THOMPSONVILLE – Sandra Angulo Minarro, a 33-year-old professional from Port St. Lucie, Fla., shot a bogey-free 5-under 67 to lead after the first round of the 29th Michigan PGA Women’s Open at Crystal Mountain Monday.
Minarro, a native of Mexico who has been chasing LPGA status for 10 years and has played multiple times on what is now the LPGA’s Epson Tour, is playing in the Michigan PGA Women’s Open for the sixth time. She has a best finish of fifth at Crystal Mountain in 2015, and Monday’s round was her best start and best round on the Mountain Ridge course.
“I feel like today I just stayed really patient,” Minarro said. “It wasn’t like perfect golf, but I hit some wedges close when I could take advantage and converted some birdies. I’m very happy with my round and I love coming here. It’s a great event and I love the golf course, too.”
Olivia Stoll of Haslett, the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Freshman Golfer of the Year for Grand Valley State University, shot 70 to stand second alone and as the low amateur after the first round.
Mini-tour professional Macy Hubbard of Parker, Colo., and Jasmine Ly of Madison Heights, a Northern Illinois University golfer, each shot 71s, and Jessica Welch of Thomasville, Ga., a Jacksonville University (Fla.) golfer shot 72 as only five golfers played to par or better.
Caroline Ellis, the assistant women’s golf coach at MSU, a reinstated amateur and former Epson Tour golfer, and Crystal Wang, a University of Illinois golfer, each shot 73. Three-time Michigan PGA Open champion Suzy Green-Roebuck of Ann Arbor was in a big group who shot 74.
The field of 74 golfer plays through Wednesday to determine a champion in the $40,000 event. Crystal Mountain is celebrating its 20th year as host of the tournament.
Minarro said her short game helped her save some pars and convert her five birdies in the round. She said starting with a birdie on No. 1 set her up for feeling calm and confident through the round.
“I didn’t get ahead of myself, I took it one shot at a time,” she said. “I know there is a long way to go and if the wind changes we play a different course. I’m going to keep trying to take it as it is. I haven’t played that much this year, and I’ve been feeling I’m close, so this was very satisfying.”
Stoll’s, whose mother is Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll, the Michigan State University women’s golf coach, equaled her best round on the Mountain Ridge course, a 70 she shot last year in the Michigan PGA Women’s Open. Her six birdies were the most by any golfer in the first round.
“I made a lot of birdies and could have gone way lower, but it’s not golf without a few bogeys,” she said. “I played well. I had a good school year and being the freshman of the year helped me build confidence, and even this round, helps me feel more confident about my game.”
Jocelyn Bruch, an amateur from Carmel, Ind., had the shot of the day with a hole-in-one on the par 3 No. 12 hole, which was playing into the wind at 170 yards for the first round. She shot 74.
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ABOUT CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN: Crystal Mountain was established in 1956, and is a family-owned, four-season resort that is nationally recognized for its skiing, golf, and award-winning spa. Located in northwest-lower-Michigan, a short drive from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the resort features downhill and cross-country skiing, the Michigan Legacy Art Park, 36 holes of championship golf on two courses, Michigan’s only alpine slide, an outdoor water playground, a variety of lodging and dining options, year-round activities and kids programs, an IACC-approved conference center, weddings, real estate and the Crystal Spa. Visit crystalmountain.com.
INFORMATION: Tee times and results through the week can be found at michiganpga.com. Justin Phillips of the Michigan PGA is the tournament director and is available at 517-641-7421 or firstname.lastname@example.org.