Symetra Tour notebook | Katie Kempter finds 'groove,' sets tourney record with 67

jdill@bradenton.comApril 27, 2014 

Anya Alavarez putts during Saturday's play in the LPGA Symetra Tour's Guardian Retirement Championships at Sara Bay Country Club. TOM HUBBARD/Special to the Herald

MANATEE -- Katie Kempter blitzed Sara Bay Country Club with a tournament-record round of 5-under-par 67 on Saturday.

But the start to the round didn't give any indication of how memorable Kempter would play the Donald Ross-designed course.

She opened with a double-bogey, then ripped off seven birdies to beat the previous record by one shot.

"I got off to a bit of a slow start. I doubled the first and scraped it around for the next few holes, and then I got it going," Kempter said. "I made a 30-footer on 5, a 12-footer on 6 and a 6-footer on 7, and that just got me going and I got in a really nice groove."

Movers and shakers

Kempter's sublime round allowed her to make a huge leap on Saturday, known as moving day at golf tournaments. She vaulted from a tie for 52nd place when the second round began to a share of third place when play concluded. Kempter's 36-hole total leaves her three shots behind leader Cindy Feng with Sunday's final round looming.

Kempter, though, wasn't the only one to make a jump up the leaderboard.

The biggest jump came from Jaclyn Jensen, who followed up an 80 with a 3-under-par 69 in the second round and improved nearly 70 places to land in a tie for 36th.

Other giant leaps on the leaderboard (improving 20 or more places) who made the cut included Amy Meier (69, from tie for 52nd to tie for 13th), Taylor Collins (71, from tie for 36th to tie for 16th), Tiffany Tavee (70, from tie for 66th to tie for 22nd), Maude-Aimee LeBlanc (76-71, from tie for 52nd to tie for 22nd), Laura Gonzalez Escallon (71, from tie for 66th to tie for 28th), Jessica Wallace (71, from tie for 91st to tie for 44th), Cheyenne Woods (71, from tie for 91st to tie for 44th), Numa Gulynamitta (71, from tie for 117th to tie for 63rd).

Cut line decreases

Scores on average were lower Saturday than they were in Friday's first round. Players finished the Sara Bay layout in an average of 75.36 strokes, more than a shot lower than the opening round.

That also meant the cut came at a shot lower than last year's tournament. Players in 2013 advanced to Sunday's final round with a 153 cumulative total. After Saturday, only players with an 8-over-par 152 total or better progressed to Sunday's action.

Local update

Anya Alvarez led local players for a second straight day. A late bogey gave her a two-day total of even-par 144, but that is still good for a share of eighth place.

Other area players to make the cut included Bradenton's Ginger Howard (75-75--150, tie for 44th) and IMG alum Susy Benavides (76-73--149, tie for 36th). Lakewood Ranch alum Ericka Schneider joined IMG alum Natalie Sheary and county residents Rachel Connor and Hannah Yun in missing the cut.

Schneider performed better in Saturday's second round than she did in Friday's first round, during which nerves took over.

"Obviously, I would have liked to play better (Friday), but I was nervous and (Saturday) I was much more calm," said Schneider, who rebounded from an 81 to record a 75. "I played golf like me. I played golf like Ericka. (Friday), that wasn't Ericka."

Now that her first tournament as a professional is finished, Schneider can move forward with her graduation from Ole Miss and additional competitive golf as she preps for Q-School in the fall.

Schneider said she has applied for sponsor's exemptions into a couple LPGA Symetra Tour events and plans on playing Suncoast Series tournaments as well as teeing it up with the men on the area's lone mini-tour, the West Florida Golf Tour.

But the experience of playing at Sara Bay, where she won the prestigious Donald Ross Memorial Invitational as a high school golfer, in front of friends and family was icing on the cake.

"I couldn't have asked for a better week," Schneider said.

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