Frustrated over her disastrous second round output, Pauline del Rosario abandoned her attacking kind of game, made it simple Thursday and got what she wanted — an eagle-spiked 67 as she crashed into joint eighth in the third round of the Oscar Williams Classic in Anna, Texas.
Aussie amateur Grace Kim continued to dominate the pros with her own brand of game, firing a 68 to all but wrap up the crown at 204 for a six-stroke lead over American Gabriella Then heading to the last 18 holes of the sixth leg of the Women’s All Pro Tour.
Del Rosario actually hardly improved from her second round ranking of tied 27th following a 76 with a three-birdie, two-bogey game after nine holes. But after the rising ICTSI-backed star drained a birdie on No. 12, she knocked down another from close range on the 16th then unleashed a power hit and a solid second shot to net a 12-foot eagle on the par-5 No. 17.
She missed completing a spectacular finish from 10 feet on the last hole but her 35-32 enabled her to jump 19 rungs for a share of eighth with Macy Hubbard and Kasey Miller of the US and Paraguay’s Sofia Garcia, who carded 69, 71 and 73, respectively.
But their 213 totals were still too far off Kim although del Rosario’s day-best score gave her and the three others a clear shot at second place and a Symetra Tour exemption as Then stood at 210 after a 71.
Germany’s Greta Voelker, Alice Duan of the US and Northern Ireland’s Olivia Mehaffey pooled 211s after 68, 70 and 72, respectively, while France’s Emma Broze shot a 70 to tie American Julie Houston, who carded a 71, at sixth at 212.
“Game plan in the final round is to try and play it simple again,” said del Rosario, who split the 17th fairway then fired a 7-iron from 170 yards to within 12 feet.
A strong finish could also boost del Rosario’s bid in the LPGA Race to Stage II as Fernanda Solis and Scot Alison Muirfield, who show the way with 843 and 716 points, respectively, after five legs of the WAPT, both opted to skip this week’s event.
Del Rosario is at No. 3 with 705 points with the Top 5 after the 11-stage WAPT earning automatic berths in the second stage of the LPGA Q-School set in Florida in October.