week, she would have four top-10s and tie 2018 for the most top-10s in a season in her career.


Monday qualifier Carter balancing coaching and Tour life

Dori Carter said her round may have felt like a roller coaster, but she had a ball being able to play. Carter, who reached the tournament via the Monday qualifier, recorded nine birdies, a bogey and a double bogey to sit in a tie for second after the first round at -6.

“It was fun. I had a couple big putts that hit the pin and thank goodness it hit the pin. Kind of on a day like that the way things are falling, they’re always kind of falling in your favor kind of,” said Carter. “You just have to enjoy it. I think I learned late on in my career that those days don’t happen very often. I kind of laughed some off and then I kind of really fought back after a bad hole. So it was kind of a really emotional round, up and down, but still, it was a blast.”

Carter’s emotion? Balancing a Tour life and transitioning into her new job as assistant coach for the University of Louisville women’s golf team. She said this week’s motivation stems from proving to her new students they can do anything.

“I also can think of the nine girls on our Louisville team who are watching every minute of my score, so I’m playing for them,” said Carter. I want them to see that it’s possible and that if you work hard, you can come out here and you can play well.”


Texas native riding hometown advantage

After shooting a first-round 66, Cheyenne Knight said she has been waiting for this tournament since becoming a 2019 LPGA Tour rookie. “I played a practice round here like two weeks ago and [I’m] just super excited because I think the community really embraces it,” said Knight.

In 2016, the Aledo, Texas, native claimed one of two collegiate spots in the Volunteers of America Classic when the event’s sponsor exemptions included four winners from an amateur play-in competition. Knight, then a freshman at the University of Alabama, made her LPGA debut in front of throngs of friends and family, making the cut and finishing T29.

Knight said she felt the hometown support, joking that the reason for an early-round eagle was because her high school golf coach finally made it to the course.

Knight said she knows this week is crucial for her career. She is currently No. 120 on the Official Money List; players ranked No. 101-150 and any ties go to Q-Series, the two-week, eight-round tournament in Pinehurst, N.C., to better their LPGA status. Even with the pressure to maintain her full LPGA Tour card, the former SEC Player of the Year said she feels a strong finish on the horizon this week.

Liu battles through illness, cards low round of LPGA Tour career

We’ve all heard the saying “beware the injured golfer.” Substitute sick for injured and you have today’s round for Ruixin Liu . The 2019 LPGA Tour rookie, who won the Symetra Tour’s Volvik Race for the Card in 2018, carded a 5-under 66 on Thursday for the best round of her Tour career. The 20-year-old from the People’s Republic of China sits tied for fourth heading into Friday’s second round, just three strokes behind leader Stephanie Meadow.

“I don’t feel really good this week,” said Liu, who is battling a lingering infection related to an allergy problem diagnosed earlier this year . “I’m pretty sick, so I don’t have that much of an expectation today before I go. I kind of just attacked the pins, all 18 holes. So I think that’s probably why I have a lot of birdie chances today.”

After starting on No. 9, Liu was 1-over through seven holes. She pointed to a 6-foot eagle at No. 17, this week’s Aon Risk Reward Challenge hole , as the moment that kickstarted her hot round.

This was also the perfect time for Liu to return the best round of her career. She sits 121st on the LPGA Tour Money List with $68,450 in 2019 earnings and is facing a trip to Q-Series later this month if she cannot reach the top 100 on the Money List.


