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Copper Rock Championship’s day one of mixed results
By Kurt Kragthorpe, Fairways Media
Counting only her conventional, right-handed shots, Kendra Dalton toured Copper Rock Golf Club in even par Thursday. The one stroke that she played left-handed partly spoiled her day.
The former BYU golfer double-bogeyed No. 18, settling for a 1-over-par 73 in the opening round of the Symetra Tour’s Copper Rock Championship in Hurricane.
Dixie State University graduate Haley Sturgeon, playing via a sponsor exemption, struggled with the wind on the back nine and posted a 79. Friday’s 36-hole cut likely will come at 3 over.
Bailey Tardy and Natalie Sheary are the co-leaders at 66, and 17-year-old Rose Zhang, the world’s No. 1-ranked women’s amateur golfer, is part of the group at 68.
Dalton is in good position to make a fourth straight cut to start the season, even with the disappointing ending that she labeled “a bit of a bummer.”
“If you play the game long enough, sometimes stuff like that happens,” Dalton added.
In the tournament setup, Copper Rock’s traditional No. 12 plays as No. 1 and No. 11 is No. 18, creating a start and finish near the clubhouse.
Dalton birdied the par-5 No. 12 and the par-4 No. 13 with excellent wedge shots, and remained 1 under until she came to the par-4 No. 18. Her short, popped-up drive ended up in the native area left of the cart path. With a bush in front of her, Dalton punched a sideways, left-handed shot into the fairway, leaving her with over 200 yards for her third shot. She then missed the green to the left, chipped on and two-putted for a double bogey.
“You have to try to put all your energy into the good things you did and not make a bigger deal of it than it is,” Dalton said. “I played really solid golf all day, so I’ll just try to remember that.”
Sturgeon was 3 over through 11 holes and barely missed birdie chances on Nos. 12 and 13. She continued to strike the ball well, but played the last five holes in 4 over as the afternoon wind caused her trouble.
“Those last three holes especially, I felt like I hit the ball perfect and then it hits the middle of the green and kicks right off,” said Sturgeon, who works as an assistant pro at The Country Club of Salt Lake City.
Sturgeon tees off in Friday’s second round at 8:25 a.m. and Dalton plays at 12:27 p.m.