Welch Maintains Lead After Second Round At Michigan PGA Women’s Open

MICHIGAN PGA WOMEN’S OPEN: Georgia’s Jessica Welch Maintains Lead at Crystal Mountain

  THOMPSONVILLE – Jessica Welch has held the lead heading into the final round before, but never by as many as six shots.

  “That will be a new experience, but it’s not a bad thing,” said the 30-year-old LPGA Epson Tour player who was atop the leaderboard after the second round of the 31st Michigan PGA Women’s Open presented by Coca-Cola at Crystal Mountain Tuesday.

  “I’ll try to stick with my game plan, stay focused and execute the shots.”

  Welch, a Thomasville, Ga., resident, followed up a 9-under 63 from Monday with a 2-under 70 for an 11-under 133 total on the Mountain Ridge Course.

  She had her big lead on new Michigan State University transfer Taylor Kehoe of Strathroy, Ontario, who shot 69 for 139.

  Julia Stevenson of Highland, an assistant professional at Birmingham Country Club, shot 70 for 143 and was tied for third with Jiayi Wang, a Northwestern University golfer from China who shot 72.

  Four golfers were at even-par 144 including University of Indianapolis golfer Anci Dy of Traverse City, who shot 72, amateur Elayna Bowser of Dearborn, who shot 73, University of Wisconsin golfer Kate Brody of Grand Blanc, who shot 74, and professional Kathleen Sumner of Frederick, Md., who shot 71.

  Welch, who has finished second in each of the last two years at Crystal Mountain, will attempt to hold off the field in the $40,000 championship for her first pro win since winning a mini-tour event last December in Florida. The first-place check will be $7,500.

  “I hit good shots, the putts just wouldn’t fall today,” Welch said. “It’s tough to follow up a 63, but the putts didn’t go in this time. I’m hoping they will fall tomorrow.”

  The Michigan Section PGA will use a two-tee start tomorrow (holes 1 and 10) starting at 8 a.m. The leaders will tee off at 9:48 a.m. on No. 1.

  Welch started her second round with a bogey 5 on the first hole, but made birdies at Nos. 6, 11 and 18. She had a 15-foot eagle putt on the par 5 18th hole but left it short.

  “That was kind of my putting today,” she said. “I had the line but left it a foot short. You don’t want to leave an eagle putt short, but it’s hard to get mad about a one-foot putt for birdie.”

  Kehoe, who is transferring to MSU from the University of Alabama via the NCAA transfer portal, said she was happy with her play this week.

  “I very pleased to be in the last group tomorrow,” she said. “It will be a great experience for me.”

  She said she will do her best to chase Welch, but she is also impressed with the pro’s game after playing in the same pairing Tuesday.

  “She’s a very good player,” she said. “She doesn’t make many mistakes.”

  In the Michigan PGA Senior Women’s Open, being played as a new first-time tournament inside the tournament, Suzy Green-Roebuck, the Michigan Golf Hall of Famer and former LPGA Tour player from Ann Arbor, opened a three-shot lead with a 69 for 141.

  Next was another Hall of Fame member and former LPGA player, Elaine Crosby of Jackson, who shot 73 for 144.

  Cheryl Fox of Tiffin, Ohio, the director of golf at Fostoria Country Club, shot 71 for 145.

  The senior golfers are playing for a separate purse of $5,000 and their tournament is being presented by the Great Lakes Sports Commission and Crystal Mountain. The winner on Tuesday will take home $2,000.

  Also, for the first time, the Michigan Section PGA held its Michigan Women’s PGA Professional Championship for section professionals in conjunction with the Open.

 The other tournament inside the tournament concluded Tuesday with Erica Reed, the director of golf at Lincoln Hills Golf Club in Ludington, winning. She shot a closing 83.

  Kelly Kuhlman, a professional at Twin Lakes Golf & Swim Club, was second and defending champion Stephanie Jennings, the current Michigan Section PGA president, was third. Reed won $600 for first.

  “I had a fun two days playing with great ladies and I played decently,” said Reed, a 19-year professional who is 43. “I haven’t played in a tournament in five years so it’s great to take home a trophy.”

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.

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