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Lifestyle
By GT Editor
Pos.
Player
To Par
R1
1
Stephanie Meadow
-8
63
T2
Dori Carter
-6
65
T2
Amy Olson
-6
65
T4
Cheyenne Knight
-5
66
T4
Ruixin Liu
-5
66
T4
Moriya Jutanugarn
-5
66
T7
Jaye Marie Green
-4
67
T7
Kristen Gillman
-4
67
T7
Jeongeun Lee6
-4
67
T7
Katherine Perry
-4
67
T7
Gaby Lopez
-4
67
T7
Brittany Altomare
-4
67
T7
Inbee Park
-4
67
T14
P.K. Kongkraphan
-3
68
T14
Peiyun Chien
-3
68
T14
Angela Stanford
-3
68
T14
Mi Jung Hur
-3
68
T14
Hannah Green
-3
68
T14
Cristie Kerr
-3
68
T14
Sei Young Kim
-3
68
T14
Lizette Salas
-3
68
T14
Pornanong Phatlum
-3
68
T14
Jodi Ewart Shadoff
-3
68
T14
Jennifer Song
-3
68
T14
Dottie Ardina
-3
68
T14
In Gee Chun
-3
68
T14
Alena Sharp
-3
68
T14
Pernilla Lindberg
-3
68
T14
Georgia Hall
-3
68
T14
Wei-Ling Hsu
-3
68
T14
Ariya Jutanugarn
-3
68
T14
Jasmine Suwannapura
-3
68
T14
Lindy Duncan
-3
68
T34
Youngin Chun
-2
69
T34
Kris Tamulis
-2
69
T34
Caroline Hedwall
-2
69
T34
Cydney Clanton
-2
69
T34
Gerina Piller
-2
69
T34
Chella Choi
-2
69
T34
Sung Hyun Park
-2
69
T34
Dana Finkelstein
-2
69
T34
Haeji Kang
-2
69
T34
Jane Park
-2
69
T34
Isi Gabsa
-2
69
T34
Savannah Vilaubi
-2
69
T34
Sakura Yokomine
-2
69
T34
Tiffany Joh
-2
69
T34
Lauren Kim
-2
69
T34
Aditi Ashok
-2
69
T50
In-Kyung Kim
-1
70
T50
Hyo Joo Kim
-1
70
T50
Daniela Darquea
-1
70
T50
Pannarat Thanapolboonyaras
-1
70
T50
Pavarisa Yoktuan
-1
70
T50
Morgan Pressel
-1
70
T50
Maria Fassi
-1
70
T50
Brittany Lang
-1
70
T58
Jacqui Concolino
E
71
T58
Elizabeth Szokol
E
71
T58
Na Yeon Choi
E
71
T58
Jenny Shin
E
71
T58
Brooke M. Henderson
E
71
T58
Kim Kaufman
E
71
T58
Gabby Lemieux
E
71
T58
Suzuka Yamaguchi
E
71
T58
Mina Harigae
E
71
T58
Mirim Lee
E
71
T58
Ally McDonald
E
71
T58
Sarah Schmelzel
E
71
T58
Jenny Haglund
E
71
T71
Jennifer Kupcho
1
72
T71
Ashleigh Buhai
1
72
T71
Madelene Sagstrom
1
72
T71
Charlotte Thomas
1
72
T71
Maria Torres
1
72
T71
Hee Young Park
1
72
T71
Eun-Hee Ji
1
72
T71
Paula Creamer
1
72
T71
Yu Liu
1
72
T71
Charley Hull
1
72
T71
Christina Kim
1
72
T71
Austin Ernst
1
72
T71
Clariss Guce
1
72
T71
Jeong Eun Lee
1
72
T71
Lauren Stephenson
1
72
T71
Ayako Uehara
1
72
T87
Lee Lopez
2
73
T87
Emma Talley
2
73
T87
Ryann O’Toole
2
73
T87
Karine Icher
2
73
T87
Klara Spilkova
2
73
T87
Alana Uriell
2
73
T87
Lindsey Weaver
2
73
T87
Sarah Burnham
2
73
T87
Jing Yan
2
73
T87
Katherine Kirk
2
73
T87
Linnea Strom
2
73
T87
Louise Ridderstrom
2
73
T99
Celine Herbin
3
74
T99
Brianna Do
3
74
T99
Nicole Broch Larsen
3
74
T99
Bronte Law
3
74
T99
Sarah Kemp
3
74
T99
Wichanee Meechai
3
74
T99
Celine Boutier
3
74
T99
Nanna Koerstz Madsen
3
74
T99
Anne van Dam
3
74
T99
Xiyu Lin
3
74
T109
Brittany Marchand
4
75
T109
Pajaree Anannarukarn
4
75
T111
Lee-Anne Pace
5
76
T111
Tiffany Chan
5
76
T111
Giulia Molinaro
5
76
T114
Laura Gonzalez Escallon
6
77
T114
Kendall Dye
6
77
T114
Marissa Steen
6
77
T114
Sherman Santiwiwatthanaphong
6
77
T114
Gemma Dryburgh
6
77
119
Su Oh
7
78
120
Marissa Chow
8
79
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