THOMPSONVILLE – Northwestern University golfer Kelly Sim of Edgewater, N.J., heard good things from other golfers about the Michigan PGA Women’s Open Championship at Crystal Mountain, and for the last two days she had been doing great things in her first visit to the Mountain Ridge course.
Sim, who has a year of golf eligibility remaining at Northwestern and is playing as an amateur, shot a 6-under 66 for 10-under 134 and had a three-shot lead through two rounds of the 54-hole, $40,000 championship.
“It’s a comfortable lead but it’s golf and anything can happen, you know,” said Kim who could become just the third amateur to win the title in the 28-year history of the tournament.
“I’m just going to do my best out there tomorrow and maybe even shoot a lower score.”
Another Big Ten golfer, University of Michigan golfer Ashley Lau of Malaysia, and Tristyn Nowlin, a former University of Illinois golfer and first-year professional from Richmond, Ky., were running second at 137.
Lau, who stayed in Ann Arbor because she couldn’t return home due to the pandemic restrictions, shot 67, and Nowlin, who was tied for the lead with Sim after the first round, shot 69.
Sarah White, an LPGA Symetra Tour player from Caledonia, was the closest Michigan resident in pursuit. She shot 68 for 138.
Anika Dy of Traverse City, another University of Michigan golfer who in 2019 was the youngest winner of the Michigan Women’s Open at age 17 and the second amateur winner, was at 140, six shots back after a 69. The former bag attendant at Crystal Mountain was tied for fifth with Clemson University golfer Annabelle Pancake of Zionsville, Ill., who also shot 69.
The 36-hole cut fell at 12-over 156 with 71 players moving on to Wednesday’s final round. At stake for the professionals, a $6,500 first-place check. The field will go off the No. 1 and No. 10 tees for the final round with the leaders going at 9:50 a.m.
Sim, whose last individual win was in March at the PING/ASU Invitational at Arizona State, said she was making putts. She had five birdies in the first eight holes and started pulling away from the field.
“All in all it was a solid round today,” she said. “I’m really happy with the way I played. I was hitting wedges to give me chances and just rolling the putts in. It was really cool.”
She is rooming this week at Crystal Mountain with two other Northwestern teammates and said they will keep her loose for the final round.
“I was feeling nervous and angsty and all those good emotions before coming to the tournament because it’s been a while since I competed (two months),” she said. “Tonight I just want to hang out with my teammates. We’re all in the same hotel room. Have some fun, get a good night’s sleep and then just do my daily routine, play golf and have some fun.”
Lau, who was All-Big Ten for the Wolverines in 2020-21, said she will stick to her usual mode of operation.
“I’m just going to play my own game, try to take it one shot at a time, one hole at a time,” she said.
She is happy with her position and pleased that she played a stress-free round with six birdies against one bogey.
“I’m coming off a really good season for me and the team and just trying to keep things rolling,” she said.
She said a win would mean the world to her.
“It would make my parents proud,” she said. “They are halfway around the world and I worry about them because of COVID and everything.”
White, who last summer won her debut tournament on the Symetra Tour, said she felt good about a 68, but it wasn’t a round where everything went her way.
“So I still feel I have a little bit left in the tank and I think for tomorrow I just try to do better than today,” she said. “Golf is one of those games where when you’re on, you’re on and hopefully that is tomorrow for me. I feel good. I’m super happy with my game lately, I’m four shots back and it’s going to take somebody going low to put some pressure on. I’m going to try and make that me.”