Li holds off Strom’s surge to Epson Tour’s Twin Bridges Championship

California’s Lucy Li maintained a three-stroke lead at the Epson Tour’s Twin Bridges Championship on Saturday, fending off a charge from Sweden’s Linnea Strom, who shot a bogey-free round 66.

“I had a good drive and then hit a four iron just before the green. So I had a fairly short chip. You know sometimes before you get to a shot you just feel like you’re going to hit it and that was one of those shots,” she said.

She circled that eagle on the back 9 with all the pars – including several par stops – for a searing 34.

Consistency is key for Li and Strom, who are also first and second on the Epson Tour money list. With rounds of 66 and 68, Li has just three bogeys in two days with two of his three bogeys on the par-3 11th hole, playing from around 200 yards.

Fans were in abundance, and it didn’t go unnoticed for Li after the round.

“It’s nice to see all these people all week supporting the tour,” Li said.

Li planned to prepare for Sunday’s final round by skipping the night’s country music concert, watching TV and Facetime with his brother. Strom likes his position after finding his form on day two 71-66 (137).

“I’m quite happy with the position I’m in, it’s quite nice not to start in the lead and come back a little bit behind,” she said.

The leaders leave on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. The first departure of the day is at 7:30 am. All departures and a live ranking are available on Tickets can be purchased at the main entrance and cost $10 per day with children under 16 admitted free.

Overall, the peloton struggled that day as the cut line went from a projected plus-3 to a plus-6. Altamont’s Kennedy Swedick, the 15-year-old New York State high school women’s golf champion playing on a sponsor’s exemption, was once again supported by a strong hometown gallery. She finished with a 76, 11-over for the tournament at 77-76 (153).

Swedick wasn’t the only player with a hometown feel. Daniela Iacobelli was on the front cut line entering the final three holes, but a solid finish including a birdie on the par-5 17th took her to plus-2 at 70-74 (144). She is tied for 19th going into Sunday’s final round.

Iacobelli has been coming to the Capital Region to play on the road to the LPGA since 2011. She has been dubbed the John Daly of the women’s game, a name she embraces. Ask his caddy of the past two years, Pinehaven member Cindy LaFleur of Sand Lake.

“She’s constantly swearing,” LaFleur said with a laugh. “And we bet on everything. I owe him $63 right now. When we started yesterday, she owed me $45 after a few practice rounds. She kicked me too hard.

Iacobelli likes the comparison with Daly.

“I think it’s funny…but I mean he’s won a few tournaments. It could be worse,” Iacobelli said.

For example, she was immediately approached after her rounds in the bar by a fan who wanted to offer her a drink.

“That’s why I’m the John Daly, people see a beer in one hand, a cigarette in the other,” she said.

She is still doing well in the Capital Region, she was a finalist at the 2017 Symetra event in Capital Hills. She enjoys playing both Capital Hills and Pinehaven, she said.

“I love Nordic golf. I grew up in Detroit so I played a lot in the northern gulf. Coming back here, I don’t know, there are a lot of Italians,” she says. “It just feels very intimate. So I guess I kind of feel at home, especially in Pinehaven.

Iacobelli won’t rest tonight. She and her golf tour housemates Sarah White, who also made the 2-penny cut, and Bailey Tardy, plan to attend the concert.

“Oh yes, the trio will be there. I am getting old though, I need to calm down,” she said.

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