THOMPSONVILLE – Jillian Hollis of Rocky River, Ohio, an LPGA Epson Tour player, birdied four of the last five holes to overcome a double-bogey and triple-bogey, shot 1-under 71 for 6-under 138 and maintained the lead for the second consecutive day Tuesday in the 30th Michigan PGA Women’s Open presented by Coca-Cola at Crystal Mountain.
Jessica Welch of Thomasville, Ga., another Epson Tour player who finished second here a year ago, loomed one shot behind after a 71 for 139, and veteran LPGA and Epson Tour player Jean Reynolds of Newnan, Ga., was two shots off the lead at 140 after also shooting 71.
Meanwhile, defending champion Sarah White of Grand Rapids, another Epson Tour player, is in the mix after she charged with a 68, the lowest round of the day, to settle in at 142, just four shots off the lead. A year ago, she fired a 9-under 63 in the closing round to rally to victory.
“Hopefully I can do something like that again,” White said after making five birdies and an eagle in her round. “I played kind of tired yesterday, but today I had some birdies and a lot of birdie chances. What will happen will happen. If its your turn to win, you win. I’m going to play as hard as I can and as well as I can. There’s great competition out here.”
Addison Klonowski of Naples, Fla., an 18-year-old amateur, was standing fourth alone after a 72 put her at 141.
Anika Dy of Traverse City, the 2019 champion and a former cart attendant at the resort, also remained in the hunt with a 72 and was tied with White at 142.
The others at 142 included Valentina Haupt of Weston, Fla., who shot 70, and Jessica Porvasnik of Ponte Vedra, Fla., who shot 73.
The second best round of the day, and the only other one in the 60s, was turned in by Shannon Kennedy of Beverly Hills and Michigan State University. Her 69 on a breezy and hazy day moved her to 143 and in the top 10.
Hollis, who made eight birdies in her up-and-down round, looked to be fading when she made a triple-bogey 7 on No. 10, and then a double-bogey 6 on No. 13 with tree and penalty area troubles. She said having her group put on the clock for being behind on time on the back nine helped her.
“It was a better pace for me, I like to play faster and once we were on the clock I had some good holes,” she said of birdies at Nos. 14, 15, 16 and 18. “It’s always good for me to go at a faster pace. I was trying to be patient and tomorrow hopefully the pace is a little faster. I love this golf course. The greens are awesome. The game has been trending up, so I’m feeling good.”
Welch, playing in the Michigan PGA Women’s Open for the fourth time, remembers what second place felt like last year, and like Hollis has fallen in love with Crystal Mountain and its Mountain Ridge Course.
“Always a bridesmaid, but feeling good,” she said. “I’m excited. If you’re in that last group it means you have a good chance and this is no exaggeration; this is my favorite week of the year. The golf course, the conditions, the location, the weather, everything about this place and this tournament is amazing. It’s my fourth time here and I would love to win the trophy.”
The leaders will go off early in Wednesday’s final round (9:48 a.m.) of the 54-hole $40,000 championship with $7,000 and a Crystal Trophy going to the champion.
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ABOUT CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN: Established in 1956, Crystal Mountain is a family-owned, four-season resort destination located 28 miles southwest of Traverse City and a short drive from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The 1,500-acre resort features lodging, dining, downhill and cross-country skiing, two championship golf courses, shopping, award-winning Crystal Spa, Michigan’s only alpine slide, Peak Fitness, the Park at Water’s Edge, Michigan Legacy Art Park, weddings, a conference center, and real estate options.
SPONSORS: The tournament’s presenting sponsor is Coca-Cola, a long-time partner of Crystal Mountain. Click sponsors to see a list of the great support that makes the championship possible.