Flawless Ardina at helm in El Dorado tilt
Dottie Ardina fired a bogey-free five-under 67 to gain a share of the lead with Rachel Rohanna of the US at the start of the Murphy USA El Dorado Shootout at Mystic Creek course in Arkansas Friday.
Ardina rolled in a 30-footer on the ninth to highlight her solid 33-34 card, giving the Filipina shotmaker a rare spot in the lead in her Symetra Tour campaign.
Rohanna matched that 67 with a six-bogey, one-bogey feat, spiked by four straight birdies from No. 4.
Their 67s tied the tournament record for lowest 18-hole round.
They took a one-stroke lead over Celine Boutier of France, who shot a 68 while Hannah Green of Australia and Canadian Augusta James stood another stroke back with 69s.
Fourteen players carded under-par rounds in ideal conditions but only Ardina churned out a flawless round.
“The plan was just to make par and get out of there (on No. 9),” said Ardina, who placed seventh in Tullymore Classic last month. “I just wanted a two-putt and it was an uphill and downhill putt so my mom (her caddie) just said to get it close. But it went in so that was a nice bonus.”
Ardina finished eighth here last year.
“You have to do a lot of course management and hit the ball where you will have the easiest spot to putt,” said Ardina, who also campaigns on the LPGA Tour. “The greens are very tricky, it reminds me a lot of Pinehurst.”
Ardina played Pinehurst about 10 years ago in the US Kids, which she dominated a number of times.
She opened with birdies on Nos. 10 and 18, then gunned three more at the front – Nos. 4, 7 and 9.