Queenslander Ali Orchard will take a 2 shot lead into the 2nd and final round of the Moss Vale ALPG Pro-am tomorrow, after shooting a 6 under par 67 in tough windy conditions today.
It was an up and down day for the 24 year old left hander from the Gold Coast, who is playing in just her second season on the ALPG Tour “After a double bogey 6 at the first hole, I thought to myself you are just going to have to really grind this out today, the conditions are tough and everyone is going to have a bad hole somewhere” Grind out she did, Orchard bounced back straight away with a birdie at the par 3 2nd hole, and followed that up at the 5th with an eagle 3 to get her into red numbers. Birdies at 7 and 9 saw Orchard make the turn in 3 under par, and after a back nine which included 3 birdies, an eagle and 2 bogeys she signed for 67.
Orchard just last week completed her PGA traineeship, and felt that for the first time in her career was able to go out and completely focus on her game. “For the past four days I have had nothing else to focus on apart from my golf. Normally I am stressing that I have an assignment to hand in or something else to do so it has been great for me just to focus on my golf for a change. I am so fortunate that I have such a great team around me who have stuck with me while I finished my degree and my traineeship. I really need to thank my coach Michael Jones, my sponsors Retail Food Group and Taylor Made, without them I couldn’t be out here with this opportunity”
Orchard made history in June earlier this year when she became the first female to win the prestigious Pampling Plate which is awarded to the Queensland PGA Trainee Match Play champion.
In 2nd place two shots adrift at 4 under par are Mexico’s Ana Menendez and American Sydney Cox, while ALPG legend and eight time LPGA tour winner Rachel Hetherington is lurking just a shot further back after a 3 under par 70.
At 2 under par is a group of eleven players including 2014 champion Sarah Kemp, Stacey Keating, Stephanie Na, Englishwomen Felicity Johnson and rookie Hayley Bettencourt.
Better weather conditions are expected tomorrow, the 2nd and final round will commence at 6:58am.